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Bryan Singer ushered the X-Men into the movies at the beginning of last decade, but after two movies, he departed to work on Superman Returns over at Warner Bros. Brett Ratner was then hired to helm X-Men: The Last Stand, but the third movie subsequently earned mixed-to-negative reviews. Singer has since returned to the director’s chair for X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, but now he wishes he had stayed behind to complete the trilogy he started.
When asked about his absence from X-Men: The Last Stand, Singer admitted to Fandango that he usually likes to see things to completion, and him leaving the X-Men franchise may have been partly responsible for the third X-Men movie’s less-than-stellar reception. He said:
I like finishing things. I like finishing this particular iteration. I know X-Men 3 was quite rushed and I didn't complete it, and I felt a little like it was probably my responsibility to do that as a filmmaker, and I didn’t.
Unlike its predecessors, X-Men: The Last Stand didn’t sit well with a lot of fans and critics. While there are some good elements sprinkled throughout (like Kelsey Grammer’s Beast), the movie is more famous for its controversial decisions, from the death of Cyclops to the awkward balancing of the Dark Phoenix and mutant cure storylines. Still, hindsight is 20/20, and while X-Men: The Last Stand and 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine marked a dark period for the franchise, they also led to the “First Class” trilogy, which revitalized this universe.
Although it’s impossible for Bryan Singer to go back in time and direct X-Men: The Last Stand, he did use time travel in X-Men: Days of Future Past to undo some of the events from the 2006 threequel, like Cyclops and Jean Grey’s death. Singer added:
I might not have killed all those characters. But that's what was so fun about Days of Future Past. We had a joke on set: 'Hey Brian, you're not only directing Days of Future Past -- you're actually living it!' I was going back and making changes in history. [With X-Men: The Last Stand], I don't fault anyone, including myself. It was just that circumstances didn't allow for it to happen.
After X-Men: Apocalypse, Singer is taking a break from the series to direct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but he has said he would like to oversee another X-Men movie. Singer’s version of X-Men: The Last Stand would have told a more faithful version of the Dark Phoenix storyline, and with Sophie Turner as the new Jean Grey, he teased that we may see this other version unfold within the new timeline. That story could also work with well with Singer’s interest in taking the mutant superheroes into space, a first for the franchise.
Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse finally arrives in U.S. theaters this Friday.