For fans of the superhero genre back in the 2000s, the franchise to watch was ‘X-Men,’ as director Bryan Singer has ushered Marvel’s mutant team through two excellent adventures, and a lot of people thought that the third movie of the franchise was going to deliver big, especially on the big cliff-hanger of Jean Grey potential becoming the Phoenix, which ‘X2’ had teased in its final moments. However, when Bryan Singer stepped aside so he could direct ‘Superman Returns‘ (a choice he and fans around the world still regret I’m sure), the franchise was taken over by Brett Ratner and a whole new team, who did not quite have the same grasp of the characters. Sadly, one of the primary writers and collaborators of Singer’s was not invited back into the fold following the director’s departure, and he could have made all the difference.
David Hayter started his career working for Bryan Singer answering phones, but when the ‘X-Men’ films began pre-production, Hayter’s comic book knowledge made him an invaluable resource for Singer, so much so that the director had 20th Century Fox hire Hayter to write the script, and then brought him back to co-write ‘X2.’ And when the third movie came around Hayter had some phenomenal ideas for where to take our heroes, but he was not asked to return to writing duties by the studio or Brett Ratner, so his vision was never fulfilled. Recently though, he shared some of his thoughts on where he would have taken the story, especially the Jean Grey Dark Phoenix storyline, while talking about what his ‘X-Men 3’ trailer would have looked like:
“The image that I wanted for X-Men 3 trailer was essentially, you see Xavier and Logan facing off against Jean and her eyes are on fire and she’s become the Dark Phoenix and they are talking about the war between humans and mutants and she says something along the lines of, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll put an end to it.
And then we cut to this statue of Iwo Jima in Washington, as the sun is coming up, but it’s still twilight and purple, and you see a flare of orange and it melts away. She fires through, on fire and blasts right through it. You see the Capitol Building and she flies up to the White House and lands into the middle of the street. We cut opposite and we see the entire army arrayed against her. She’s like “Come on!” and we cut to black.
It definitely sounds powerful, and a lot more evocative of the source material than the rubbish Ratner put out, which makes me wonder why no one bothered to approach Hayter for the third film (maybe they just thought he was too closely tied to Singer?) Either way, we got ‘The Last Stand,’ and the franchise has struggled to recover over the years, and while they have had some highs, fan trust in the ‘X-Men’ movies has never been the same since they were burned on ‘The Last Stand.’
What do you think of Haytner’s ideas, and his imagery for the trailer? Did you like the direction of the Singer direction ‘X-Men’ films? Share your thoughts in the comments below!