It looks like X-Men fans have gotten their wish. Bryan Singer, the director who made Marvel’s Merry band of Mutants a box office success is returning to the film franchise that catapulted his career with X-Men: First Class as producer and one of the writers. Matthew Vaughn will be directing. The movie is going to tell the story of a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and how he formed the X-Men.
Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.
The X-Men first appeared in X-Men #1 (1963), and were created by Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. The original team members were Hank McCoy (Beast), Bobby Drake (Iceman), Warren Worthington (Angel), Scott “Slim” Summers (Cyclops), and Jean Grey (Marvel Girl). The first issue also introduced the team’s arch enemy, Magneto. According to the first few issues, the name X-Men, was derived not after Professor Xavier but for the X-gene that causes mutations. Another team member, Mimic, was added during the early issues, but left the team after a few issues.
By 1969 writer Roy Thomas and artist Neal Adams were assigned to the book to rejuvenate the sagging sales. The new creative team added two new members to the group, Havok (a.k.a. Alex Summers, Cyclops’ brother), and Lorna Dane, known as Polaris (who also had the power of magnetism).
By issue #66 sales were so bad that Marvel stopped producing new stories and started reprinting older issues as issues #67-93. Then in 1975 writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum introduced a new international team of X-Men in an all-new story in Giant-Sized X-men #1. The comic was a hit and soon new X-Men stories featuring the new team began with issue #94. The All-New, all-different X-Men were led by Cyclops and included Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Thunderbird, Banshee, Sunfire, and Wolverine. With the new team in place, the X-Men soon became one of Marvel Comics top sellers, and remains so to this day.
X-Men: First Class will feature James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Alice Eve as Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult as Beast (it was rumored that Twilight’s Taylor Lautner was going to be cast, but Singer said in a recent interview that Lautner couldn’t do the part because of scheduling conflicts). It looks like Mystique, Banshee, and Havoc will be in the film as well as Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon.
Filming will begin this August, shooting for a June 2011 release date.