After successfully launching a prequel franchise with X-Men: First Class, you'd think co-writer & director Matthew Vaughn would have been the ideal choice to helm the sequel. Well, that was the original plan with Vaughn and regular co-writer Jane Goldman setting about drafting the script shortly after First Class arrived in cinemas. However, Fox executives wanted to make Days of Future Past the first sequel, and that was one of many creative differences Vaughn faced during development. Speaking to ComingSoon, Matthew Vaughn has revealed his original plan for the prequel trilogy.
"My plan was First Class, then second film was new young Wolverine in the '70s to continue those characters, my version of the X-Men. So you'd really get to know all of them, and my finale was gonna be Days of Future Past. That was gonna be my number three where you bring them all… because what's bigger than bringing in McKellen and Michael and Stewart and James and bringing them all together?
When I finished the Days of Future Past script with it ready to go I looked at it and said, 'I really think it would be fun to cast Tom Hardy or someone as the young Wolverine and then bring it all together at the end.
Tom Hardy (or someone) would have been an intriguing choice for a recast Wolverine, but at that point, Fox was developing a sequel to X-Men Origins with Hugh Jackman. However, it wasn't just ambitious casting changes that led to Vaughn parting ways with the project; it was also the insistence that Days of Future Past be the first sequel.
"Fox read Days of Future Past and went 'Oh, this is too good! We're doing it now!' And I said, 'Well what do you do next? Trust me you've got nowhere to go.' Then they did Apocalypse and it's like… If you flip that 'round even it would have been better. Hollywood doesn't understand pacing. Their executives are driving 100 miles-per-hour looking in the rear-view mirror and not understanding why they crash."
It is impossible to argue with the latter statement, had Fox listened to Vaughn we would have got the jumbled Apocalypse after First Class, then the time traveling team-up that resets the franchise for the future. Instead, Days of Future Past course corrected the timeline, and Apocalypse steered the franchise into a wall. Can Dark Phoenix end the Fox era of X-Men on a better note? We'll find out next week when the endgame for the nineteen-year-old franchise lands in cinemas.