Fox might be building its own little Marvel Comics film universe just like Marvel Studios, but if you ask Bryan Singer, that's where the comparison ends.
We're just days away from the release of the most ambitious superhero film Fox has ever attempted: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Singer's directorial return to the X-franchise that will unite the casts of the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men: First Class, and presumably lay groundwork for a new set of stories that will include X-Men: Apocalypse, a sequel to last year's The Wolverine and a potential spinoff film for fan-favorite mutant Gambit, not to mention plans for an X-Force film. Like Sony -- which is doing its own spinoff and sequel-happy thing right now with Spider-Man and his amazing friends -- Fox is clearly hoping to capitalize on the kind of universal storytelling that's made Marvel Studios billions over the last few years, but for Singer, any comparison with the behemoth Marvel, beyond the simple idea of an expanding comic-book movie universe, is "ludicrous."
Why? Well, for one thing, Singer feels that Marvel's efforts and the recognizability of its character simply dwarf what Fox has going on with the X-Men.
“The Marvel universes – particularly Avengers and Iron Man – are… and it sounds defensive, and it is defensive, but only because people make comparisons between [X-Men: Days Of Future Past] and The Avengers, which is ludicrous.
“The Avengers is a mash-up of massive single character franchises of incredibly familiar characters and Iron Man. And did I mention Iron Man? Oh, and by the way – Iron Man.
“They are huge, colossal franchises that are peppered with all these other characters that are, again, extremely famous and so yes, Fox will at some point synergise [the X-Men] characters and that process is slowly beginning, but it’s very different than taking movies that gross close to a billion dollars and then pushing them together into these giant broad movies.
“If you want to give me Robert Downey Jr in a metal suit and have him join the X-Men, then yes, let’s go head-to-head [with Marvel Studios].”
Though the X-Men movie franchise certainly has its share of major fan recognition, particularly when it comes to central character Wolverine, Singer also argues that they've got a long way to go when it comes to building a Marvel-style universe with their characters. For him, it's simply not as easy to drum up public interest for a film about Deadpool or Gambit as it is for a film about Captain America. The X-Men might be building a universe, but for Singer -- who seems set to stick around at least for Apocalypse -- it's a very different universe from the one Marvel is building.
“It’s very different universes,” Singer said. “The appeal is different and to try and do the same thing… this in an ‘inbetweequel’, OK, of two ensemble films, Avengers and the Marvel movies are individual franchises based on major characters that’s why there are some Marvel characters in Avengers that don’t have their own movie, because I don’t know if they had their own movie anyone would be that interested.
“We’re the bastard stepchild of the comic-book universe, you can go to my mom and she knows who Captain America is but you try and explain to her who Deadpool is? She doesn’t even know the Hulk – ‘You know, the Hulk! Green! Big guy!’ – so Gambit?
“It’ll have to be a different process, it’s doable but it’s not any way comparable.”
So, as Fox begins to shift its X-Men franchise toward a more universal storytelling approach, one of the franchise's leaders wants you to pipe down with the Marvel comparisons, even if it does seem like an easy parallel to draw. What do you think? Is Singer right, and will Fox eventually succeeded in building a full X-Men universe?