Vaughn rebooted Fox's X-Men movies in 2011 with First Class, a prequel that delved into the origins of the team with a fresh, largely new lineup of actors. It revitalized the series creatively and was a modest hit as well ($353 million worldwide), giving Fox the impetus to continue with the new cast.
But Vaughn ended up removing himself from the director's chair so he could focus on Kingsman: The Secret Service, handing the reins back to original X-Men director Bryan Singer.
The result was X-Men: Days of Future Past, which reunited the "classic" and new casts and became the biggest X-Men movie ever (not counting the higher-grossing Deadpool spinoffs), with some $748 million in the bank when all was said and done.
But now Vaughn has told Coming Soon that had he stayed on as director, he would have taken the series in a different direction by making another movie in between First Class and Days of Future Past.
"That’s one of the reasons I didn’t continue, because they didn’t listen to me," he explains. "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."
Vaughn elaborated on his rationale for doing Days of Future Past third: "Because what’s bigger than bringing in [Ian] McKellen and Michael [Fassbender] and [Patrick] Stewart and James [McAvoy] 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.' 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.'"
In a way, Vaughn was right, because Days of Future Past was followed by X-Men: Apocalypse, which tanked at the box office and was heavily drubbed by both fans and critics. On the other hand, you can't really argue with the execs at Fox about Days of Future Past, since it earned three quarters of a billion dollars. Also, would audiences have been confused by a recast Wolverine? (Although let's face it: As much as we love Hugh Jackman, the idea of Tom Hardy as Logan is almost too tempting to pass up.)
Either way, it doesn't matter now, since Dark Phoenix arrives on June 7 to cap off this long-running series before Marvel Studios takes the wheel and reboots the whole thing a few years from now. But do you think that Vaughn had the right idea about making Days of Future Past third? Could it have been an even bigger hit?