There's still a couple of months to go before X-Men: First Class - Matthew Vaughn's superhero prequel, which graces the cover of the new issue of Empire - hits cinemas, but producer Lauren Shuler Donner, the keeper of the keys to the X-Kingdom, is already looking ahead to further cinematic adventures for Marvel's merry band of mutants.
She sat down with Empire earlier this month and updated us on the other X-projects currently on her roster, including Deadpool and The Wolverine.
The Wolverine, the Hugh Jackman-starring sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, lost its director, Darren Aronofsky, soon after we spoke, but Donner still hinted at the direction in which the Japan-set movie could go. "It will have depth and a dramatic backbone," she said. "And yet there's more action in this one than in any one we've ever done. It's such a good script. We have the great Christopher McQuarrie writing and it's very true to the Japanese saga. This is Logan on his own..."
As for Deadpool, the movie which will reintroduce Ryan Reynolds as the wise-cracking mercenary who was given such short shrift in Wolverine, Donner confessed that it would be "a total reboot. We're either going to pretend that didn't happen, or mock it, which he could do."
No director has yet hopped on board Deadpool, although the film has been offered to the likes of Robert Rodriguez in the past. "We're looking for a director, yes," said Donner who, mindful of Reynolds' ever-growing logjam of work, added that the film would shoot in the next year or so. "He’s very involved, Ryan. He’s working with the writers on the screenplay and it is as much as it is ours."
And Donner also confirmed that this would be the Deadpool of the comics, and not the mute mutant we saw in last time around, right down to Deadpool's scarred face. "I'm tellin' ya, it's true to the comic," she laughed. "You’ll see all of them. You’ll see Wade Wilson, the good-looking Ryan Reynolds! You’ll see Deadpool in his costume and you’ll see the cancer-scarred face."
Well, thank the Lord for that. For more from Donner on Deadpool, The Wolverine and a possible new dawn for the original X-Men franchise - not to mention our world-beating exclusive report on X-Men: First Class - pick up the new issue of Empire when it hits stands on Thursday, March 31.