Variety is reporting that Josh Schwartz has been tapped to write and possibly direct a new X-Men film named X-Men: First Class and focused on a younger cast.
Schwartz's record is well-suited to the task, given his creation of Gossip Girl, The OC, and Chuck.
Fox has been considering a film focused on younger X-Men for some time, which would allow most of the cast to be changed. This would avoid their higher salaries and keep costs down, while also avoiding the problem of where to take the characters after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.
Past rumors focused on such a film featuring a new generation of mutants, not unlike the concept of Marvel's New Mutants, the 1980s X-Men spin-off title. Reportedly, Fox has now turned towards Marvel's current X-Men: First Class for inspiration, hence the working title for the film. That series is set in the past, showing established characters when they were younger and new to the X-Men.
If First Class goes forward, it's likely to hit theaters sometime in 2010.
In the meantime, however, Fox is offering X-Men Origins: Wolverine, set for release in May 2009. The film will feature the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and will reportedly introduce Deadpool to the cinematic X-Men universe. Fox is also developing X-Men Origins: Magneto and is reportedly considering a Deadpool movie if his appearance in Wolverine is well-received.
This was cross-posted as news on Sequart.org.
Want more information about the X-Men movies? The definitive book on the matter is Thomas J. McLean's Mutant Cinema: The X-Men Trilogy from Comics to Screen.