Bamf! Singer produces but won't direct X-Men: 1st Class

Just when we were getting excited that director Bryan Singer would be returning to the X-Men franchise that first brought him big fame with the prequel film X-Men: First Class, we're hearing that he will only produce the movie, not direct it.

That's the news on Deadline Hollywood:

... Singer and 20th Century Fox have formalized his move from director to producer on X-Men: First Class. That is the bad news for X-Men die-hards who love the first two films Singer directed. Here's the good part: he is leaving because Fox liked the script that Jamie Moss wrote from Singer's treatment so much that the studio wants the film right away, envisioning it as the first leg of a trilogy. The hope is to have it ready for 2011 release.

Singer will join Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg as producers.

Singer won't be available to direct the prequel because he's already locked into summer production on Jack the Giant Killer, a computer-animated 3-D movie.

First Class is envisioned as the origin story of Xavier and Magneto.

At least the script sounds good, and Fox is so high on the movie that they're speeding it into production. And at least Singer will have a hand in it somehow. We're holding out hope.

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