The wonderful people at Empire have landed a big interview with Lauren Shuler Donner where she foretells the future of all the X-Men spinoffs. Not surprisingly, the majority of their energy is being focused on Wolverine's adventures in Japan, and he'll be seeing production long before Deadpool, X-Men: First Class, and Magneto. While it's heartening to hear they don't plan on straying from the Chris Claremont / Frank Miller story, I'll need an amnesia bullet to forget at all the continuity errors in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so I'm not going to hold my breath.

The best news belongs to the Deadpool spinoff. According to Donner, you can forget all about the abomination called Deadpool in Wolverine. "I want to ignore the version of Deadpool that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again. Reboot it. Because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane." Don't look for Hal Jordan to jeopardize the future of Wade Wilson, either. "I don't see it as a problem that Ryan [Reynolds] is also playing Green Lantern. I mean, look at Harrison Ford - he was in Stars Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time and everyone was fine with that. Green Lantern could not be more different to Wade Wilson." Donner promises it will be a "dark, snarky, very funny movie," echoes Reynolds' fourth wall promises, and stresses it may be one of the hardest stories Fox has handled thus far.

Donner also made X-Men: First Class sound a lot more promising than previous stories did, but maybe I'm just softening on the idea. As you may remember, First Class will be loosely based on the comic series and will follow the early adventures and schooling of the X-Men we already know and love.

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Donner is aiming to make the young X-Men in the vein of the darker Harry Potter installments, but stresses it's not "a kiddie film" and that it'll stay true to the tone already set by the franchise. "The First Class comics are really fun - they're funnier than any other comics I've read. Basically in each one the kids are fighting strange villains, sometimes it's aliens, sometimes it's monsters. I want to get a flavour of that world. Occasionally the kids will be in class, but more often they'll be off on adventures. Which Professor X isn't too happy about! There's nothing more interesting than a bad kid, and this is full of naughty children." The prequel is still in the scriptwriting stage, with Josh Schwartz still handling screenplay duties. If they could balance the tone, I think this could be pretty cool, and the closest the film franchise has gotten to the world of the comics. We've never really gotten to see the X-Men being X-Men, and battling all the strange creatures plaguing their universe. (If you've never read Uncanny X-Men #138, you should. It's hilarious in all it's "and then ...!")

Not surprisingly, X-Men Origins: Magneto remains on the back burner, and probably will never make it to the light of day. "But you know, I'm not sure that film is going to be made. The studio has a wealth of potential stories, and they have to stand back and decide which ones to make. And Magneto, I think, is at the back of the queue. Maybe it'll get made in five years - who knows?" Too bad. It seems a bit foolish to make as Magneto is well established in X-Men, but I still want to see a film focused on a supervillain. Maybe some day.

But with all the good news comes a well-buried caveat. As Donner enthused about Deadpool, she reminds us that even the best intentions can be thwarted by the big bad studio. "We have to work out how to do that. I don't know that Fox will agree with all our decisions, but we'll see!" Indeed. Which is why I'm going to hate on Wolverine: Japan straight away until it can prove me wrong in 20whatever.