While Bat-mania has been sweeping the Internet all day thanks to the announcement that Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle while Tom Hardy will tackle the role of Bane in Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises,' that isn't the only comic book movie making news.

On the Marvel front, Matthew Vaughn and company are still hard at work on 'X-Men: First Class,' the prequel story set to highlight the origins of Charles Xavier's merry band of super-powered mutants. While maybe not quite as anticipated as a third 'Batman' movie, Fox is betting big bucks that Vaughn will deliver a film guaranteed to bring Marvel's "true believers" into the theater in droves this June 3rd. The only potential snag? The film hasn't finished shooting yet, as highlighted in the emergence of several new set photos.

"I'm at that stage where I feel like a boxer against the ropes," director Vaughn tells the LA Times' 'Hero Complex' blog. "I'm just throwing punches and taking them as they come and making sure I don't hit the canvas." With a release date looming and a studio breathing down his neck, Vaughn is clearly feeling the strain of making the largest film of his career, but the director isn't cracking despite these conditions being totally alien to him.

"I've never worked under such time pressure. The good thing about the independent world is I never even knew if I was going to get distribution. I'm used to finishing a film and then crossing your fingers that someone is going to like it. This is totally doing it the other way around. We've definitely got a release date and we've got to make it."

Luckily for the filmmaker, he's not tasked with going up against Nolan's juggernaut – but that doesn't make this summer season any less crowded. 'First Class' will square off against three other superhero films for box office supremacy, including 'Thor,' 'The Green Lantern' and 'Captain America: The First Avenger.' Vaughn is confident about beating all of them. "... look, I will say the following: X-Men as a brand is bigger than Captain America, Thor and the Green Lantern, all put together."



Bold, but arguably true, words if comic sales and box office are to be believed. The three previous 'X-Men' films have earned over a billion dollars combined. However, this is an origin story – with Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsher being played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and not Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. Will fans accept these new actors in the familiar roles? They'll have to if 'First Class' is to succeed at the box office.

Vaughn's film, which is being produced by Bryan Singer, returns to the early days of the X-Men, when Xavier and Lehnsher (who would later become Magneto) are still friends. Singer points out that this bond between the two men and how their differing views in approaching a common cause (the producer compares the character arcs to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X) eventually leads to a rift will make up the moral center of the film. Oh, and there'll be lots of superheros running around too. The all-star cast of mutants includes Kevin Bacon, January Jones and Lucas Till amongst others. Despite rumors, it appears as though Wolverine will not be appearing in the film.

Hopefully Vaughn can wrap up production on the film soon so that 'X-Men: First Class can make its June release date. In the meantime, enjoy these new photos from the shoot and swing by 'Hero Complex' for even more pictures and details about the film. We've also posted the brand new teaser poster below.



Exclusive Interview with Kevin Bacon on 'X-Men: First Class' and the 'Footloose' Remake
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical