Screenwriter Jamie Moss is appealing the Writer's Guild of America's decision to award credit for the 'X-Men: First Class' screenplay to Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn and story credit to Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, director of the first two 'X-Men' films. On Tuesday, following a complicated credit arbitration process, the WGA decided not to provide Moss or writer Josh Schwartz with credit on 'X-Men: First Class' despite the fact that they were the first two writers assigned to the film.
The story and final screenplay for 'X-Men: First Class' came together in a very complicated way, according to The Hollywood Reporter, making the crediting process particularly difficult. The WGA was essentially tasked with discerning who did what for the film, which hits theaters on June 3.
The script for the latest installment in the 'X-Men' franchise appears to have been cobbled together from related projects, including a proposed stand-alone Magneto-origin film, as well as original work by two different teams of writers.
At least part of the 'X-Men: First Class' story appears rooted in a script written by Turner called 'X-Men Origins: Magneto,' which explored Magneto's early life as a Holocaust survivor and the beginning of his friendship with Charles Xavier (played in 'First Class' by James McAvoy). The film was ultimately shelved, but the Magneto/Xavier origin story was still of interest to Fox and Marvel for inclusion in a future film.
In November 2008, Schwartz was hired by Fox to write a script about the origins of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning with an eye toward reinvigorating the franchise with young talent.
Singer announced in 2009 that he wanted to return to the franchise to direct 'First Class,' and that he'd written an independent treatment Moss developed into a screenplay.
(THR notes that Singer was not pleased with the WGA's decision earlier this week and reserved the right to appeal the ruling himself.)
Miller and Stentz were brought aboard the project after Moss. By May 2010, Singer opted to not direct the film but stayed onboard as a producer, making way for Vaughn ('Kick-Ass,' 'Layer Cake') to join the project. Vaughn brought frequent collaborator Goldman with him. The two teams reportedly worked on a shooting script in London in the lead-up to production.
A major area of contention for the WGA was reportedly that Schwartz's script was very faithful to the 2006–07 comic book miniseries 'First Class,' which focused on characters that were mostly not included in Vaughn's film. Moss's alleged access to the 'Magneto' script and where it falls in the sequence of the final film's development are also issues.
The credit appeal hearing is expected to happen sometime today in Los Angeles. A major complication, according to THR, is that all of the films, from the original 'X-Men' and 'First Class' to the scrapped origin story of Magneto, are loosely based on decades of comics. So, while not all of the storylines from the films appear in the comics, it can be easily argued that those writings contributed as much as anything (or anyone) else to informing the plot of 'X-Men: First Class.'