Marvel’s ‘X-Men’ Movie Taps ‘Hunger Games’ Writer Michael Lesslie

“Hunger Games” writer Michael Lesslie is set to write the screenplay for “X-Men,” Marvel Studios introduction of the mutant superhero team in the MCU, according to an insider with knowledge of the project.

The “X-Men” film franchise began in 2000 with “X-Men,” directed by Bryan Singer. This first film introduced audiences to the concept of mutants – humans born with genetic superpowers – and focused on the leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier, and the metal-clawed Logan/Wolverine, as they attempt to make peace with their rival Magneto. It was praised for its serious, character-driven take on the superhero genre.

Its sequel, “X2” (2003), built on the foundation of the first film, allowing for more mutant heroes and villains to appear while exploring Wolverine’s mysterious past. “X2” was an even bigger critical and commercial success, further establishing the “X-Men” as a powerful superhero franchise able to stand alongside the likes of Superman and Batman.

In 2006, Brett Ratner took over the director’s chair for “X-Men: The Last Stand.” This threequel tackles the darker, more complex “mutant cure” storyline from the comics, but received a mixed response from critics and fans. Regardless, the film was a financial success.

After a spin-off prequel film for Wolverine (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) in 2009, the main series got a soft reboot with Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” in 2011. Focusing on the early days of Xavier and Magneto’s friendship, “First Class” recast the roles with younger actors like James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender to great acclaim.

Singer returned to direct 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” uniting the old and young X-Men casts. The complex time travel narrative tied together several threads from previous films, resulting in critical praise and huge box office numbers. It reinvigorated the franchise.

In total, the series has grossed over $6 billion worldwide over nearly 20 years and at least 10 films. Once considered B-list superheroes, the X-Men franchise paved the way for comic book and superhero blockbusters to be taken more seriously by critics and audiences. The themes of diversity, identity and “otherness” in the films also connected deeply with many viewers.

Lesslie most recently wrote “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” which relaunched the franchise. His other credits include the sequel to “Now You See Me.”

Lesslie is repped by Grandview.

Deadline first reported the news.

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