It wasn’t long ago that things were looking up for the future of X-Men on film. It was this morning actually, when I reported The Wolverine was in fact a continuation of the franchise and not another prequel. But as the stock of one X picture rises, another falls; as Deadline’s Nikki Finke now reports the X-Men: First Class director will no longer call the action for sequel Days of Future Past. According to Finke:

I’m not exactly sure why Vaughn is bowing out, but he is pretty picky on projects that he directs. You’ll recall that he briefly bowed out of the original First Class film, prompting Fox to start a search before he changed his mind and returned. Vaughn also passed on directing the sequel to his Kick-Ass film, entrusting the job to Jeff Wadlow.

Highly unfortunate news. Vaughn was the one who got this franchise back on track after two equally terrible efforts with Last Stand and Origins. Vaughn isn’t completely removed however, as he’ll be staying on in a producer capacity. Though you have to wonder what’s going on with Fox’s directors, as Rupert Wyatt just removed himself from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes not too long ago as well.

The Deadline piece includes the rumor the studio’s hoping another Future Past producer will step up and take the reigns: Bryan Singer.

If Vaughn’s made up his mind, and at this point we have every reason to believe he has, there’s no director with a more proven track record with these characters than Singer. X-Men and it’s superior sequel helped set the tone for this current wave of comic book movies we’re experiencing, though if Singer gets the gig it’ll be interesting seeing if any of Vaughn’s cheeky First Class camp makes the trip along with him. The thought of Bryan Singer directing a continuation to an X-Men film he didn’t direct, one that was undoubtedly the best in the franchise, adds a weird layer to the announcement if and when it’s made.

Expect more developments in the coming days, but for now let’s just be happy Fox isn’t putting feelers out to Brett Ratner.