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Boys to X-Men

You know Hollywood is youth-obsessed when Hugh Jackman and James Marsden are considered old men. Daily Variety reports that Twentieth Century Fox is developing a new X-Men movie featuring younger superheroes. The decision is no doubt inspired in part by the storm of fanfare surrounding the teen vampire movie Twilight, which opens this weekend.

Josh Schwartz, creator and exec producer of the popular CW teen drama Gossip Girl and the discontinued hit The OC, has been brought on to write the screenplay for X-Men: First Class. He may also end up directing the pic, in which case he’ll be following in the footsteps of Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams and other young TV moguls who have made the leap to the big screen.

The three X-Men flicks have earned more than a billion dollars worldwide. Before the new kids on the block have their day, Jackman will be back in tights next summer in X-Men Origins. All installments are produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, who is also overseeing First Class with screenwriter Simon Kinberg (Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

The new project is likely to revolve around Rogue, Angel, Iceman, Colossus, Jubilee, Shadocat and other adolescent students at Dr. Xavier’s school for mutants. A number of these costumed crusaders in training were introduced in previous X-Men Pics. There’s also a chance that Fox is planning a franchise re-launch with younger actors playing more recognizable characters, as Paramount has done with Star Trek. Hardcore fans are no doubt shuddering at the notion of Twilight star Robert Pattinson as a teenage Wolverine.

Magneto, the misunderstood villain played in the previous three films by Ian McKellen, will be portrayed by a younger actor in Fox’s upcoming origin story titled Magneto. The studio is also tossing around the idea of an X-Men Origins: Wolverine spin-off centered on Deadpool, a character played by Ryan Reynolds.

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