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Matthew Vaughn quit X-Men after dirty trick was pulled on Halle Berry

Matthew Vaughn had a brush with the precursor to the MCU, and the experience left a bad taste in his mouth over the treatment of Oscar-winner Halle Berry.

Halle Berry as Storm in X-Men

Matthew Vaughn hasn’t done anything for the MCU yet, and he might not, given his time on the X-Men movies. The acclaimed director has alleged that some awful tactics by the studio towards star Halle Berry led to him walking away from X-Men: The Last Stand.

Still years away from the MCU, the Marvel movies in order were predated by the X-Men trilogy. Those films haven’t aged well, but we got Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, two of the best X-Men characters on-screen, so they weren’t a total loss.

During a panel at NYCC 2023, per The Hollywood Reporter, Vaughn revealed why he never took the director’s chair for one of the superhero movies. “I went into one of the executive’s offices, and I saw an X3 script, and I immediately knew it was a lot fatter,” he starts. “I was like, what the hell is this draft? He went, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and I’m like, ‘No, no. I’m the director. I’m worrying about this draft.'”

After some back-and-forth, Vaughn grabbed the script and found something he liked. The opening scene was going to feature Storm rescuing some kids in Africa, where she originally comes from.

That sounds great, both for Storm and to start the film. But there was a huge catch – none of that was ever making it into production. It was a ruse to get Berry on board. “[The producer stated] ‘This is what she wants it to be, and once she signs up, we’ll throw it in the bin,'” Vaughn recalled. “I was like, ‘Wow, you’re gonna do that to an Oscar-winning actress who plays Storm? I’m outta here.’ So I quit at that point.”

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And that was that. Vaughn would go on to make some of the best action movies of the proceeding decades in Kick-Ass and The Kingsman franchise. X-Men: The Last Stand was, to be frank, a complete mess, and the mutants became largely scattered until Ryan Reynolds finally got his Deadpool films.

We can only take Vaughn’s word on this incident, but given he did walk away and this scene never happened, it’s believable. Before Marvel Studios and the MCU, there was a much stronger sense of cynicism towards these stories and characters within Hollywood, leading to choices like the black costumes.

However, it all went down, I’m glad we’re in a much better place. The Marvel movies have been going strong for over a decade, with better representation among the best Marvel characters, and it seems like only a matter of time before Storm will finally get her due on the big screen.

If we’re lucky, Berry will get another shot, too – we’ll be keeping an eye on new movies like Deadpool 3.