When Layer Cake director Matthew Vaughn dropped by my UCLA Sneak Preview class in early April, I asked if he could confirm that he’ll be directing X-Men 3. Vaughan said he’d just come from a meeting an hour or two earlier at 20th Century Fox to discuss just this, and said he didn’t want to do the X-Men sequel if he couldn’t give it a particular flavor and inner life of his own. (The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying he wanted to bring “more heart” to the next episode.) Clearly, Vaughan had doubts about Fox’s willingness to let this happen to his satisfaction. I then brought up director Franc Roddam…the ultimate example of a British director who’d made an excellent film (Quadrophenia) and was thereafter imported by Hollywood only to make bigger-budgeted, more formulaic stuff like The Lords of Discipline, which brought about a huge career devaluation. Vaughan said he was aware of this potential and wasn’t about to follow in Roddam’s footsteps…and reiterated he wouldn’t direct X-Men 3 unless the deal looked and felt exactly right to him. And now, almost two months later, the other shoe has dropped: 20th Century Fox said Tuesday that Vaughn is giving up the reins of X-Men 3 over “personal reasons.”