Original pic's team reunites

Fox has planted a flag on May 2, 2003, to release “X-Men 2,” the sequel to its highly successful “X-Men.”

Second installment reunites original pic’s creative team, including director Bryan Singer, producers Ralph Winter, Lauren Shuler Donner and Avi Arad and scribe David Hayter.

Fox is one of the first studios to stake a claim in summer 2003, which is shaping up to be an action-packed season with “The Matrix Reloaded,” “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “The Hulk” as part of the potential lineup.

“We wanted to build on ‘X-Men’s’ summer success,” Singer told Daily Variety about the release date. “We decided (May 2) would be the best place to kick off a summer that has other sci-fi/fantasy fare.”

Cast set to return

Original pic’s cast of characters is on board to reprise their roles, including Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Halle Berry (Storm) and Patrick Stewart (Professor X).

Tentatively skedded to start lensing next May in Canada, “X2″ will feature several new mutants from the “X-Men” comics universe, although both the studio and Singer declined comment on the additions.

“We want to keep those characters a surprise,” Singer said. “But there will be some really interesting new characters, both young and old.”

Singer’s helming credits include “The Usual Suspects,” “Apt Pupil” and “X-Men,” which grossed $300 million theatrically worldwide.

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