Aug 2, 2012

X-Men Mark Their X-Calendar For DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Part of the reason people have reacted with such gusto to the announcement of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is because the title indicates that film will be adapting one of the most beloved comic arcs in the character's recent history.  It's an interesting approach, as comic films tend to focus more on the broad strokes of the character/world than bringing a specific storyline to the screen.  Marvel's plan certainly has the potential for greatness and Fox seems to concur, as they'll be taking the X-Men down the same path.

Bryan Singer has confirmed that Matthew Vaughn's followup to X-Men: First Class will indeed be called X-Men: Days Of Future Past, adapting what is possibly the most famous of all the X-Men stories.  Originally penned by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, (authors of the Dark Phoenix story) Days Of Future Past centers around a dystopian future in which mutants have all been either interned or killed by the infamous giant robot Sentinels.  The future Kitty Pryde sends her mind back in time to possess her younger self and warn the X-Men in order to prevent this dark future from coming to pass.

Honestly, this announcement almost raises more questions than it answers.  Since the last film took place in the 1960s, will the "future" actually take place in our present day, or will it go even further into the 21st century?  More intriguingly, how does Vaughn plan to handle the elder versions of our mutant heroes?  Does he plan on getting the band back together?  While I wouldn't mind seeing Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan return, my hope is that Fox lets Vaughn continue to re-write the X-Universe as he sees fit, instead of trying to shoehorn it in with the previous Singer/Ratner trilogy.*  I say that this actually presents a tremendous opportunity for Vaughn.  The story is all about changing future timelines, so even if he does decide to bring in folks like James Marsden and Famke Janssen, he can essentially have them do whatever he wants and explain it away ala J.J. Abram's Star Trek.

I'm firmly on the record as having loved Vaughn's first mutant adventure (the Blu-ray is in heavy rotation in our house) and I'm delighted that he and writing partner Jane Goldman are back for round two.  Fortunately they've also got a bit of time on this one, as the film isn't scheduled for release until 2014, but we should start hearing casting announcements in the next few months.  I expect we'll get to see a whole lot of new characters between the two timelines as well, so start your obscure mutant office pool now!

As a fan of the old Fox cartoon and someone who's been thoroughly disappointed by the Transformer films, I'm excited at the prospect of actually seeing the Sentinels brought to life.  Who knows, they might even be purple!

*It's a fine line.  Obviously we've seen Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and a quick cameo by Rebecca Romijn, but part of what worked about First Class is that it was evocative of those future-set X-Men films without feeling like a slave to their continuity.

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