It’s being reported that Fox, the movie studio behind X-Men: First Class and the other host of X-Men films, registered the title “Days of Future Past” with the MPAA, leading to speculation that director Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming sequel to X-Men: First Class, which begins filming next year, will encompass the classic time-traveling X-Men story. Update: And now Bryan Singer has confirmed it. We’re getting Days of Future Past.
If true, I could not be more excited. The X-Men movie franchise is not only well positioned enough to pull this off, I would argue that it’s absolutely necessary that they do. Here are 5 reasons why.
1.) The story premise is solid, emotionally and structurally.
For those unaware, “Days of Future Past” was a groundbreaking two-issue storyline in the X-Men comics where a future version of Kitty Pryde traveled back in time to prevent an assassination of an anti-mutant Senator, one who’s death at mutant hands triggers the eventual internment of all mutants into camps.
Minus the details and eye-opening apocalyptic setting, the most jaw-dropping and most important aspect of this story is that the X-Men are told by one of their own that they have failed in their mission. That all of their sacrifices have been in vain and that their faith in humanity is unjustified.
Now imagine the fresh-faced young mutants from X-Men: First Class being told that, well before they’ve really been given a chance to progress in their goal of mutant/human integration. The emotional turmoil would be immense and every character would react differently. (How would you react if told by your future self that you had never achieved your dreams? Now imagine your dream is the preservation of an entire race.) More importantly, this would test Xavier’s and Magneto’s conflicting ideologies on a very personal level.
In terms of plot structure, the race to stop, or hasten, the event that triggers such a bleak future would give the movie a wicked sense of momentum. And if you could intercut that with scenes from a wild, mutant-strewn apocalyptic future? Oh man.
2.) Everyone gets to meet each other!
The details of a movie “Days of Future Past” would obviously be different than the comic storyline. It might be an older, wiser Rebecca Romijn Mystique that comes back in time to warn everyone. Or some of the younger X-Men might get thrown into the future for a bit. Whatever the actual details end up being, the possibility remains open for actors from the first three X-Men movies to meet the actors from X-Men: First Class.
Just imagine all of these scenarios: Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy as Professor X. Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Jennifer Lawrence and Rebecca Romijn as Mystique. Alex and Scott Summers both meeting the brother they might never have known they had. Young X-Men realizing they never live to see the future while older X-Men get to see long lost friends one last time.
Seriously, if I’m not convincing you with a sentence like “Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy as Professor X.” then I’m never going to convince you on that front. Unless you consider....
Wolverine is an iconic figure in the “Days of Future Past” storyline and finally meets his end defending the mutants in the internment camps. (In a shocking panel, Wolverine is melted in mid-air with one blast from a Sentinel.)
Although Wolverine hilariously brushed Magneto and Professor X off in X-Men: First Class, we know he eventually joins the X-Men and we know that his loyalty to them grew with each successive movie. His absence from a “Days of Future Past” film would be too glaring, and an older, grizzled, even-tougher Wolverine is too awesome an opportunity to pass up. His status as “the future Wolverine” would allow the screenwriters to use him as they see fit without having to worry about the consequences to the character. You can have a gloriously savage Wolverine death scene and still have him be in the next X-Men or Wolverine flick.
Also, that would continue the streak of Hugh Jackman showing up in all of the X-Men movies.
4.) It provides enemies the characters can really let their powers loose on.
The main enforcers of the internment camps are the Sentinels, which are basically giant flying anti-mutant robots. The Sentinels take many forms, from huge robots to human-sized cyborgs to near-amorphous nano organisms to horrific bio-tech monstrosities. They are designed to counteract mutant powers wherever possible, which makes them tough to defeat.
And because they’re so tough to defeat, that sets the stage for an epic battle with mutants being able to let loose in every way they can think of. Havok could annihilate an entire field of Sentinels, Wolverine could claw his way up, through, and around one, Magneto could send entire buildings tumbling down on top of them. A nearly-endless robotic opponent means that we could see huge mutant fight scenes of the like that X-Men 3 promised but never quite delivered.
Oh yeah, about that...
5.) You can erase X-Men 3: The Last Stand.
Since the entire point of “Days of Future Past” is to prevent a future timeline, who’s going to weep if something like X-Men 3: Oh God Why Brett Ratner also gets erased from the timeline?
Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and yes, knows that top image is from Marvels, he just likes it.