While I myself originally caught the first trailer for Bryan Singer’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST during San Diego Comic Con, seeing again today confirmed my initial first thoughts – it’s looking to be an absolute epic. Being in Hall H during the presentation and subsequent Q&A with the cast and crew of the all-star ensemble is something that will long long in the memory. Hell, I wasn’t expecting much from the sparsely marketed blockbuster THE WOLVERINE, but it remains one of this summers better films and certainly one of the strongest in the X-MEN franchise (ranking number 3 in my list behind X2 and FIRST CLASS).
Director Singer has reunited his main cast first assembled way back in 2000, with those of Matthew Vaughn’s well-recieved prequel of 2011. We here at THN believe the more serious and intense tone of the new, time-travelling adventure marks DOFP as the film to beat next summer. So, why not check out the words of Singer below as he explains and dissects the footage that finally hit the online community earlier today.
“The grey in the hair is something I took from X-Men Days Of Future Past, it’s a look in the comic,” says Singer. “I liked it, even though he hasn’t really aged physically it’s something that shows how tough things have gotten in the future, and brought that out in him and given him a little more world-weariness.”
“She’s one of the last surviving X-Men in this post-apocalyptic world,” explains Singer of Storm’s place in the movie. “She’s part of that with Wolverine and Charles and Magneto, they’re some of the last folk standing from the original X-Men. They’re at the spearhead of this mission, this last chance at saving the world. This is their only hope, their mission into time. Can you actually go back and affect time? Can you go back and change things or will time correct itself? Will history fight you back and is your destiny pre-determined or can you change it?”
“You’ll need me as well…” Ian McKellen’s Erik Lehnsherr, AKA Magneto, is also a fixture in the future war, facing an enemy so monstrous that it forces former foes to band together. When we meet the X-Men in the future, the X-Men effectively no longer exist. “They’re on the run,” says Singer. “There’s no organisation. It’s all been shattered. Most of them have been hunted down. Most of them are dead.”
Days Of Future Past isn’t all about the old guard. Singer and writer Simon Kinberg have introduced some new mutants too, and here’s our first look at Omar Sy as long-term fan favourite Bishop, Adan Canto as fiery Brazilian mutant Sunspot (who almost appeared in X-Men 3), Booboo Stewart as the Native American strongman Warpath and Fan Bingbing as Blink, whose ability to conjure portals may come in handy during battles. Just don’t think of them as X-Men. “They’re not really fresh recruits,” explains Singer. “They’re more refugees that are living day to day in this hideously ruined world. They don’t have much hope in the future. They’re on the run and they join forces with the remaining X-Men to try to do this one last attempt at fixing the world.”
“There’s a line in the movie, ‘he’s always had a way with guns’,” reveals Singer. “That’s how he crippled Xavier, and he’s such a powerful mutant but in this particular moment he’s holding a gun and I like that. He’s a product of the Second World War and he knows how to use a gun as much as he does his powers.”
The monastery or temple or whatever the heck it is comes under attack as a bulky figure runs through the destruction. Is this our first look at the return of Daniel Cudmore as Peter Rasputin, aka the metal-skinned Colossus? It sure is. Minus the metal skin. “He may be his human form in that shot, I’m not sure. By that time in the sequence he may actually be metal but I have no visual effects done!” laughs Singer. “So for that shot you just get what’s on the set – a big, live, real explosion. No CGI yet. We’re in process on very elaborate effects but there’s really none of them done except for a couple of backdrops and a couple of shots I could slide in.”
Now this is a big one. Logan, in the 1970s, takes out some dude. You can just about see them in this grab, but Wolverine’s claws aren’t adamantium. Instead, they’re all bone, baby. All bone. “He doesn’t have his metal yet in 1973,” confirms Singer, which places this movie before the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Wolverine’s first meeting with a man by the name of William Stryker, head of the Weapon X programme. Here, Stryker (previously played by Brian Cox in X2 and Danny Huston in Origins) is played by Josh Helman. And we’re intrigued to see how Magneto and Wolverine get on now that the former can’t make the latter behave like a puppet on a string…
And Old Charles. This juxtaposition between Fassbender and McAvoy’s broken Erik and Charles and the dignified old men they become will be one of Days Of Future Past’s major themes.“When I try to direct an actor, you always try to give them a sense of who they were as young men, who they were in their past lives, and in my imagination I always had that [with Charles and Erik],” says Singer. “I was able to introduce those notions in X-Men First Class but to actually have them performing simultaneously on screen, that was a real thrill and a challenge.”
And the trailer ends with the big visual that sent 6,500 people in Hall H nuts when the footage debuted at Comic-Con: the meeting of the two Xaviers, presumably on the astral plane. “Please…” pleads Stewart’s Xavier of his reluctant younger self. “I need you to hope again.” “It’s an abstract scene, without giving away its origin and how it happens,” says Singer. “It’s a trippy scene, it has a bit of 70s style in it and the entire scene involved a lot of interesting practical photography using mirrors and other things. It was fun to shoot, and it was great to get the two actors together.” Interestingly, it was McAvoy’s first day on set – not a bad way to ease yourself in gently.“I did get goosebumps,” adds Singer. “I’ve got a picture on my iPhone of the two of them talking to each other. These moments need to be photographed.”
He also offered more details of the plot and just how much we can expect from characters set in the past, present and future timelines!
The past is most of it. It’s about figuring your rules and sticking to them. The principle I looked at is this theory that until an object is observed, it hasn’t really happened yet. The time-traveler whose consciousness travels through time I call The Observer, and until The Observer returns to where he traveled from, the result hasn’t occurred yet. So he can muck about in the past and it isn’t until he snaps back that the new future is set. As a result, we’re able to have parallel action, and there’s an underlying tension because there’s always that threat Wolverine’s consciousness could return and leave the world in an even darker place.”
The film stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, and Lucas Till. It opens in the UK on 23rd May and the US on the 24th.