Sunday, 5 August 2012

Five Predictions for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Ever since the title was announced, X-Men fandom has been abuzz about the fact that Days of Future Past - one of the most iconic and memorable X-Men storylines ever published – will be making its way to the big screen as the sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class (2011).
Originally published in issues 141 and 142 of The Uncanny X-Men, the story follows the attempts of a future version of Kitty Pryde to try and prevent a dystopian future from coming to pass in which the Sentinels – massive robots built to round up and destroy mutant kind – police mutants and have left America a crumbling hellhole. Sending her mind back into the body of her younger self, Kitty seeks to stop the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the event which triggers the government into putting the Sentinels into action.
Of course, given the manner in which the X-Men comics have been adapted to screen thus far, a straightforward retelling of the comic is unlikely. As such, here are five predictions for just how the story will be adapted to screen, and what role it might serve in the future of the film series.

1. Who Will Be the Protagonist of the Film?

Sorry Ellen Page, but Jennifer Lawrence is going to be the star of this film.
The biggest change to expect with the upcoming film will be who the main protagonist will be, since it likely won’t be Kitty Pryde. While Vaughn’s First Class was something of a mini-reboot of the X-Men films, it is still linked to the prior series, however loosely. Given how large a role Kitty Pryde played in X-Men: The Last Stand, it is unlikely Vaughn is going to ask audiences to totally ignore that interpretation of the character.  
So just who will take on the role of time travelling hero? Why, none other than Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence. While such a change will likely rile up hardcore fans – after all, Mystique was the one behind the plan to kill Kelly in the original comics – the change would make plenty of sense for the film. From a sheer pragmatic point, Mystique is already established within the world of the films, one which the audience already has an investment in. Furthermore, given Mystique’s relationships with Magneto and Xavier as established in First Class, there is much dramatic material to be rung out of an emotionally older and wiser Mystique dealing with younger versions of Eric and Charles.
But, to be totally cynical for a second, the other reason Mystique will likely take the lead in Days of Future Past is simply due to the fact that Jennifer Lawrence has become a major star with the release of The Hunger Games. Given all the negotiations that went on between Fox and Lionsgate just to organize Lawrence’s schedule so that she could shoot both films, you can bet that there are big plans to put Lawrence front and centre in Days of Future Past.
2. Finally Expect to See the Sentinels Onscreen
Expect to see more than just a head this time.
Between 2000 and 2010, it seemed that Fox had something against purple coloured giants in their films, forcing Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer to become a giant cloud-thing, and keeping a single Sentinel mostly off screen in X-Men: The Last Stand.

In the past couple of years however, Fox executives have been willing to take bigger risks in their sci-fi projects. Given that director Vaughn has already shown that he is not afraid to bring the most comic booky of ideas to the screen, you can bet we will finally get to see some large purple robots duking it out with the X-Men on the silver screen come 2014
3. Who Will Be Our Villain This Time Out?
All I am going to say is that if Apocalypse appears in the film and he doesn't have a giant 'A' for a belt buckle, the film will be a total failure for me. 
While you can bet Magneto will be in the thick of things once again, chances are there will be another major villain pulling whatever strings are being pulled in this film. The question however is just who this other villain is going to be.
While one might be willing to bet on the creator of the Sentinels, Dr. Boliver Trask, being a major villain in the film, one has to remember that the character technically already appeared in the earlier X-Men film, The Last Stand, where he was played by Bill Duke. While I wouldn’t put it past Vaughn to just ignore that part of the film (I mean, does anyone really remember Trask being in the film?), I don’t think there is enough to be gained by including Trask in this new film to justify ingoring The Last Stand.
Given that the film will likely be dealing with time travel and parallel dimensions/alternate timelines, there is a chance that other future dystopia might come into play in the film: The Age of Apocalypse, in which the world has fallen into the grip of Apocalypse. An immortal mutant with a survival of the fittest belief when it comes to mutant and human kind, Apocalypse might just have a place in the newest X-Men film, and provide the biggest scale threat we’ve yet seen in these films.
4. Time Travel? Alternate Futures? Isn’t This Going to Get Confusing?
How can this scene and X-Men: First Class co-exist? I blame the Time War.
For all the differences between the films and the comics, one thing they both have in common is that both possess a convoluted and contradictory continuity. Over the course of five films, we have had timelines that don’t add up (see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the first film), character histories that contradict one another (Scott Summers), and multiple versions of the same character (I’m looking at you, Hank McCoy).  To start tossing alternate timelines and time travel into the mix might just seem like the filmmakers are going to make things an even bigger mess.
However, if anything, my guess is that Days of Future Past might just be the answer to sorting out the convoluted and confusing nature of the X-Men films, at least to audience members who care about such things. By taking a page out of the recent Star Trek reboot playbook, the Bryan Singer/Brett Ratner/Gavin Hood films can be explained as taking place in alternate-but-related timeline(s), allowing the continuity issues to be explained away. Moreover, such an approach can also free up Vaughn and whoever follows him to guide the X-Men films in whatever direction they like, without having to worry about contradicting the earlier films. Everybody wins!
5. Hugh Jackman Will Be In the Film. Count On It.
It might only be for five minutes, but those five minutes will be better than the entire 107 minutes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Just don’t count on him being in the film for a large amount of screen time. However, as the comic image at the top of this article shows, Logan did have a role in the original story, including being one of the few surviving X-Men in the future dystopia. Given that Fox, Marvel, and even Hugh Jackman love themselves some Wolverine, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Logan putting in a brief appearance in scenes set in the (presumed to exist) future dystopia.

Also, if my number one predication about the film turns out to be true, expect Rebecca Romijn to pop up in the film as well.

So those are my predictions for the new X-Men film. Feel free to discuss and make your own predictions below!

1 comment:

  1. Based on the way the rest of the franchise has been handled (parts 1 and 2 excepted), I'm going to guess the time travel will further complicate things. Hopefully to the point where two Magnetos from different timelines meet each other and think they're looking in a mirror like that scene in Duck Soup.