Analyzing X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

A look at Chris Claremont's original, 2-part X-Men story and what we know so far from Matthew Vaughn, Bryan Singer and others. Just how will time travel effect the First Class sequel and the X-Men franchise moving forward? Potential Spoilers

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By Mark Julian - 12/3/2012
WHAT IS DAYS OF FUTURE PAST?


The future is a nightmarish, rubble-strewn landscape where all the world's mutants, superheroes and supervillains are detained in concentration camps run by giant 'Sentinel' robots. Wolverine hatches a scheme with surviving mutants Storm, Colossus, Kitty Pride, Rachel Summers, Franklin Richards and Magneto to send Kitty's consciousness back in time to her younger body where she will attempt to stop the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly and Professor X. An event which they believe sparked the mass-scale production of Sentinels and their current, oppressed living conditions. Days of Future Past (1981) by Chris Claremont and John Byrne is generally regarded as one of Marvel Comics' best storylines of all time.


WHAT WAS PREVIOUSLY SAID ABOUT AN X-MEN: FIRST CLASS SEQUEL.

X-Men: First Class (2011) was an important outing for Fox, following disappointing fan and critic response for X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). With the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 as a backdrop, Professor X and Magneto gather a group of young mutants to stop the evil machinations of Hellfire Club leader, Sebastian Shaw. Regardless of continuity and source material issues, the film was an enjoyable, action-laden SFX romp that catapulted Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy into another acting tier. But before the film was even released, discussion turned to a sequel. Here's what Matthew Vaughn had to say back in 2011. "I've got some ideas for the opening for the next film. I thought it would be fun to open with the Kennedy Assassination, and we reveal that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto. That would explain the physics of it, and we see that he's pissed off because Kennedy took all the credit for saving the world and mutants weren't even mentioned. And we could go from there, and I've got some fun ideas about what other mutants to bring in. I don't want to tempt fate, though. If the film's a hit, of course I'd be interested. I really enjoyed making it." Then-producer, now-director Bryan Singer echoed this sentiment adding that the Vietnam War could also be a backdrop for the First Class sequel.


HOW COULD THE FILM FEATURE BOTH MCAVOY/FASSBENDER AND STEWART/MCKELLAN?


How could the JFK Assassination and the Vietnam War tie into Days of Future Past? Short answer, they don't. Days of Future past centers around the surviving X-Men of a dystopian sending Shadowcat back in time to stop the assassination of Senator Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They believe that Kelly's death was the catalyst event for their hellish, Sentinel filled future. If you recall, Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) was captured and assassinated in the very first X-Men film. If the script from Vaughn, Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman adheres to this particular plot point of Chris Claremont's story then a future X-man will be traveling back in time to prevent this from happening. This idea is further strengthened by the recent announcement that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are returning to reprise their roles of Professor X and Magneto. The plot gives producers and the studio the option of altering or undoing all-together the events of X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. It's actually a clever way to reboot the entire franchise, similar to what Paramount and J.J. Abrams have done with Star Trek.

On paper, that plot is enough for a feature film on its own. However, it excludes the three breakout stars from X-Men: First Class, Fassbender, McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. No way Fox will give up that type of star power. In order to weave them into the overall plot, there are two possibilities 1.) Whoever goes back in time travels to the 60's first before stopping the Kelly assassination or 2.) More than one X-man gets sent back, each to two separate time periods. With time travel being the crucial element of the plot, it would be too confusing I believe to simply have the younger characters appear in flashbacks. I'd bet the house that there will be two distinct time travel journeys by the dystopian-future X-Men forces, most likely to stop the JFK Assassination in 1963 and the Robert Kelly kidnapping which (in the movie timeline) occurred in 2000. Now the question is, who will it be that gets sent back?


So Will it be Shadowcat that goes Back in Time?


Three different actresses have portrayed Shadowcat aka Kitty Pride in the X-Men films. Sumela Kay and Katie Stuart portrayed her in small cameo roles in X-Men and X-2. But when Kitty took center stage in X-3, the role was handed to Ellen Page. Thanks to Jennifer Lawrence's conflict regarding The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the First Class sequel, Days of Future Past will reportedly begin filming April 2013. Bryan Singer has already started pre-production. I bring this up because Ellen Page is currently signed up to star in Incognito Pictures's Freeheld, a film which recently landed a director and appears to be moving forward although there's no start date, yet. Depending on Page's option with each studio, she could be unavailable to Singer. While a different mutant could easily be substituted for Shadowcat (the 90's Fox Animated series used Bishop), it wouldn't be much of a stretch to put Kitty in a relationship with Franklin Richards instead of Rachel Summers. This would be the beginning steps of crafting the shared universe that Fox and newly-minted Creative Consultant Mark Millar have previously talked about and would open the door for X-Men cameos in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot.



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Is Josh Trank Really Going To Direct The FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot?

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46 Comments
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DrDoom - 12/3/2012, 1:44 PM
Franklin Richards?
Don't tell me you want Fox to keep making Fantastic Four movies?
TheSnuggler - 12/3/2012, 2:01 PM
@ AcidicHeart

No one wants them to make anymore Marvel movies, but they have the rights and are moving ahead with the films.
Minato - 12/3/2012, 2:10 PM
Not a bad conclusion, I like your Ideas
AIGALAN - 12/3/2012, 2:29 PM
This is a nice article. I just think it will be loosely based if any on the original stories. I just want it to have action and for it to make sense and maybe resolve some of the problems the previous films had.
laughterman26 - 12/3/2012, 2:31 PM
i wreckon the franchise would of been so much better if singer didnt leave to go do superman. that just led a chain reaction of two shit movies. first class was pretty good. and i beleive if singer had directed the third x-men movie it would have been good and continued going forward in terms of story.
gambgel - 12/3/2012, 2:35 PM
The solution:

Kitty travels back phisically.

Im sure Fox and the other studio can make their agendas work.
continuezero - 12/3/2012, 2:37 PM
Bring on Bishop, that would be a way better way to go. The 90's show nailed it when the made the switch.

Fox to use Nimrod to counter Marvel/Disney eventually using Ultron anyone?
Inhuman - 12/3/2012, 2:42 PM
kind of the same theory as you but mine is a lil different. in my theory there are 2 timelines.

the first timeline is an alternate timeline which involves x-men origins: wolverine, x1, x2, x-men the last stand, and the wolverine. logan from that timeline time travels at the end of the wolverine movie into the days of future past movie...

ALTERNATE TIMELINE
x-men origins: wolverine, x1, x2, x-men the last stand, the wolverine
-----------------------------------------------------------

the second timeline is the canon present timeline which involves x-men first class, x-men days of future past, x1, and x2. if they were to bring the logan from the alternate timeline in days of future past it automatically fixes every continuity issue because we now know that xavier walking being bald in origins and last stand is from an alternate timeline where the characters lives are vastly different

CANON TIMELINE
x-men first class, x-men days of future past, x1, x2
--------------------------------------------

now singer can do a sequel to x2 and have everyone back because in x2 nobody dies and he can have the fire phoenix like he intended it to be
gambgel - 12/3/2012, 2:48 PM
in the long wait until first pics, teaser and all:

XDOFPws

:D
Pauul - 12/3/2012, 2:48 PM
More likely is we'll get an alternate dystopian present, where the modern X-Men send someone back to the past to undo the cause.
Inhuman - 12/3/2012, 2:50 PM
what it comes down to is that THE WOLVERINE needs to have a secret ending that shows logan time travel to DAYS OF FUTURE PAST which means that all of the movies that were made are from an alternate timeline and the real canon movies are first class, days of future past, x1, x2 and everything would be fixed
Inhuman - 12/3/2012, 2:52 PM
its pretty simple if singer can somehow explain this and pull it off

ALTERNATE TIMELINE - origins, x1, x2, the last stand, wolverine

CANON TIMELINE - first class, days of future past, x1, x2
beane2099 - 12/3/2012, 2:58 PM
Might be a little lost here. Have they mentioned the Kennedy Assassination as being a part of this story?

Why do they have to use Kitty Pride as the catalyst? I mean yeah it's DOFP, but that doesn't confine them to just her character doing the time travelling. I'd actually prefer Bishop as the time traveler.

But I kind of figured, whoever's going back would be traveling from Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart's time (where they're even older) back to the Macavoy and Fassbender's time. This would be far more economical story wise.
luckylu - 12/3/2012, 3:03 PM
first class had nothing to do with "first class" as this movie will have nothing to do with the actual "days of future past" story.
FirstAvenger - 12/3/2012, 3:12 PM
Great article.
spidersponge - 12/3/2012, 3:14 PM
Guy guys guys! Let's get serious here! We all know that just like First Class this may be good. But we also know that like First Class they'll rape the heck out of this to the point of the storyline being unreconizable! Boycott anyone? If it's that good we'll find another way to see this rape-fest!
tieray - 12/3/2012, 3:28 PM
This was really cool. Havent said anythink in a wile but I think there could be another route x-dofp can take. Bishop go back in time to stop strucker he is the only constent thing that affects every x film. If they stop him there will be conection in all films. The training camps can be direct result of x3... X3 is direct result of x2 jean grey. And they can add on an assationation.
KaneRomita - 12/3/2012, 3:30 PM
The comic involved psychic time travel so it would seem obvious to me that it's Charles who does the time-traveling in the movie version. So Macavoy could be portraying young Charles with old Charles' memories.
And don't forget... SENTINELS..!
sikwon - 12/3/2012, 3:42 PM
Again... high hopes, low expectstion.
sikwon - 12/3/2012, 3:43 PM
Expectations*
Oxbow - 12/3/2012, 3:49 PM
agree with everyone who wants Bishop as the time traveller. If I was the writer, I would have bishop come do something horrible in the xmen timeline, and they have to travel to FC timeline to fix it.

NO to Kitty Pryde! She has had the worst treatment in these movies, with 3 different actresses playing her, and is a symbol of everything FAUX has done wrong with these characters and CBMs in general!
CoolantTech - 12/3/2012, 4:20 PM


GammaVerve - 12/3/2012, 4:25 PM
It will suck, just like first class.
Fogs - 12/3/2012, 4:27 PM
Bishop or Cable.
typicalfanboy - 12/3/2012, 4:27 PM
please let there be sentinels. they were almost in x2.
gambgel - 12/3/2012, 4:53 PM
that Magneto with the sentinel pic is amazing.

would be more than epic to see that on the big screen.

fingers crossed with this sequel, it has the potential to be biggest x-men movie ever and one of the best comicbook movies of cinema history.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 12/3/2012, 5:11 PM
Well, here's to hoping. I hope that this film will fill in the gaps of the continuity errors that X-Men: First Class, the X-Men trilogy, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine had. Also, a great write up you got here, @MarkJulian.
blackster - 12/3/2012, 5:24 PM
just wipe out x-men 1-3 and continue with XMFC cast.
Durango95 - 12/3/2012, 5:30 PM
im with blackster. that whole trilogy sucked ass. it better be shadowcat that time travels. i dont care if its two teams but pryde better be the one who straightens it out.
GhostKILLERgx7 - 12/3/2012, 6:01 PM
OMG HOW DOES X-MEN 3 END! Charles wakes up in another mans body! this could work people......but this is fox so they could screw it up.

i don't know what to think about this anymore, guess i'll have to wait and see
birdfists - 12/3/2012, 6:33 PM
Wow, this whole article would be amazing, and some of the ideas in the comments are great too.

You guys should write this ;p
Caveboy0 - 12/3/2012, 8:24 PM
did you even read the comic? most of it takes place in the past. how can a time travel story not take place in the time that was traveled too.
DrainBamage - 12/3/2012, 8:45 PM
I wouldn't really say that Kelley was 'assassinated' in the first film. More like a guinea pig to an experiment that didn't work. But I guess with Mystique in custody, maybe they drew their own conclusions.

Either way, the continuity of these films has been so chewed up that I have no idea how they'll pull it off. A lot is going to be overlooked or just flat out swept under the rug.
fortycals - 12/3/2012, 8:49 PM
Great article.
If I remember correctly millar compared this movie to the terminator. The first two people i thought of when i heard this cable or bishop. I dont want this to follow the books exactly. It would be cool to see Bishop coming back to change his past, and in turn help create the AoA for the next movie. Then in the next one bring in cable to fix it all. Just dont make it to confusing trying to fix past mistakes that dont matter. If any make it so you erase the the first four movies all together. A lot of people cry about charles walking in origins, but dont realize charles has been in and out of his chair in the books more times than i can remember.I dont need an explaination for that. If youre going to recont anything recont it all.
pepe - 12/3/2012, 11:29 PM
Singer is making another X-flick.... CBMs are doomed... Whats next. Singer making a Superman flick...
Newbus - 12/3/2012, 11:41 PM
"I've got some ideas for the opening for the next film. I thought it would be fun to open with the Kennedy Assassination, and we reveal that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto. That would explain the physics of it, and we see that he's pissed off because Kennedy took all the credit for saving the world and mutants weren't even mentioned. And we could go from there, and I've got some fun ideas about what other mutants to bring in."

Magneto deflecting the bullet doesn't make sense. The bullet was always intended for Kennedy so there's no need to deflect it in the first place. Plus several shots were fired at Kennedy and Im sure Magnetos reaction times arent faster than bullet. So this idea needs to be dropped.
timotey - 12/4/2012, 12:45 AM
I think the suggestions in this article are overly complicated. IMHO, the parts with old Erik and Charles will be kept at minimum - at the very beginning, Erik and Charles will work together to send Charles' mind back to the 60s to stop the Kennedy assassination, not Senator Kelly's in the 2000s. Charles and the X-Men will fail but it will strenghten Charles' determination to work WITH humans, not AGAINST them. At the end, we will see the future, maybe changed, maybe not. The End
Stevenjames - 12/4/2012, 2:56 AM
I loved DOFP in the comics and animated series from the 90's (which is still my favorite cartoon of all time and I doubt that will ever change). Bishop or Kitty would work for me but if its neither I wont cry, on the outside. I will probably just love seeing another X-Men movie because even the bad ones are like Geek/Fanboy candy to me.
Inhuman - 12/4/2012, 4:30 AM
@brazillianbatman... what im trying to say is that the logan we see in days of future past will be coming from an alternate future/timeline. singer can use that and fix the continuity issues by explaining either through flashbacks or dialogue that the events of origins, the last stand, and the wolverine all happened in a different universe and it would make those 3 movies come from a different timeline. that would explain why xavier is walking bald and still friends with magneto and all the other contradictions. remember, an alternate timeline is a sequence of events that may differ slightly from another timeline.

in one timeline (ALTERNATE TIMELINE) the chronological movies go like this...
x-men origins wolverine, x1, x2, x-men the last stand, the wolverine

in another timeline (PRESENT/CANON TIMELINE) the chronological movies go like this...
x-men first class, x-men days of future past, x1, x2

in each timeline x1 and x2 are the same movies. the only difference between the two timelines are the lead up films and the post x2 films. with alternate logan establishing another set of events from another universe/future, singer can now do a proper x2 sequel and is not tied down to the last stand because the last stand comes from another universe/timeline.
Starlight - 12/4/2012, 5:00 AM
[frick] YEAH ! Bring on BISHOP !!!
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