EDITORIAL: Why Cyclops Should Not Be In X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Many fans have expressed a desire to see James Marsden reprise his role as Cyclops in X-Men: Days of Future Past. At this point in time, it appears that he will not appear in this film. I am here to argue that this is actually a blessing in disguise.

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By BobbyDrakeApproaches - 3/20/2014
The reason I do not think Cyclops should be in X-Men: Days of Future Past is very simple. Cyclops was portrayed miserably in the previous films, and there is no evidence to suggest he will be portrayed any differently in this upcoming movie.

Let me back up a moment to clarify. The truth is, I love Cyclops, AKA Scott Summers. I think he is one of the greatest X-Men of all time, and probably the most important X-Man of all time. He is talented fighter, a great leader, and he has a fantastic superpower. In addition, has a fascinating duality that marks him as one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. He can be a confident, assertive leader, yet he is also filled with self-doubt, sometimes wondering if his extremely powerful force beam is a detriment to humanity, instead of a force for good.



Can you guess the catch? The entire preceding paragraph describes Cyclops from the comics books, not the movies. Cyclops was absolutely horrible in the X-Men trilogy, and to be perfectly honest, I cannot imagine why he would be any better if he was in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

What exactly was so terrible about Cyclops in the movies? To make it easier, I will analyze one movie at a time. In Bryan Singer’s original X-Men, Cyclops has his largest cinematic role. He is the field leader for the X-Men, he is dating Jean Grey, and Professor X describes him as one his earliest students (I will ignore the implications from X-Men: First Class that make the Professor appear to be a liar). However, all of these things seem superficial. He has very little screentime, and anytime he is on screen, he is usually talking to Wolverine, or talking about Wolverine. (The original film feels like it is actually a Wolverine movie, to be perfectly honest.)



Even though he is the leader, he does not seem particularly assertive, he gives very few orders.
However, I believe the real reason Cyclops is so ineffective in this movie is how little screentime he receives. You could argue that we do not know if he is actually a great leader filled with self-doubt, because he has very little character development. That is my main issue with Cyclops in the original X-Men, and I have the exact same problem with Storm. The difference is that Storm’s screen time and character development increases with each sequel, whereas Cyclops’ decreases.



In X-2: X-Men United, it feels like all of the X-Men get their fair share of screen time. Okay, perhaps Wolverine gets more than the rest of his teammates, but it no longer seems as though he is hogging the spotlight. The only exception is Cyclops, who has even less screen time than in the first film. In fact, his most significant moments in X-2 consist of him nearly killing his girlfriend, and then crying about her death.



His sorrow over Jean’s death is completely understandable, to show that level of grief and bitterness after the loss of a loved one is completely natural. But come on, is that really how we want to see this guy? Mourning and bitter? Is he destined to be remembered as nothing but Jean’s boyfriend?

The final insult was in X-Men: The Last Stand. As much as I hated Cyclops’ portrayal in the preceding movies, what they did to Cyclops was criminal. He died in the first half hour. He did not have a heroic death, he died while trying to kiss his girlfriend. I thought it was annoying when the only point of Scott’s character was to react to Jean’s death. You can imagine my annoyance when the only function he serves to the plot is to prove that the bad guy is dangerous.



Should you blame Bryan Singer for Cyclops miserable portrayal on film thus far? Perhaps, because although Singer did a great job with X-2, but he cannot direct Cyclops. He also directed Superman Returns, which had James Marsden in a major role. Scheduling conflicts are the reason Scott has such a reduced role in X-Men: The Last Stand. Not only did SInger direct the first two movies that ruined Cyclops, he is partially responsible for Cyclops horrible off-screen death.



You could argue that the writing is to blame. David Hayter, who wrote the screenplay for the original film, was also co-writer on the sequel. Perhaps he is responsible for the problems with Scott Summers. However, even though he did not write the screenplay, Bryan Singer is given partial credit for writing both films. As for Cyclops’ death, if Singer had not recruited Marsden in Superman Returns, he would not have died in that movie. Admittedly, it might be somewhat unfair to blame Singer for something that happened in a movie he did not work on.



Instead, you should blame Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, who actually wrote the screenplay for X-Men: The Last Stand. I have heard that in the original screenplay, Cyclops was a major character, and played a much bigger part in the Dark Phoenix storyline. However, I really doubt this is true. Since I have not read this screenplay, the only evidence I have is what actually happens in the movie. The truth is, Scott’s death was just a lazy way to dispose of a terrible character. Why did the writers not just have Cyclops be incapacitated after his encounter with Dark Phoenix, and then revived at the end of the movie? That is still a terrible thing to do to one of the founding members of the X-Men, and is comparable to what happened to Rogue, but it is certainly better than making him a red shirt.

If you were wondering how this relates to X-Men: Days of Future Past, all you have to do is look at the director and writer of the upcoming film. Bryan Singer is directing, and Simon Kinberg is writing the screenplay. The same director who ruined Cyclops in the first two movies is returning, as is the writer who unceremoniously killed him off. Does that really sound like an environment where Cyclops can thrive?

Do me a favor and ignore the director and writer for a moment, and focus on the huge cast of characters. There are at least 20 characters in this movie, from two different timelines. There are twelve X-Men in the future (if you count Magneto and Professor X as X-Men), and from what we have heard, this movie will mainly focus on the past, with only 30% of the film taking place in the future. I thought part of the reason Cyclops received so little screentime in the previous movies was to make room for the many, many other characters. Can you imagine how little screentime he would receive if he was forced to share the screen with twelve other characters, and less than half of the film takes place in the timeline where he is present?



The bottom line is that Cyclops already died in X-Men: The Last Stand, and as much as I hate that as a creative decision, I think it would be best to leave him that way.

Like many X-Men fans, I would like to see a reboot to the X-Men franchise in the not so distant future, preferably by Marvel Studios. Hopefully, this reboot will be far more faithful to the comics. Going along with this fantasy, Cyclops will be a major character, and he will be far more like the person he was in the source material. This is the version of the character that I am waiting, hoping, and praying for. Any appearance by Cyclops in X-Men: Days of Future Past will be nothing but a dim, pathetic shadow of my dream version of the character.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!
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25 Comments
OpticBlastWins - 3/20/2014, 8:54 AM
Cyclops is not pleased... Did you see him die. Maybe Jean teleported his ass to another dimension
Doopie - 3/20/2014, 9:05 AM
i don't think he was too bad in the first two and the only person to blame for Marsden not being in X3 more is Marsden. if he didn't sign on to Superman Returns then I'm sure the 'writers' would have put him in the 'script' more.

but what if DOFP rewrites the timeline somehow and everything starts again with the original x-men under prof x? would you not like to see him in that circumstance?
RobGrizzly - 3/20/2014, 9:15 AM
I like this article. While I wouldn't say he was "bad" per se in the X-Movies, I can't deny that they waste his character time and again. I'm with you on that all the way.

But I don't think that's a reason to not want to see him come back. I'm a simple dude. If I love em, I wanna see em. Especially if it means un-doing anything about X3, lol

Which brings me to a theory- I think DOFP is saving Cyc as a surprise. With all the course-correcting the story involves, and the nostalgia of seeing the old gang back again (and the fan peer pressure), I wouldn't put it past them to find a way to bring him back as a big reveal for the audience.
GliderMan - 3/20/2014, 10:08 AM
More pessimists complaining. Next.
SauronsBANE - 3/20/2014, 10:10 AM
Good article! I don't fully agree with everything here, but I do respect not wanting to bring back Cyclops when he's already been killed off. Wanting to constantly resurrect and bring back old characters smacks of typical fanboy wishy-washiness. But there's a certain amount of maturity here in wanting the character to just stay dead, as the damage has already been done and anything else would just make it worse. I respect that!

But I do have a feeling they're going to bring back Cyclops and a few other major X-Men players, if not in Days of Future Past, then in Apocalypse. Having First Class be a total reboot would've been preferable, but now that that is being tied into the original timeline in DofP, we're probably not getting a total reboot for a long time.
MexicanChinman - 3/20/2014, 10:38 AM
Well Cyclops wasn't in the Days of Futures Past storyline anyways. Bryan Singer said his biggest mistake he did to the X-Men films was how he treated Cyclops. I believe Cyclops will return in X-Men Apocalypse as teen or in his early 20s because Singer said in a recent interview that we will see old mutants return in a new way. I'm sure Singer will make him a better character than he was in the previous films. Also, Joss Wedon wrote the frist X-Men's screenplay as well, with the infamous Storm line being his idea.
GuardianDevil - 3/20/2014, 11:07 AM
First off great write-up! ;)

Secondly, I agree that he should not appear in Days of Future Past but it's not for the same reason. The film already sounds like it's going to be mega overcrowded, I'm not bashing just stating the facts. Throwing in Cyclops would only hurt the film...

Now I also agree that Cyclops has been mistreated in the X-Men films. I mean just look at the best X-Men team movie X2, every X-Man has a major arc and a character study EXCEPT Cyclops. Now I don't think I'd say he was "portrayed poorly" as Marsden did an excellent job with what he was given, but more or less underutilized to tell the truth. I mean literally the only flaw IMHO with the film X2 is lack of Cyclops...he has his opening scene with Jean, scene where he exchanges like two words with Logan, fights Lady Deathstrike, then disappears until the very end when he tries to kill Jean. Every scene with him in it is GREAT, but there just aren't that many. That in my opinion is Singer and Fox's greatest sin: Mistreatment of Cyclops.


Now I've also heard some say it doesn't matter because Cyclops is boring. Be that as it may (in their opinion) he's still a major player on the X-Men. I mean I think Wonder Woman is boring but I still wouldn't want a JL movie without her...right?
brazilianbatman - 3/20/2014, 11:44 AM
X-Men :Age of Apocalipse would be the perfect time to re-introduce Cyclops back. The movie will be in the 80s so Cyclopes should be on his late teens or early twenties.

brazilianbatman - 3/20/2014, 11:55 AM
i think everything you said is right except for the reboot part. I DONT think they will make a complete reboot but they might reset the events from the triology with time travel elements and make the next series be a start just like the first xmen was back in 2000. We kinda had the the pre-xmen in first class, days of future past seems to be the link between the two franchises and Age OF Appocalipse might be the "end" for x-men triology characters and a begin of the beginning that was started in first class .
GliderMan - 3/20/2014, 12:14 PM
I loved Cyclops in all three movies. Absolutely loved him. It was the ultimate portrayal.

*laughs evily*
dethpillow - 3/20/2014, 1:03 PM
you know, i really like your article, and i am glad to wonder about who to blame for this. becuz up till now, i have had no recourse but to blame everyone.
and sometimes i feel that's just not fair. sometimes people don't even know who Cyclops is and they are feeling my hostility about it. so we have to narrow the net.

but aside from that, i think you are treading on dangerous territory. cuz once we admit that it's secretly better not to have them do more bad things with Cyclops, well where do we stop?

truly we are sliding down the slippery slope at that point.

When i heard that Rogue was having scenes cut, at first I thought...."that sucks, i love Rogue." but then next I thought, "I love Rogue, i want them to keep their hands off Rogue as much as possible. good then."

and that's what happened but X1000 when i read that Storm was getting many scenes cut. i was overjoyed. Halle Berry as Storm has always been one of the most disgusting things i've ever had to live thru, in my entire life.

so where do we stop? truly, we might end up with an X-Men movie that features no X-Men if we all got our way. so be careful what you wish for. and all that glitters isn't gold.
and there are two paths, you can go by, but in the long run... there's still time to change the road you're on.
dethpillow - 3/20/2014, 1:08 PM
@RobGrizzly - i actually think that you're totally right. and if they do some kind of Scott Jean wedding at the end to show the corrected timeline and give a happy ending to those two...

well, i gotta admit, i would be all for it, and all sins forgiven, all water under the bridge at that point. i'm choking up just thinking about it now. Marsden was actually seen on a flight i think with Berry to whatever city they were filming in. at that time. so there's a good chance that Marsden is in this, unless he just flew out there for his own reasons or just to visit, which of course is possible too. but i think we'll get what you're talking about, that would really go a long ways just to maudlin horse a better reaction out of people like me for the movie.
dethpillow - 3/20/2014, 1:12 PM
my god, now after this is over, just give us some [frick]ing great X-Men movies, Fox.

like real X-Men movies, and i'm not talking about costumes or original five or anything like that now.

just make it real X-Men, make it feel like the X-Men, make it as big of a mess as the X-Men and do it for real. your one big chance, 20th century fox.

once the road lay open like a girl....