EXCLUSIVE: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Concept Art By Stéphane Levallois

We have exclusive X-Men: Days of Future Past concept art and an interview with conceptual illustrator, Stéphane Levallois ("Guardians of the Galaxy"). Check it out!

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By nailbiter111 - 6/21/2014
Stéphane Levallois has been working as a concept artist at the London-based MPC (Moving Picture Company) for the past two and a half years. He has worked on over 26 blockbusters and for the creation studio then run by visual effects art director, Virginie Bourdin. Specifically, he designed concept art for: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & Part 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Man of Steel, Edge of Tomorrow, Prometheus and Guardians of the Galaxy.


CBM: What was it like working on X-Men: Days of Future Past?

Stéphane Levallois: This was exciting and challenging work to do. I'm also a director of commercials and short films so I came forward with ideas to storyboard scenes - combat scenes most of the time.


CBM: What was most challenging?
 
Stéphane Levallois: The most challenging work I did was to having to come up with some innovative designs for the Sentinels.


CBM: What did you enjoy the most about the project?

Stéphane Levallois: The formidable energy Virginie Bourdin put into the film greatly stimulated my creativity. She would push me into new and unexpected directions and  spur me to draw more dynamic images. For example: rotors had to be placed back into the Sentinels of the future to link them with those of the past. I then suggested that small metal shell rotors be placed on the sides and the backs of the Sentinels.

It is very important to bear in mind that working for studios means working as a team. You need to come up with a good idea to help get things going further. I express myself through traditional drawing and it always is a great satisfaction to see sketches I make turned into 3D images. Then I used Photoshop to touch up the proportions of the 3D-modeling work that had been done based on my drawings.

In order to work for the studios on all these great movies, you need to be creative, fast, respondent and humble. I have been designing video games and directing commercials for over ten years now and I guess this has taught me a lot


CBM: Could you tell us about that storyboard involving Wolverine and the Sentinel?

Stéphane Levallois: I first developed the idea that sentinels can regenerate thanks to moving scales. I had not read the script and, just to give it a try, I storyboarded the scene in which Wolverine tears up a sentinel that would form itself back together again at once.

I grew up with X-Men. I remember that as a small kid I  used to ‘look’, I could not read yet, the STRANGE comics that had just been released in France. I had a lot of fun drawing Wolverine. He is one of my favorite superheroes, along with Diablo. I actually sketched him on one of the first drawings I did - I couldn't help it.


CBM: What source material did you use for the Sentinel designs?

Stéphane Levallois: I did not use much source material actually. I immersed myself in the early comic designs. I found a beautiful cover by Travis Charest, but it mostly came down to using my imagination. Sentinels were supposed to be very powerful and far bigger than regular human beings. They needed to have the ability to drill through very thick ice walls with arms with the ability to drill. They were also regenerative and have to have an military look.

Designing artwork is a slow and demanding process. Great care was given to it at every stage in the development of X-Men: Days of Future Past. I think that's what makes the designs so original and powerful.


CBM: Anything you'd like to add?

Stéphane Levallois: I would like to pay tribute to Virginie Bourdin. She has such a keen eye for image composition. I'd also like to thank Ravi Bansal for his support, and Richard Stammers who runs the special effects department at MPC to the highest level of excellence.
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past will be directed by Bryan Singer ("Usual Suspects"). The cast includes: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Daniel Cudmore, Booboo Stewart, Omar Sy, Fan Bingbing, Evan Jonigkeit, Adan Canto and Josh Helman. X-Men: Days Of Future Past is now playing at your local theater.
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SKetCH - 6/22/2014, 12:04 AM
Those are pretty cool.
Humperdink - 6/22/2014, 12:23 AM
Tight!
Humperdink - 6/22/2014, 12:25 AM
It would have been cool if that was X-23 and she was supposed to be in the future scenes.
Amazing512 - 6/22/2014, 12:25 AM
I didn't like the sentinels' design in the film for the most part.
Jollem - 6/22/2014, 12:26 AM
oh, man. that looks like nightcrawler in the first one :(

nice work. good interview
Alien - 6/22/2014, 12:36 AM
better?


#sheesh
Jollem - 6/22/2014, 12:37 AM
Jollem - 6/22/2014, 12:37 AM


Humperdink - 6/22/2014, 12:39 AM
...still don't understand how Mystique's powers lead to the development of the future sentinels. There are plenty of mutants they could've woven into the story that actually use other mutants powers...and still made JLaw the star.


I was a little put off by this BUT there is an explanation for it.

First, the Sentinels didn't absorb/steal mutant abilities they merely adapted to them like Nimrod in the comics did and to do that they used the ability that Mystique utilizes. They altered their physical characteristics.

Now being that they are synthetic lifeforms they could do it one better. They could produce materials to back up those changes.

For example:

Mystique can make herself look like Colossus by altering her appearance to mimic him. She doesn't have his strength or metallic coating it is merely cosmetic in nature.

The Sentinels could alter their physical appearance to match the metallic nature of Colossus' mutation AND because they were synthetic, they had the materials to produce the actual metals and density. Essentially matching or exceeding him.

If Mystique could alter her physical appearance to look like Ice Man (in ice form) and have the materials to make herself actually be icy in nature, she would be as formidable as the Sentinels.

Basically they stole her appearance altering ability which could be used in a variety of ways in the field, gave it to the sentinels, and gave them the materials to make those alterations not merely cosmetic in nature to a certain extent.
Humperdink - 6/22/2014, 12:41 AM
@Jollem

Those are nice, man!
NitPicker - 6/22/2014, 12:43 AM
@Humperdink

Your No-Prize is in the mail.
Jollem - 6/22/2014, 12:46 AM
@Humperdink - stephane's. i liked 'em, too :)
Humperdink - 6/22/2014, 12:52 AM
@Jollem

Yeah I thought it was his because of the signature. Nice stuff.

@Nitpicker

I'll be waiting...to be honest I was a little put off about the early rumors of the Sentinels abilities at first until I saw that they didn't steal mutant powers but merely adapted to them.

Otherwise they could steal Blinks' or Future-Kittys' and that would be 'game over, man'!

The writers over-powered them without REALLY overpowering them. Thankfully or it would have been a very short movie.
TheSoulEater - 6/22/2014, 12:53 AM
Looks like Shadow of the Colossus
jimoakley666 - 6/22/2014, 1:18 AM
The way I understood it, they looked oat how Mystique's cells worked and replicated a mechanical / nano-tech version of that in the same way scientists are currently replicating the microscopic hairs on insect's feet to create new sticking tapes and polymers etc.
Humperdink - 6/22/2014, 1:41 AM
You understood it correctly.
JoJo1982 - 6/22/2014, 2:05 AM
One of the best movies this summer

http://youtu.be/Cn0dK1DqO0o
NitPicker - 6/22/2014, 2:15 AM
@Humperdink

But I don't see why it's so important for the Sentinels to look like the powers that they are using. Shouldn't they be able to make alterations without mimicking Mystiques powers. It seems like mimicking Mystique shouldn't be necessary.
Newbus - 6/22/2014, 2:54 AM
Oh dear Wolverine is wearing a yellow Spandex suit. That's clearly unrealistic.
staypuffed - 6/22/2014, 4:19 AM
I'm going to clear up the reason the Future Sentinels can adapt powers to take down mutants.
The deleted sub-plot with Rogue explained that she was being experimented on and that was used to give the Sentinels the edge. As her scene(s) was cut, so too that detail. So the entire reason for Sentinels being able to take on the mutants with powers is handed Mystique, which creates a little plot hole.
I'm not sure exactly where I read it, but I know Simon Kinberg confirmed it.
newhire13 - 6/22/2014, 5:30 AM
The changing powers of the future Sentinels stem from their ability to transform, which was first weaponized from Mystique after they captured her. Her abilities (and actions) pretty much gave the government the push that they needed to develop the Sentinels in better ways. They were obviously using other mutants as samples as well (judging by the autopsy pictures we saw) but their main ability, the one that really [frick]ed the X-Men over, was the fact that they can change forms, which was back engineered and developed to fit their needs via Mystique. They took her power and improved it.
marvel72 - 6/22/2014, 5:30 AM
that set of three images show the sentinels with purple bits of armour,i like that design,more comic book accurate & better looking than the ones we got in the movie.
dethpillow - 6/22/2014, 5:56 AM
well that's some nice concept art, right on....

love the stuff that Jollem posted, for the Hulk... great stuff.

@Humperdink - i think the thing underneath it, if u think too much about it, which we really shouldn't do... but any kind of disconnect about the future Sentinels, it really starts with 'why are they humanoid at all?'

and that's just a no fun question. it's obvious for dramatic and comic book reasons why a human looking thing is better as an enemy like that. but anyone arguing the actual reality of why it was like this or that, at some point it's gonna come down to that.

i've always liked thinking with things like the comic book Sentinels from the 80s, that they were humanoid becuz the people making them were dependent on stealing nature's technology for stuff. dumb way to say it, but i mean like how now scientists are figuring out how to take insects that fly and put radio transmitters on them. and these insect bodies are already hardwired to do certain things like take off and land instinctually. so the scientists only have to figure out how best to send an impulse that says land or take off. and the body takes care of how to do that.

So old Sentinels i would imagine something like that going on, not that they stole bodies from people but they just learned how to duplicate that and couldn't ever make anything that beat the central nervous system of a human being.

But I guess i'm saying all that becuz it's possible to see what they did with Mystique as being like the same kind of deal but on a way more microscoped level. kinda like Boba Fett and the Stormtroopers I guess in a dumb way. but yeah.

i just don't think it adds much whether it 'makes sense' or not. if u like it, then making sense is just frosting, but if u don't like it, making sense doesn't make u like it. i dig the New Sentinels so it's fun to think about them, but i just mean as a concept in general with a lot of things.
dethpillow - 6/22/2014, 6:09 AM
@Nitpicker - well i think the idea is tho, is that them looking like whatever effect they were taking on is better seen as a side effect. that they were only able to change becuz of Mystique's power, which involves looking like other things. but their own physical makeup allowed them then to also take on those abilities.

kinda like if i make a mad face, i can often feel like i'm mad, just from making the face. or maybe the other way around, but some kind of relationship between feeling mad and looking mad, u know?
dethpillow - 6/22/2014, 6:15 AM
in the future, too, scientists will be totally just stealing shit whole hock from nature. why build a computer to do something that's already been done, research, development everything, and tested out in the field for millions of years?


instinct is weird. and i don't think scientists have any idea how it works really. just that concept... instinct. what the hell does that mean? how do we "know" how to digest food? and it's not a thing that they have any idea where this 'knowledge' is located at. it's almost like how little they understand memory. people right now have absolutely no idea how memory works. they don't even know what magnetism actually 'is'. so if someone has got this figured out, and they don't know what a court is to sue you in, just grab it. and that's totally what they are doing, all over the place. it's crazy.
dethpillow - 6/22/2014, 6:28 AM
and we're thinking, ok that's cool. like right now, they can take a dead eel's brain, put it in electrically conducive jelly and use it as a simple switch to tell a motorized car whether it should go forward or backwards, depending on the presence of light.

seriously. this is true right now.

that is crazy. we know how to do that now, to use a dead brain as an on/off switch. but that's nothing, wait til they start figuring out how plants work. that's gonna be stuff that you're not even gonna want to hear about how your plumbing works anymore, cuz it's gonna be so creepy. and they inevitably, i think, they're gonna find out more and more stuff is 'alive' than we like to possibly think might be true. it'll be gradual for sure, but aliens and demons are the last thing we ever need to worry about i think. plenty of shit right here to worry about without that. aliens are gonna be like a romantic memory of how simple things used to be. they should just quit looking right now i think.
Carl - 6/22/2014, 6:32 AM
not as good as most of you think.
TheRationalNerd - 6/22/2014, 6:48 AM
(spoilers)





When Wolverine was drowning after Mags flung him that would've been the perfect time to bring him back just as the future Sentinel war was going on and we still could've seen him duke it out with a Future Sentinel and then just as he's getting blasted away just like how he did in the comics you can have the entire scene translate to the "fixed" future.




(end spoilers)
DrunkenNukem - 6/22/2014, 6:55 AM
nice concept
dethpillow - 6/22/2014, 6:56 AM
i think the thing bugs me more about Mystique, and i'm talking about the comic books in the first place... is how come she has to look like a person?

she makes up anything new to look like. does she ever even make up a messed up face of her own to be? or why can't she look like a panda bear or a microphone head, or just nothing?

It's kind of a problem with X-Men powers in general sometimes. Like they'll have kids who can tell cars what to do. That just makes no sense in such a bad way...Because they will say it's that they have the ability to talk to technology. and obviously, what does that possibly mean? what is technology? why would evolution have any concept of technology? this stuff makes no sense when you think about evolution at all.

Mystiques powers are more like a curse than any kind of scientific thing. It's like she was cursed by a wicked witch. And then she makes perfect sense. But when you start to take her apart and pretend that she has to have ridges and spiky little Alien/Predator things all over her, then it just draws attention to how little sense she makes. if she can turn herself into a dwarf, well why not turn herself into a baby and just sit there and creep everyone out who's trying to catch her? or how about a mouse or a cat? how little or big can she be?
how come she never uses this in fights? if she can make herself be a dwarf, then cant she make her hands be really tiny and get out of handcuffs and stuff like that?


and I'm personally not complaining about this kind of stuff. I don't have any problem with comic book fairy tale logic, which is really what comic book logic is. But I think that's really the problem with treating this stuff like science. if you are doing a magic act, you don't keep drawing the audiences attention to all your weakest points, you're supposed to be deflecting attention from those.

and i don't mean Fox, but I mean this whole thing that people think is good now to do this kind of stuff. it's the opposite of good going on with that. i wish science would be left out of X-Men, you can just sit there all day and be like.. but this doesn't make any sense, neither does this...

and it's all for just so someone can be like... well this is sciencey, look at this! it's not about that, it's about the characters, really. who cares about how sciencey things sound.
DrunkenNukem - 6/22/2014, 7:06 AM
I saw the film yesterday for the 2nd time....its a solid movie, the opening scene its brilliant one of the best along with Thor 1 and The Watchmen
dethpillow - 6/22/2014, 7:12 AM
and here's another thing, and it's pertinent too.

i was reading about this controversial book that someone had written in England in the 1800s. And it was about this low level girl of nobility who goes to this party, falls in love with some guy, but then that same night, the Duke asks her to marry him. And she says ok, that's a good proposition, i'll be your wife, and they marry and she keeps thinking about the man she's really in love with.

and then a bunch of nonsense junk happens, but the guy that she loves (who also loves her back) goes hunting and ends up in this Duke's property. and he's hunting and creeping around in the bushes i guess and he comes across this scene, of the girl, telling the Duke, her husband now, how she is actually in love with somebody else, and she can't stand this marriage anymore.

so the hunter guy that she's in love with, hears this all, and he thinks... she's in love with me. this is love. and that is exactly what she is thinking, actually.

but the reason this was controversial was becuz people thought it was silly how any woman would say that to her husband who is a Duke when she wasn't even having an affair with the man she was in love with.

ok? that's what they thought was weird. they were just as dismissive about the story as we are, and saying ... this story is clearly.. it's no good, why would she tell her husband that? that was the problem.

anyone now who would read that story would have a problem with all the coincidences in it. that would be our first issue with such a story. so it just so happens that this guy hunts on her duke husband's land and just so happens to be creeping around right when they are having this conversation out in the open.... people now would be like 'guffaw har har... yeah right. we all know that's ridiculous. we are a sophisticated audience. har har'


but people back then were actually more sophisticated in certain ways becuz they recognized the coincidence as being a contrivance. that's not what the story was about, it wasn't about how he found out that she really loved him, there stylizations in place that people just expected. and didn't think were awful.

and exactly the same thing happens today. Which doesn't mean that stories can't be bad, this was just pretty much a junk bad story, but it was an interesting example. but I think it's good to keep that in mind. cuz most of the time, who cares about whatever thing you're upset about? it's not what the stories about.
ThePowerCosmic - 6/22/2014, 7:17 AM
"I didn't not use much source material..."

No kidding! Great film but I will never love the design of most characters in this franchise. Magneto was the only design I really liked.
MightyZeus - 6/22/2014, 7:38 AM
The concept art looks amazing. I love sketches that are drawn like that and i love the designs of the sentinels.
FastFlames - 6/22/2014, 7:52 AM
That ice scene looks dope!
gambgel - 6/22/2014, 8:10 AM
wow, that last shot of Iceman and that HUGE icewall is epic
Jackraow21 - 6/22/2014, 8:16 AM
1) I wish we had gotten to see an adamantium-clawed Wolverine in the future fight one of those future Sentinels;

2) They should have kept Rogue in and said that the future Sentinels could physically adapt and change shape based on Mystique's DNA primarily (that was the base template) but then the ability to mimic powers came from Rogue later; and

3) They really should have used that ice wall scene! Coolness.
HannibalsChef - 6/22/2014, 8:39 AM
X-men dofp sentinel designs were lazy just like the whole cast costume design lazy unimaginative and not worthy of a cosplay rendition by any geek...slap leather and rebooted RoboCop armor on everything with accent colors of what they wore in a comic
MetropolisKid - 6/22/2014, 8:49 AM
the movie was very good people...stop writing memoirs about how it's could've been different. it's a movie of course it's not gonna be like the source. get over it...
aRandomSinisterClone - 6/22/2014, 9:05 AM
theres no reason they couldnt have kept the black N deep purple color.at least give the fans something.
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