Very late Sunday Supervillainy – X-Men Days of Future Past movie
Word is that the next X-Men movie will be based on the popular Days of Future Past storyline from 1981, when Chris Claremont was scriptwriter for the series and stretching many boundaries. The idea is that the future assassination of an anti-mutant politician leads (speaking tenselessly) to a ruthless crack-down on mutants, and a dystopian society dominated by mutant-hunting Sentinel robots. The task for the present-day X-Men, who have been contacted from the future, is to prevent all this occurring. It’s a very familiar time-travel plot, written during an era when such plots, and their variations, were popular. The idea now sounds almost hackneyed (think of the Terminator franchise among many others), but Days of Future Past was generally considered well handled, and is now recalled as one of the classic X-Men storylines.
Thus we have a time-travel narrative with older and younger characters involved. Hmmm, this fits the bill nicely for the X-Men movie franchise, which has three movies set in the twenty-first century and one (critically well-received but less commercially successful) prequel set in the 1960s. It allows the studio to use older actors (Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart) as well as younger ones (Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy) in the same movie, playing the same characters at different points in their lives. Since Wolverine’s powers include resistance to aging, Hugh Jackman can play him in both eras. Other successful actors from the earlier movies can be brought back, such as Anna Paquin to play Rogue.
This would also allow a reboot of the franchise if the studio so desired. Once time-travel is involved, you can play with it in all sorts of ways, hiving off entire realities if you need to for the sake of a franchise’s ongoing settings.
Surely McKellen and Stewart can’t go on making X-Men movies forever, but their gravitas might come in very handy for one more round. Their splendid, dignified performances – as Magneto and Professor X respectively – were largely responsible for the success of the franchise, launching it at a level far beyond expectations and leading to the last decade-and-a-bit of blockbuster superhero cinema. Fassbender and McAvoy also put in excellent performances as younger versions of these characters in X-Men: First Class, but maybe it will take a bit more to wean the public over to them.
In any event, I’m intrigued to see how the studio will handle the time-travel narrative, how the older and younger X-characters will be shown interacting, and what it might all mean for the franchise’s own future.
H/T Al Stefanelli.