So, Bryan Singer has officially confirmed that the X-Men: First Class sequel will be titled X-Men: Days of Future Past, to be released in 2014. Now, obviously it would be irresponsible for me to wildly speculate about a film that isn’t even in principal photography yet, whose script isn’t even finalized yet, so I’m not going to do that.
… yeah, okay, clearly that’s exactly what I’m going to do. You already knew that, right? Good. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, “Days of Future Past” was one of the most popular storylines in the original run of Marvel’s The Uncanny X-Men. It was also adapted as a fan-favorite arc in the X-Men animated series. In both versions, someone (an older Kitty Pryde in the comics, Bishop in the animated series) comes back in time from a dystopian future in which the world is ruled by mechanized Sentinels and mutants have largely been either exterminated or imprisoned. In both cases, the tipping point is the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly, which sets off anti-mutant hysteria.
I am really excited to see what direction this project goes in, but I do have some pretty serious reservations even at this stage about the many things that could go wrong. The most immediately apparently concern I have is that X-Men: First Class already blatantly contradicted the previous films in the series, so what we’re essentially doing here is adding time travel to a film universe whose timeline is already royally messed up. (What could possibly go wrong?)
Another obstacle I see here comes from the biggest non-continuity-related flaw with X-Men: First Class: it was an absolute mess of characters, many of whom barely spoke a line. And it seems like a lot of characters are “missing” from the current cast to make this storyline really work.
On the other hand, imagine if they brought back Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen. Or both. Or other members of the original films. It would be really amazing to see them tie the movie universe together like that (existing continuity errors notwithstanding.) One of the most amazing things about First Class was the way Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were able to step into Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart’s shoes. Now that that’s worked so brilliantly, imagine having all four of them (or some combination thereof) on the screen at the same time. Maybe that isn’t the direction Singer and Vaughn want to go, but the possibility exists!
I actually love the fact that Singer is taking this risk, invoking this fan-favorite storyline. I obviously have some concerns, but I also have a lot of faith in this creative team, especially starting at the top with producer Bryan Singer. (To this day I wonder about “what could’ve been” with his version of Phoenix rather than Brett Ratner’s.) So while I am concerned about all the things this film could do wrong, there’s really no reason not to think just as much about how many things this film could do right.