Alright X-Men fans. I think it’s officially time to get excited.
In an interview with IGN (via The Playlist), producer Bryan Singer has confirmed that the sequel to 2011’s X-Men: First Class will be titled Days Of Future Past, indicating the film will be based on one of the most celebrated comic-book stories in X-Men history.
The two-issue comic from 1981, by Chris Claremont and Jon Byrne (also responsible for The Dark Phoenix Saga), tells its story in the present and the future, as a future version of Kitty Pride telepathically visits the past to warn her teammates of dark upcoming events. In the present, the X-Men battle the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, while the dark future is caused by the Brotherhood’s assassination of Senator Robert Kelly.
How exactly this will work in the First Class continuity remains to be seen. There is no Kitty Pride in Matthew Vaughn’s film, but with a slight shift in story mechanics, they could just send the Ellen Page version of Kitty – a highlight of the otherwise tepid X-Men: The Last Stand – back in time without worrying about telepathy. It could be a neat way to link Vaughn’s films to the original trilogy, and in the interview Singer promises more “connectivity” between X-Men films in the new movie. Might they also mention Senator Kelly’s death from the first Singer film, perhaps?
If that’s the route they’re going – connecting the new films with the old – all sorts of new opportunities arise. They could bring back original cast members, like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, to play Professor Xavier and Magneto in the future, while James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender reprise their roles in the present. Rebecca Romjin could return as Mystique in the future, in contrast to Jennifer Lawrence in the past. They could even use the time travel opportunity to rectify several glaring continuity errors between First Class and the other films.
In any case, it’s an ambitious story to tackle, and the sky appears to be the limit. I really enjoyed First Class, and believe Matthew Vaughn is the perfect director for this material. Choosing Days of Future Past as the sequel is a bold move, one that proves Vaughn and company aren’t willing to rest on their laurels. Whether it succeeds or fails, banking on a story with such major possibilities proves they plan to move these characters and their universe forward, and for that, I applaud them.
X-Men: Days of Future Past begins filming early next year, and arrives in theatres July 18th, 2014. It can’t come soon enough.