Director: Bryan Singer
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
X-Men: Days of Future Past is an upcoming 2014 American superhero film, based on the fictional X-Men characters appearing in Marvel Comics and on the 1981 Uncanny X-Men storyline “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
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 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.
- Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were performing in a touring production of “Waiting for Godot” when Bryan Singer approached the actors about reprising their respective roles as Professor X and Magneto. According to McKellen, both men were utterly shocked as they thought they’d passed their roles on to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and would never play the characters again. Both Stewart and McKellen were delighted to return to two of their most popular roles, and to work with the younger actors playing the same characters as well.
- The addition of Evan Peters as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver to the cast sparked wide discussion over the direction of the character who is also slated to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Quicksilver had been discussed previously as a potential character in both X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and The Avengers (2012), but legal complexities over the license to the character resulted in his omission from both films. However, in May 2013 both Marvel and Fox Studios announced a resolution to the previous legal issues, and that Quicksilver would appear in this film as well as an Avengers sequel, though under certain parameters: no reference to Quicksilver’s membership in the Avengers can be made in an “X-Men” film, and no allusion to his relations to the X-Men or Magneto (the character’s father) can be made in an “Avengers” film; the rights agreement between Fox and Marvel even goes so far as to stipulate the character cannot be referred to as a “mutant” in any Marvel film. Additionally, the day after the announcement of Peters’s casting, Marvel and Fox entered into a legal standoff over provisions of the rights agreement for the character, including the issue of whether Peters would be allowed to portray Quicksilver in any other film outside the “X-Men” franchise, possibly necessitating a second actor to play Quicksilver in any Marvel film, resulting in two different versions of the same character appearing in two competing film series. Ultimately, Fox and Marvel decided to cast different actors in the part for the “X-Men” and “Avengers” films, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson taking on the role in the latter sequel, thus preventing any connection between the two franchises and keeping the X-Men confined to a separate universe from those of the Marvel cinematic universe.
- Bryan Singer filmed the mutant Quicksilver’s scenes in a special format of 3600 frames per second. This was done to showcase Quicksilver’s speed ability: 3600 fps is 150 times slower than normal film (which is at 24 fps), so Quicksilver will be seen moving to 150 times as fast as normal.
- Including his cameo in X-Men: First Class (2011), this will be Hugh Jackman’s seventh portrayal of Logan/Wolverine, raising his own record for the most times a comic book character has been played by the same actor in theatrical films. He will also be the only actor to appear in the entire X-Men film series.
- When Matthew Vaughn was going to direct, he was going to make the film a direct sequel to X-Men: First Class (2011) and have it set in the 1970s. Early ideas included an opening with the Kennedy assassination being caused by Magneto, and mutant encounters set in the Civil rights movement/the Vietnam War. When Singer took over, he integrated these concepts into a viral marketing campaign to set up the action of the film. In this alternate history, Magento is arrested and imprisoned for the assassination of Kennedy, but maintains his innocence. The “Bent Bullet” Theory (a reference to the real life “Magic Bullet” Theory criticized by conspiracy theorists) holds that the Warren Commission determined that Magento manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullets to kill the President in retribution for the murder of the mutants Azazel and Tempest (played by Jason Flemyng and Álex González in X-Men: First Class (2011) respectively) by the CIA. Conspiracy theorists, based on Magneto’s testimony, insist however that Magneto had tried to prevent the murder of Kennedy, and that the true shooter was not Oswald, but Mystique in disguise who, with the help of Emma Frost (played by January Jones in “First Class”) framed Magneto, and manipulated Jack Ruby into later murdering Oswald. The theory also posits that Mystique offered to double as Kennedy in an attempt to grab power, all of which backfired horribly, leading to anti-mutant hostilities.
- The original ‘Days of Future past’ comic mentioned time travel from the year 2013, the same year in which filming began.
- The filmmakers selected the “Days of Future Past” storyline because it would allow the filmmakers to reconcile any continuity dissonances within the “X-Men” film series. The time-travel element also allowed actors from the original film series and the intended reboot that was X-Men: First Class (2011) to appear in the same film together.
- Anna Paquin filmed scenes as Rogue and, though heavily featured in the trailers and advertising, her scenes were cut from the final film for pacing reasons. Bryan Singer later announced they her sequence will appear on the DVD.
- The release of the teaser trailer for this film ignited such interest, director Bryan Singer made the unprecedented move of recording an actual commentary track to it the following day, explaining the significance of certain scenes and offering more insight into what to expect from the film.
- This is the sixth time that Patrick Stewart has appeared in an X-Men film; Stewart had made an uncredited appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), and appeared in The Wolverine (2013)’s credits scene.
- According to Bryan Singer, he had a two-hour discussion with James Cameron, director of the time-travel films The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), about how to make the time-travel concept feasible and workable within the film. The concepts the two discussed included alternate universes and string theory (a field of quantum physics that define multiple universes).
- Shooting went on under the working title “Hello Kitty.” This refers to X-Men member Kitty Pryde.
- According to Bryan Singer, he could only get the film started with confidence once Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen agreed to return.
- The four main female X-Men in the principal cast (Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, and Anna Paquin) are all Academy Award nominees. The six principle male cast members(Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Peter Dinklage) are all Golden Globe nominees (Jackman, Fassbender and McKellen are also Academy Award nominees).
- Kelsey Grammer was going to return as the elder Beast, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts with Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014).
- A scene that was cut from X-Men: First Class (2011) where Xavier mentally controls a man to believe Magneto is a transvestite, appears in this film.
- According to Peter Dinklage, Bryan Singer picked him to play Boliver Trask because of his height: “With my dwarfism, I’m a bit of a mutant. I can’t move metal or anything, but I thought of it as self-loathing. Deep down, Trask is quite sensitive about that aspect of himself.”
- For her role as Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence wore a special bodysuit. She had previously worn full-body prosthetics in X-Men: First Class (2011) but found that too uncomfortable.
- A life-size model of a 1973 Sentinel robot was constructed for filming.
- Alan Cumming declined to reprise his role as Nightcrawler from X-Men 2 (2003) due to the heavy make-up demands for the character.
- John Myhre hid X-symbols in the sets he designed for the film.
- Jason Flemyng was originally set to reprise his role as Azazel when Matthew Vaughn was still set to direct. When Vaughn left, the storyline was dropped in favor of the time travel/crossover storyline, and Azazel’s role cut from the script to accommodate characters from the original “X-Men” film series.
- Bryan Singer and Peter Dinklage describe Boliver Trask as a peace-lover: “He feels that humanity will go on fighting each other, unless they can find a common element to unite against; he sees the advent of the mutants as a way to unite people. He sees what he’s doing as a good thing – his ambition is definitely blind. He’s strove all his life for a certain respect and attention.”
- Bryan Singer based Boliver Trask on Adolf Hitler: “As Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat to bond the darker parts of Europe, he’s doing the same thing with mutants. But he wasn’t a six foot, perfect blond Aryan – he was a short, funny looking fellow!”
- Peters described Quicksilver as someone who “talks quick, moves quick. Everything else is very slow compared to him, it’s like he’s always at the ATM waiting for the dude in front of him to finish.”
- Chris Claremont, the writer of the original ‘Days of Future Past’ comic, was brought on as a consultant.
- Matthew Vaughn, who directed X-Men: First Class (2011), was supposed to return to direct this movie but he decided to decline. Bryan Singer, the director of the first two X-Men films and a producer, was hired to direct.
- This is the fourth adaptation of Chris Claremont’s “Days of Future Past” comic. It had previously been adapted for X-Men (1992) (a literal adaptation), Wolverine and the X-Men (2008) and The Super Hero Squad Show (2009).
- Production designer John Myhre described the future Sentinels as having evolved from machines into biomechanical weapons: “They are almost made up of magnetic plates slapped over one another, imagining that the plates could contract or grow, so the Sentinel can be skinny to get through a small space or the plates can open up to become a bigger shape. They have become virtually unstoppable – the ultimate version that can actually, in principle, stop the X-Men.”
- Bryan Singer is a big fan of Peter Dinklage and his show Game of Thrones (2011). Dinklage’s role of Tyrion Lannister inspired Singer to cast Dinklage as Trask.
- According to Simon Kinberg, this film is influenced by the time-travel films The Time Machine (1960), The Terminator (1984), Back to the Future (1985) and Looper (2012).
- Originally Josh Helman was going to be cast as a young Cain Marko/Juggernaut. But Juggernaut was written out of the film, and Helman was offered the role of a young William Styker.
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