One of the big questions that fans have about Bryan Singer’s upcoming return to the cinematic X-Men universe, X-Men: Days of Future Past, is will this new film mean a return of some of the characters that we lost in the Brett Ratner directed X-Men: Last Stand? Specifically Scott Summers/Cyclops and Jean Grey. In general, there has been speculation about the changes that Singer may want to make to the choices that were made in that film. The director has said that he will not be ignoring any of the previous films, but there is the possibility of an alternate universe present in the Days of Future Past storyline which creates all kinds of interesting possibilities.
We’re going to go into a brief plot description of the Days of Future Past comic for a moment, so if you don’t want to know, skip ahead.
For those who are unfamiliar, the X-Men: Days of Future Past comic introduces a dystopian alternative future where mutants have been captured and imprisoned in internment camps. Adult Kate Pryde transfers her consciousness into her younger self, Kitty Pryde, in order to warn the X-Men and get them to stop the event that triggers the rise of the anti-mutant movement. At the conclusion of the story, two timelines are formed, one where the dystopian future remains and one where the errors of the past are corrected. Given the unique/different nature of this film, in terms of the combination of the original X-Men cast with the First Class cast, we are assuming that the "future" will be the present day with the X-Men original cast and that Kitty Pryde will either physically travel back in time to the First Class time period, or send her consciousness into another persons body. Alternate timelines, and time travel in general, can be tricky for storytellers, but they also open the door to changing things that may have been previously established in canon.
End potential spoilers.
We were able to speak to Singer recently about his upcoming family film Jack the Giant Slayer. During our conversation, he revealed that Peter Dinklage’s X-Men: Days of Future Past character is in fact not CGI-based, as we revealed earlier. We also touched on some of the things he hopes to achieve with Days of Future Past, as well as a bit on the history of the franchise.
IGN: One thing that’s interesting about the alternate universe/timeline in Days of Future Past is that it could potentially give you the opportunity to revisit things that happened in the third film in terms of characters and endings that you might like to see changed.
Bryan Singer: You mean, what you’re politely saying is, “fix s**t.” Is that what you’re saying? That’s what I’m hearing. [Laughing]
IGN: [Laughing] Maybe…
Singer: There’s going to be a little of that, a few things I can repair.
IGN: Are fans going to be pleased with these things you will be repairing?
Singer: I think so, I think so, yes.
As far as X-Men: The Last Stand is concerned, Singer acknowledged that, “it’s a very difficult thing, jumping into someone else’s franchise,” saying, “Brett Ratner did it with mine and you’re held up to a standard, particularly if people really like what the originator did, you’re held up to a very tough standard jumping into someone else's franchise.”
IGN: Do you have regrets about what Brett Ratner did with Last Stand?
Singer: It would have been nice to have done the third one, but I really wanted to have the Superman [Returns] experience. And I’ve never really talked about it before, but there were negotiating issues that were there. I didn’t fully have X-Men 3 in my mind and I had this take on Superman and suddenly that was easy. That was an easier deal, it took three days and we were ready to go. So I made that move and it pissed off certain people – we’re all good now. But you know, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up with X-Men: First Class and where I’m sitting today making this epic combination of casts. So in the end, I’m glad I had my Superman experience. It was a little awkward for me to see X-Men 3, obviously. In fact I was so emotionally nervous about it that a person -- who shall remain nameless -- brought me to a building in the middle of the night in Los Angeles and sat me in front of the computer and showed me the movie. Completely against the law, long before it was finished, just so I could be prepared. And I watched it reel by reel on the computer. You know Brett and I are good friends, I actually saw him in London last week, and I don’t know if I’ve ever told him that frankly, because I just kept it to myself. But I just needed to see the movie so that when I actually went to the theatre and saw it, it wasn’t shocking to me or disturbing. Seeing a Superman movie will be very different. I’m actually very excited to see Zack Snyder’s Superman because it’ll be so different from mine and that’s quite distant. But today I don’t have regrets because I’m sitting here doing this amazing hybrid, so maybe it was all meant to be.
IGN: As a fan of this world too, though, do you want to see Scott and Jean return? Because it’s what everyone is thinking. That we want to see them return, you know?
Singer: Who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t? [Laughing] That’s all I can say.
IGN: [Laughing] Fair enough.
The good news is that we’re all on the same page!
IGN: What is the balance between the first classers and the original trilogy actors in Days of Future Past?
Singer: The movie takes place at different times. It deals with, I don't want to say time travel, but time displacement. A form of time travel which is steeped more in the X-Men [mythos].
IGN: There was a real distinctive tone created in First Class, that was sort of in the vein of a film from that era, how are you going to integrate that into this one?
Singer: The majority of it...or that part of it, takes place in the early 70’s, 1973. So Nixon is a character, and there will be different styles and automobiles. And there will be some futuristic, as well as retro, technology which you haven’t seen. There are science fiction aspects of the movie, and then there’s some retro science fiction that the X-Men films haven’t had quite yet. So we’re exploring that, which will be fun. And there’s an attitude [difference]. We discover our characters, particularly the younger characters, at a different place in their lives. Every character you discover in this movie is in a completely different place than you’ve ever seen, emotionally, and it's about them moving through that. Hilarity ensues!
IGN: When you think about it, it’s possible to come out of this movie with three separate branches of the X-Men franchise: the First Class time period, the original X-Men time period that you created and now the alternate timeline/universe that X-Men: Days of Future Past will delve into. The alternate universe timeline could exist on its own. Is that a possibility coming out of this?
Singer: Yes, I think so, but I think it’s even bigger than that. I think that if you really examine the X-Men universe it’s every bit as big as the Marvel universe. There are lesser characters, but if you take certain characters there are a myriad of films you could make, and stories you could tell, with these characters as individuals. Wolverine being one of them, and that’s currently being done. But you could really mine this universe. I’m glad to return to it and I’d like to get more involved in it because it hasn’t really been orchestrated – somewhat with the Wolverine pictures – but I think there is a lot more that one can do.
IGN: Have you sort of started to map out plans for a Disney/Marvel movies approach to the X-Men franchise?
Singer: It’s just something we’re thinking about. Really my big focus was this movie. Because it’s really massive, and we’re going to start shooting soon. But we’re talking, [producer] Lauren Shuler Donner and I, and we’ll see.
IGN: I know you love to announce on Twitter. When do you think there will be announcements about the rest of the casting and who Peter Dinklage is playing and those kinds of things?
Singer: I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m not sure... I’ll see how it goes. Some people will figure stuff out on their own and then it just gets out there. I tweet very impulsively. You know, just when I have a moment in the day, or when something like [Peter Dinklage’s casting] happens. You know when they call me and say, ‘Okay, Peter’s deal is done.’ I wish I could tweet every conversation, but when I tweet it has to be an official thing. When I tweet it it’s for real. There’s another person that we’re negotiating with right now, so hopefully that will work out and they’ll be a part of the movie as well. And there are some new roles, younger roles that will appear in the movie. My tweets are just to be connective to fans and they’re impulsive. Sometimes they’re silly - or spelled wrong. I just have to make sure I don’t tweet when I’m drunk or anything. [Laughing] My biggest fear is that I have the phone, it’s right there…You gotta be careful because you have this direct line in your pocket to lots of people. But I think it’s a great tool. I wish I had it on Valkyrie, for instance. Because there was a lot of snarky scrutiny that was completely inaccurate and if I had Twitter I could have just addressed it. Like when they were saying, ‘Oh my god, they’re coming back to the United States for reshoots, the movie is in trouble!’ I could have said, ‘No, we’re coming back to the United States cause there are no deserts in Germany and I have a sequence that takes place in a desert.” And that would have been such an easy tweet – ‘No, the movie is fine.’ So when people panic that you’re doing something, wrong or something’s wrong with the movie, you can either not address it, or address it without needing to call a press conference.
SINGER, WE NEED YOU TO FIX THE PHOENIX! CONFIRM MARSDEN & FAMKE ALREADY!!
I NEED SOME JEAN & ROGUE MOMENTS!