At last, we have answers to some of the burning questions regarding X-Men: First class, its story and characters! After the onslaught of recent casting announcements for Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men prequel, fans were left wondering what direction the project was taking and what possible story they were trying to tell, considering the seemingly odd and somewhat inconsistent character choices.
With two poorly received X-Men films in a row, moviegoers are skeptical of the franchise and the reactions have been very mixed from the latest X-Men: First Class news reports. To clarify the First Class confusion and answer key questions about what the next X-Men installment is about, Bryan Singer reached out today to ease the tension and set the record straight.
Singer called Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News and entered into a detailed discussion about his story for First Class, confirming some of the character reports and revealing the setting of the film. Here are the details in point-form:
- X-Men: First Class is not like the “X-Men: First Class” comics, hence the significant character differences.
- It takes place in the 1960s where Kennedy is still president.
- Equality and racism are key issues with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X dominating mainstream media with the Civil Rights movement (foreshadowing (even mirroring) the mutant situation to come).
- Director Matthew Vaughn is very interested in the setting and what Singer describes as the “James Bond tech of the time”, as Harry puts it.
- Shooting will begin with Charles Xavier attending Oxford University.
- We’ll get to see classic X-Men costumes, much more similar to the comics than we’ve seen in previous movies.
- The movie will be the franchise’s most international yet, with shooting taking place in the U.S. and England, and the story also involving at least The Soviet Union as well.
- We’ll get a first look at some X-Men: First Class costumes within a month.
- Story will explore how Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) met and their goals for the future of mutants (Origin of X-Men and their initial purpose).
- Lensherr and Xavier will be in their late twenties – Xavier will have hair and function of his legs.
- Cyclops and Jean Grey are NOT in the movie. Havok definitely is and Lucas Till will be playing him.
- January Jones is Emma Frost and there’s no truth to Rosamund Pike’s involvement.
- Singer is excited about them getting Nicholas Hoult as Beast because of a fortunate delay in start date for Mad Max: Fury Road.
- Kevin Bacon’s villain is in fact, Sebastian Shaw. Yes, that means Hellfire Club is in X-Men: First Class.
- Singer explains the 1960s setting is perfect for the Hellfire Club, from the characters to costumes.
- There are other characters that will be in the film that they’re keeping secret. Could it be more mutant X-Men or more likely, other members of the Hellfire Club?
That’s a lot of info to digest but I’m happy Singer did make the effort to explain their choices and direction with their X-Men: First Class movie. From the story perspective, it’s great they’re going international this time since they Americanized key international characters (Colossus, Pyro, etc.) in the trilogy and really destroyed their uniqueness and purpose.
As for the costumes, I’m excited to see them go more Kick-Ass/Watchmen with use of super hero clothing but I’ll wait and see before I jump to any conclusions. My first thoughts are that if they had an early X-Men team, consisting of some of the characters we’ve seen cast suiting up in full hero get-up, why is it that the world was not aware of the X-Men and mutants prior to how we know them in the first X-Men movie? This aspect of the mutants still being hidden in society was mentioned in interviews before so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, knowing that whatever happens in this movie and in potential sequels, it was all under the radar for the most part.
On to the characters; I don’t understand how the whole movie can take place in the 1960s but have Cyclops’ brother in it. How will they explain that in relation to the other films and with young Cyclops playing a part in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and when in the timeline did that take place? Wolverine’s origin movie seemed to take place largely in the 1980s so will parts of First Class take place in the 1970s and 1980s as well? With the casting of child actors to play earlier versions of Magneto and Mystique, we can assume there will also at least include flashbacks to years prior as well.
The setting is promising, the actors are stellar, the idea of seeing some real X-Men costumes is intriguing but the title of the film is off. To fans, X-Men: First Class is about Cyclops, Jean, Beast and others (we don’t know who in the Fox film universe) becoming the first X-Men and learning how to use their abilities for good. That’s what the end of Wolverine suggested would be next but Singer’s First Class isn’t about them at all and is instead an origin story for Magneto and Professor X, borrowing heavily from what would have been an X-Men Origins: Magneto movie. On that note, Xavier can still walk when he picks up Cyclops, Emma and others at the end of Wolverine so in order for us to witness Xavier losing use of his legs, we’d have to see him pick up Emma and Cyclops at the end of that movie… See where I’m going here?
Perhaps this is where Vaughn’s X-Men quasi-reboot/prequel discussion comes in. That will define whether this is in continuity or not. Perhaps it’s best just to assume X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not in continuity when you also consider how they ruined the Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool character.
With Singer’s promise of seeing some costume designs soon, perhaps Fox will show something at New York Comic-Con?
X-Men: First Class begins shooting August 31st in the UK for a June 3, 2011 release.