Bryan Singer Explains ‘X-Men: First Class’ Story & Characters

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:28 pm,

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.
sebastian shaw emma frost hellfire club x men first class movie Bryan Singer Explains X Men: First Class Story & Characters

Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones)


  • 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?

Continue to Page 2 for our thoughts on the X-Men: First Class story and characters!

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  1. Kevin Bacon is a good choice but yes he hasn’t been in very many good roles check out Death Sentence Bacon is awsome in that role. There hasn’t been virtually any comic book to movie that has been accepted by the general public fan boy or not I believe the high up peps need to take the opinion of the people more seriously and who knows if they are all about making money if they give the fans what they want then they would make even more (hint hint). Singer being back is awsome, the cast is great, the story has potential and the loyal fans will be there so what else is there to do?

  2. They really have no idea what they are doing. Why waste the money if they arn’t going to do it correctly.

  3. you know Wat f@ck bryan singer guys an idiot, the more screen rant puts news about x-men first class the more i hate it, fox messed up the x-men franchise, just start fresh not continue the garbage.

  4. Believe it or not, movies that stray from original source material go all the way back to Biblical times. Don’t argue, yes it does.
    Using only 2 examples: “The Ten Commandments” (Charleton Heston) and “The Prince of Egypt” (Dreamworks). Neither movie is faithful to the actual account found in Exodus. At least Dreamworks provided a disclaimer at the beginning of their film that liberties were indeed taken…. then cited the chapters and verses from Exodus for you to check it out for yourself.

    So, if Hollywood would change the Bible, why the hell would you expect them to stay faithful to, well, anything. Unless the credits say, “Written, Directed and Produced by” I know that what I’m seeing is probably quite different then what it’s based on. It must make writers absolutely crazy.

  5. Hi, I am Hollywood and its my goal to ruin everything I touch. There are tons of colorful, awesome charactors and storylines in the original comics that fans love and have loved for years. So I will not be using them. Instead, I am going to whip up a batch of my own and wreck it for everybody. Like i did with the last one.

    • Dear Mr. Hollywood,

      Please stop that.



    • Why do people always say that it “ruins” the original source. If you don’t like the films, then don’t watch them, but it does NOTHING to the source. But I’m gonna stop before someone claims that I’m “under the studio’s payroll”.

      • I won’t say that Matt K because you’re right, no matter what they did they could never ruin the original source material for it exists in an entirely different medium, a world all it’s own with a rich history that could NEVER be replicated in it’s scope on screen. With that said, it would be nice if they tried to once in a while, sure wouldn’t hurt.

  6. Bryan Singer wasn’t part of the 3rd X-Men movie, or with Wolverine, was he? I thought he was only part of the first two (far superior) X-Men films. So… in that case, I’m inclined to give him a chance and see what he does with this one.

    If he’d been responsible for X-Men 3, then no. Because I thought that one was not good. It was a muddled mess.

    But I loved the first 2 films.

    • Totally agreed.

      • he’s in part responsible for X-3, he ditched that to do Superman Returns lol

  7. Seriously, what’s the problem with setting it in the 60s??
    I can’t believe you people are calling this a failure before seeing even a single image or frame of film from this thing.
    I mean JEEZ

    • It’s true – it could be wildly entertaining, it’s just not the X-Men people were hoping for or expecting. And after two bad X-Men movies, folks are confused and upset that that fifth X-film will be an even further stretch from continuity.

      I’m just sad we aren’t getting proper use of good characters like Havok, Jean and Cyclops.

  8. Same people same crap !! it will make money and attract new fans to money making machine.
    Fox can’t come up with spectacular action scenes or great storylines for any of their comic book movies.
    The directors are awful at shooting this stuff, better hand it over to Hong Kong directors !!

  9. Well lets look at some facts:

    Havok is Older then Cyclops.

    The Hellfire Club has been around for a long time.

    Charles and Eric were buds before their falling out.

    “Beast” may be the scientist he is at first instead of the Beast we know.

    Emma Frost can make you see what she wants you to see so she could still be quite young instead of what we see.

    While I agree it doesnt hold true to the comic it wont be a flop. If anyone here says they are an Xman fan and then doesnt see the movie as it is based on the Xmen is not really a fan.

    • Wrong Alex is younger… Stupid movie.

      • i thought this, but i havnt really read an x-men comic in about a decade. the quotes from singer above are quite hard for me to understand/visualise. I can see how you could adapt the material to tell this story/film. But then im left wondering who are they targeting to watch it? surely this is the least appealing part of the universe to the core fans

        • Yes but in Ultimate Xmen he (Alex) is older. That is where I may have gotten that from.

  10. Even as I look at the “cast” most of the characters are “older” then the original ones.

    Angle is my only worry. All the others could be 10 years older then your Scotts and Jeans to include Beast.

  11. Cyclops gets screwed again…

  12. Thanks for a very informative article Rob.

    This movie IMO is really shaping up to be a convoluted load of CRAP. I’m so sick of Singer and his rendering of these characters.

    As far as I’m concerned he really does hold contempt for MARVEL and continues to do the X-Men characters a great disservice.

    I do concede though it may be popular with the “Kick Ass” & “Scott Pilgrim” crowd……yay! how exciting for them.

    I’m curious enough to read up on further updates but there is no way I’m going to the cinema to watch this or even paying for the DVD release.

    For me there is no familiarity or affinity to this project at all. I can’t empathize with the characters nor the whole restructuring according to Singer and Fox.

  13. Anthony I don’t want them to stop. Yea it sucks sometimes I film turns out bad but if they stopes we wouldn’t get any more films like Iron Man, Kick Ass, Batman Begins and TDK. Those are not the only good ones either.

    • if they made more adaptations like tdk, and kick-ass, i’d be all for continuing, but it seems they are afraid of getting down and gritty when they need too. i dunno daniel, its just my opinion here but the sudden overflow of comic book films is getting grossly out of hand

  14. well cyclops not being in this,and emma being in it have messed the continuity up. i cant stand to see continuity messed up,and holes in movies from film to film,and source material just screwed up. i do like the fact that angel salvador is in the film but only if beak is in it too,and glob herman. i would love to finally see sinister,apocalypse,and the sentinel story happen, and other characters like omega red,chamber,husk,and anole. i think marvel needs the rights back and start off with the real x-men first class,and in their sequels add in characters like nightcrawler,colossus,gambit,wolverine,rogue,storm,sinister,apocalypse, and others. then do a grant morrison new x-men film,and add salvador,beak,glob herman basilisk,anole, rockslide,and the others, then generation-x with chamber,husk (etc). and then do a bishop film called district-x about the mutant detective bishop hunting wanted mutants in district-x. MARVEL PLEASE HELP US.

  15. You know what? I don’t buy it. I’m not interested in Fox or Sony crap. This will be my last comment in this or the Sony-Spider threads. There’s plenty of other movies and franchises here to get interested in. They want to travel down this road, go ahead see where it leads them. If it leads to accolades and pots of gold good for them. Won’t be my money or accolades. These aren’t the comic franchises I remember reading for years and are just alienating, confusing, and are composed of something other than the Marvel material that I like. I don’t understand how that makes them interesting, popular, or entertaining. Nor do I understand the advantage or the business sense of buying the rights to use material, then not use it?!? Maybe it makes sense to buy the rights to use the characters and stories and then use them in a deliberately divergent way than what was successful before in another medium. All I can say is, it doesn’t appeal to me, so good luck with that…

    • Awesome post!! If it wasn’t for fans of the comics buying the issues of X-Men and making them popular over the years,then there would be NO X-Men movies. I know you have to cater to the non-fans but the non-fans wouldn’t be getting to see them at all if it wasn’t for the fans. So Fox show some god*amn respect!!!!

  16. @DanielF

    What I dont get though is why it is ok to mess with the Batman mythos (sorry thats not the Joker I was raised on, not how Two Face got it, etc) but not others…?

    Then by your standards you cant have characters like Croc, Penguin etc.

  17. Well if Singer didn’t say any negatives then maybe i will check it out. But if it’s another character and continuity ruining film then I think every piece of X Men news should only have a reply saying GIVE THE RIGHTS BACK FOX!!!

  18. Magnetic how do you get that this will be popular with Kick Ass and Scott P? Both were very good films that stayed pretty darn close to the source material.

    This is looking to make a million and one mistakes it’s not only a spit on the source material but it isn’t going to even respect it’s own source material.

    Also if it’s going to be popular with any crowd it’s going to be twilight/high school musical crowd.

    Not fair to bash Scott P if you havnt seen it, but the shocking thing is bashing kick ass or at least what sounds like bashing. I got the impression that pretty much every one outside of Roger E loved Kick Ass.

    • @ Daniel f

      True my post was written very much in haste and not meant to be a bashing of either “Kick Ass” or “Scott P”.

      What I meant was in terms of appealing to a younger audience and the whole twilight/high school musical crowd is a more appropriate target when I stop and think about it.

      “Kick Ass” and “Scott P” even though it also attracted a young audience, at least had authenticity in regard to it’s source material.

    • I didn’t love Kick Ass, for me it was a good little movie for a certain crowd, and the reviews weren’t exactly through the roof but they were generally positive, just above average, there were quite a few critics who didn’t like it besides Roger Ebert. I thought it was bloody cool fun, nothing more.

  19. Kick Ass strayed quite a bit from the source material..

  20. Geez Matt K what are you on the Studios payroll? Lol jk

    it doesn’t hurt the source material at all I agree but it does hurt the fans of the source material and while it doesn’t harm the source it does disrespect it.

  21. Aknot we must of read seperate Batman comics cause that joker is very very similar to the one I was raised on.

    It’s not about saying they can’t make changes but if they do it has to be a understandable change it a change that works well and makes sense. Changing a small thing like the exact way two face gets scared isn’t a big deal at the end of the day he still becomes two face still has a scar , it still involves the mob. Instead of acid at a trial it’s fire at an abandon building as far as major changs go it isn’t one.

    Now xmen FC is dropping characters adding in random ones changes characters relationships, changing the way characters look , changing their ages by a decade, changing the way the act and their goals. Fox in fact is changing the entire established history of the story from the comics not a few details here and there they have changed so much that you could change the names of these characters and they would be unreconizable. A simple name change and this would be considered an original property no one would say it’s xmen.

    To make it worse not only have they changed nearly every detail from the comics but they can’t even keep up with their own story telling. These films can’t honestly be considered connected because it doesn’t make sense

    dropping two of the most loved characters and founders of the team is beyond wrong. Dropping Scott and Jean is basically a Bat film with out Akfred and Gordon.

    • @Daniel f RLMAO!!!! Well said!!! I know it wasn’t meant to be funny but it’s incredibly funny,silly,and SAD how Fox is handling this franchise. It’s so incredibly f’ed up that it makes me laugh though.

    • I agree with you. You know I do, however there are still continuity changes along with character changes in both BB and TDK.

      While I do know they (studios) take liberites with characters, I dont remember once when the Joker I grew up on wore make up, had his mouth slit, Death of Two Face, Rachel (she is dead though),Ra’s world plans opposed to “just Gotham”, etc.

      Im as “irked” as the other person with changes like this both in Xmen, FC, Batman, Superman, Blade, etc and event to some degree Ironman.

      However if it is done in one it must be done in all and if so must be “stopped” in all. Once something like BB/Ironman does what it did and did not stay completely true to the books you have now threw open the floodgates saying it is ok to “tweak” it to all of them.

      Maybe in our haste to want to see our beloved heros, we are the ones that made this mess.

    • “Aknot we must of read seperate Batman comics cause that joker is very very similar to the one I was raised on. ”

      I would like to know what Joker you were raised on? Im …well mid to late 40s.

      The joker I know and was raised on (unless it was an alternate universe or “what if” type book) Never wore makeup. Never had mouth “scars”. And didnt look like he crawled out of a Heavy Metal concert after staying in a dumpster for 2 weeks. the Joker I knew actually LAUGHED a lot at his “jokes”….

      He looked dirty and disheveled…. wearing make up.

      not that he didnt “act” very well. It is just not the Joker I grew up on.

  22. Meg I’ve heard a few other people who agree with you Anthony but not me. Hell give me a comic film every week of every year and I’ll be as happy as can be. Personally I love comics big fan so the movies I tend to enjoy watching the most in theaters are comic films. I find my self waiting for the DVD of other films because I’m spending most my theater money on comic movies I’d die with out comic films and would stop supporting Hollywood all togathet if they just stopped making them.

  23. All too bad no Cyclops and Jean Grey. Yes I think the title is misleading, but who cares as I was never that big of a fan of Cyclops and Jean. Thats why it didn’t bother me that Wolveine was a bigger star in trilogy(Wolverine was always my favorite character so I was happy with it). This movie is in 60′s, so before their time anyway. This story should be about Magneto and Xavier. Then make a sequel based on years later and you can have Cyclops and Jean. But to me the story of how Xavier and Magneto are best friends until their differeing ideaologies split them apart is much more interesting and more important to focus on than Cyclops and Jean’s love story

  24. Kick ass strayed but not very much and your exagerating the amount. I can watch kick ass with my comic right in front of my face and witness the exact same story being told and see well over 70% of the panels brought to life on screen. There were changes but really not that many. Technically Watchmen strayed from the source as well but is considered to of closely followed the comic. Kick Ass strayed but not by much more than watchmen and if watchmen was extreamly loyal so was Kick Ass.

  25. Rofl If you say so Green but I’d say compare it to films like xmen. I can’t even list all the changes they have made like you did just now. Instead I’ll list what they didn’t change.

    The characters have the same namesish
    they for the most part have the same powers.

    The end

    they changed personalitys they changed the storys them selves. They changed the looks of the characters. They changed characters reasons for existing and their relationships with other characters. They changes ages and not just by a year or two. They changed who all started the team. More than half the characters are nothing like their comic counter parts. They wasted several characters adding them only to never do anything with them and with some not even explain who they are. They killed off characters who shouldn’t of died. I could go on.

    We can look at Spiderman which is exacly as bad but still has a large amount of changes certainly more than I can list. How about Blade ?Superman, 89Batman or even to a lesser extent the Nolan Bat films. All of those are less faithfull than Kick Ass. So yea in the grand scheme of things Kick ass is one of the comic films that is among the top faithful.

  26. Whoa calm down man. All I was doing is starring my case there’s no need to go crazy on me. I was simply trying to explain why it’s more faithful than films like xmen. That’s all you don’t want to call it faithful fine but if you reply to me I’m gonna reply back I thought I was pretty respectful with my reply not sure why you were so upset.

    I never said by the way that in kick ass they had the same powers if you go back and read my comment it was clear I was talking about xmen I said they had the same names and powers that wasn’t about kick ass.

    • all this movie needs is Keyser Soze