X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class was in development with a writer hired and a story in mind nearly half a year before X-Men Origins: Wolverine even hit theaters. Fox Studios knew they could capitalize on the X-Men’s team-focused adventures in a series of prequels to capture younger audiences.
Josh Schwartz, the creator, writer and producer of the television shows The OC, Gossip Girl and Chuck was brought on board last fall to develop his first ever feature film project in writing the screenplay for X-Men: First Class. The movie as we knew it would obviously be loosely based on the X-Men: First Class comic book which Marvel debuted in 2006 as a mini-series, later continued as an ongoing series.
That book however, follows the original five X-Men (for the most part) in their teens working for Professor X as it was when the X-Men comic began back in the 60’s. The movies cannot do the same due to the continuity established in the film franchise. The original team consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel. The film universe has Angel introduced many years after the beginning of the X-Men and never an official part of the team. Iceman is also just a kid and not part of the team in the first two X-Men movies so wouldn’t be part of the adventures of the original students.
So, that means we can expect to see Cyclops, Jean, Beast and perhaps a young Storm (included in a deleted scene of X-Men Origins: Wolverine). As for who the other character(s) could be, that’s anyone’s guess. I assume that the end of Wolverine’s movie was very intentional and that we could see Emma Frost and perhaps Quicksilver (Magneto’s son in the comics) as part of the team. I also expect to see Magneto involved with First Class, but as a good guy, helping Xavier start the school and build Cerebro (referenced in the first X-Men). Perhaps this film’s story will act as the catalyst that separates the ideals and future paths of Professor X and his old friend.
There’s also fan speculation that Gambit could be involved with First Class since there was talk of a possible Gambit solo film. Also, Taylor Kitsch, who played him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has a three-picture deal. I expect that with Kitsch’ casting as the lead in the John Carter of Mars film (and possible trilogy), his profile will grow huge and he’ll back as Remy LeBeau once again down the road. According to Donner however, Gambit isn’t part of First Class because he wasn’t part of Xavier’s original student body. I’m not sure what that means because neither will one or more of the students they choose to fill Iceman’s and Angel’s roster spots in keeping with the film continuity.
They’re keeping the X-Men: First Class roster a secret for the time being. If you have guesses, share them in the comments!
So, getting back to the topic at hand, Lauren Shuler Donner touched on what style and tone we can expect from the young adventures of the X-Men:
“Harry Potter is a bit of a role model for us, absolutely. But we want it to be like the recent, darker Potters. It should not be a kiddie movie – we’re in the X-Men world so you can’t suddenly change the tone. The First Class comics are really fun – they’re funnier than any other comics I’ve read. Basically in each one the kids are fighting strange villains, sometimes it’s aliens, sometimes it’s monsters. I want to get a flavour of that world. Occasionally the kids will be in class, but more often they’ll be off on adventures. Which Professor X isn’t too happy about! There’s nothing more interesting than a bad kid, and this is full of naughty children. Cyclops, for example – he’s a tough kid that bobbed from foster home to foster home, until he ends up at the school and becomes the leader. There’s also still an element of friction between the mutants and the outside world. Remember that this will be set way back before anyone knew mutants existed.”
She continues to explain that Schwartz’ script is still in the works and not yet finished. She explains that they want to make sure they’re not rehashing what’s already been done in the movies and speaks highly of their writer of choice.
“We want to make this a franchise, following these kids at the school, so the casting of the child actors will be all-important.”
I expect that they’ve already done a bit of this with Tim Pocock and Tahyna Tozzi cast as Cyclops and Emma Frost respectively in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. There’s a reason they were chosen and there’s a reason why they were far over-marketed in the promotion of the film, let alone the Xavier’s scene at the end picking up the young mutant escapees which seemingly blends perfectly into the start of X-Men: First Class – There’s no way that it’s all for naught.
On the subject of Pocock, he may have dropped a bomb of an update recently with the Twitter fire he started in a tweet revealing that he’s set to start filming X-Men: First Class early next year. Once news sites picked up on the info, he tweeted a retraction saying it was a prank and that it wasn’t true but that he would be interested in playing Cyclops again. Was this really a prank? Or did Fox and his agent get on him for leaking the info? We don’t know for sure (yet) but it’s interesting nonetheless.
What do you think of these two projects and Fox’s plans for both? What X-Film are you most excited for and what characters should be featured?
Come back soon for Part Two of The Next X-Men Films where we talk about Deadpool, Magneto and more!
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