X-Men: Days of Future Past is shaping up to be quite the pivotal project, built on a foundation of lofty ambitions. Franchise starter Bryan Singer has taken over directing duties from X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn, for a semi-sequel that will combine the characters/actors of the original trilogy with their First Class counterparts.
We’ll also be getting a storyline based on time travel, killer robots (The Sentinels) and other elements that will push the X-Men movie franchise further into sci-fi territory than it’s ever been before. Today we can confirm that new franchise ground will also be broken with the addition of 3D and SimulCam filming – technology used in the creation of motion-capture characters like those in James Cameron’s Avatar.
The confirmation of both 3D and Simulcam isn’t that new – we actually reported on both the 3D and the Simulcam filming tech earlier this year, when Singer began dropping vague hints about its use – but this tweet certainly confirms both (note the ominous green-screen set in the background):
Shooting native 3D and Simul-cam. Looks like friggin mission control. twitter.com/BryanSinger/st…— Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) May 7, 2013
For those who are not technophiles: If you read our original report on the technology behind James Cameron’s Avatar way back when, then you might remember mention of “Simul-Cam (or Simulcam)” – a technology Cameron developed that allows a filmaker to basically see CGI imagery super-imposed over the live-acton photography. In other words, if a film has CGI environments, a filmmaker can better structure the live-action shoot around those elements – or (and here’s the more interesting part) he/she can also see CGI characters created by motion-capture performance in real-time during filming (as opposed to having to wait for post-production to apply those CGI effects).
Why does this matter in the case of Days of Future Past? Well, the mere presence of Simulcam on Singer’s set suggests that there will be motion-capture performance incorporated into the proceedings – the question is, whose performance as which character(s)?
Well, the most obvious answer also happens to be the only confirmable lead: The Sentinels would be the most likely culprits. However, there have been many variations of those mechanical mutant killers over the years – from the original gigantic robots designed by creator Jack Kirby in 1965, to the more humanoid Nimrod model introduced in writer Chris Claremont’s “Days of Future Past” storyline in 1981. More recent decades have brought us human/machine hybrids like the Prime and Bio-Sentinel models – which would be well-suited to motion-capture performance using live actors.
Needless to say: Singer could utilize any one of (or all of) those Sentinel designs for his movie – not to mention realizing characters like Colossus and/or rumored villain Apocalypse through mo-cap technology.
Personally speaking, I would love to see the Prime Sentinels or Bio-Sentinels used over the classic “big robot” design. Any X-Men fan who read the “Operation: Zero Tolerance” storyline during the ’90s (arguably one of the best of that era) can tell you: the addition of Sentinels masked as everyday human beings adds some nice Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style tension to the proceedings – and some pretty nice action sequences, to boot. And, considering that Singer’s storyline for DOFP involves some epic calamity that the First Class team must prevent in the 1970s era, having some “undercover” Sentinels (sent back through time Terminator-style) would be a nice plot device.
Of course, Iron Man 3 already took the idea of tech-enhanced humans and quickly wore it out with villains who glowed red and spit fire and such…
Are there any X-Men characters you would like to see created through motion-capture? Which Sentinel models would you like to see featured in the film?
X-Men: Days of Future Past will be in theaters on July 18, 2014
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