This summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is the most ambitious X-Men film to date. It will will bridge two generations of mutants in the hopes of fixing a few of the lingering disparities between franchises old and new, as well as create a unified X-Men universe. Not only that, if successful, Days of Future Past will be the starting point for Fox’s own shared superhero universe comprised of their Marvel properties: X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

In addition to featuring the largest cast of mutants ever assembled, Days of Future Past will be the first onscreen appearance of the Sentinels (the brief appearance of a Sentinel’s head in X3 notwithstanding). Created by Bolivar Trask and Trask Industries, the dangerous titans were designed to hunt, capture, and eventually eradicate all of mutantkind. Beginning with 1973’s Mark 1 serving primarily in a security capacity, over time the Sentinels evolved into towering, oppressive machines of unstoppable power.

Yesterday, during Empire Magazine‘s day-long reveal of its 25 X-Men: Days of Future Past character covers, we were shown our first look at the latest and greatest Sentinel: The Mark X. Many remarked on its unusual design and almost organic appearance, and now production designer John Mayhre has an explanation for Mark X’s unique look:

“They’re biomechanical weapons. We had to come up with what would be the ultimate version that could actually, in principle, stop the X-Men. We started with this idea that they were almost made up of magnetic plates slapped over one another, imagining that the plates could contract or grow, so the Sentinel can be skinny to get through a small space or the plates can open up to become a bigger shape. So they have become virtually unstoppable.”

Seems our speculation about the Mark X being in some way organic or biological and having the ability to alter its shape were spot on. Mayhre refers to them as biomechanical weapons, plural, which also suggests there will be more than one of these behemoths for the X-Men to battle.

How exactly a structure of magnetic plates fits with a biomechanical design is less clear. Ever hear of guy called Magneto and his powers of manipulation over metal and magnetism? Can’t imagine he’d have much of a problem tearing apart a giant robot composed of interlocking, magnetic plates. Still, maybe there’s some yet-unrevealed reason for Magneto’s powers being relatively useless against these mutant-murdering machines.

Considering the large part the Sentinels have played in the viral marketing for X-Men: Days of Future Past (as well as a Comic-Con appearance), it will be interesting to see how large a role they’ll have in the film. Will they be front and center for most of the movie, or remain in the shadows before a third act reveal followed by a climactic battle? Or will the Mark X Sentinels appear only in the beginning – during the future – while the Mark I will figure prominently for the rest of the film in the past?

What are your thoughts on the new design and its provided explanation? Would you prefer a more traditional-looking Sentinel? Let us know in the comments below.

[Watch our video discussion & analysis of X-Men: Days of Future Past characters here!]

Directed by Bryan Singer, X-Men: Days of Future Past sees the return of  Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Lucas Till, and Daniel Cudmore. Newcomers to the X-Men franchise include Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman, and Evan Jonigkeit.

X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters May 23rd, 2014.

Source: Empire (via /Film)