After months and months of waiting, as rival studios Marvel and Sony flood headlines with media and news regarding their 2014 comic book movie releases, Twentieth Century Fox is finally stepping up promotion on X-Men: Days of Future Past. Teased for weeks, the second full-length trailer for the time-travel tale released this morning, delving deeper into the action front, showing most, if not, all of the mutant characters – new and old – moving beyond infighting to save the future from a far greater threat.
For Marvel Comics readers, the second Days of Future Past trailer offers the first official look of the mighty mutant-hunting Sentinel robots in action, both in the past and future, along with some of the more spectacular mutant powers in action.
Now that you’ve seen the new trailer and poster, we’re going to break it down in detail for a closer look at the characters, and to piece together what we can from the story of the film that director Bryan Singer claims will attempt to “fix” the continuity of the long-running X-Men film series.
In the X-Men: Days of Future Past teaser we got a look at the mutant characters of the future, and an interesting temple where key events of the film take place, but little of the actual world of the future where chaos and destruction took over and cities are now seemingly lifeless.
The purple lights highlighting the center of this city could be mutant internment camps and could tie into Bishop’s origins and role in the film as a time-travelling mutant – or it could be a Sentinel base and home to their ships. Could we meet Master Mold, leader (and constructor) of the Sentinels?
After X-Men: The Last Stand, producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke repeatedly over the years about her desire to develop X-Men 4 and continue the series. Days of Future Past is the closest thing to that, serving as a followup to the original X-Men trilogy and 2011’s X-Men: First Class. Here are the returning characters from the old X-Men.
Despite having her name show up in the credits at the end, no Rogue (Anna Paquin) is present in the trailer since her scenes were removed from the theatrical cut. The character still might play into the background of the film and the sequence will come as a feature on the home video release.
X-Men: First Class
The core cast of Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class ’60s era prequel returns for the ’70s portion, but not all of them may have survived over the years. More on that down below.
The X-Jet has been a part of all of the team-based X-Men films to date, first appearing in Bryan Singer’s original film in 2000. We saw the first X-Jet in X-Men: First Class, a highly advanced prototype Lockheed SR-71 that was modified by young Hank McCoy. It was destroyed. The new one looks similar to the X-Trilogy design with a little TRON flare for good measure.
The X-Mansion hasn’t been in use for quite some time when we pick up with young Charles Xavier, who’s lost his way since the events of X-Men: First Class. But when Wolverine comes to meet him in the ’70s on a mission from the future, they power up the hidden base beneath the X-Mansion. It must have been built sometime after First Class but before the X-Men parted ways. Beast’s Cerebro device is activated by young Charles, presumably to locate Magneto so they can plan his rescue.
The viral marketing for X-Men: Days of Future Past has explored the creation of the Sentinels, the history of Bolivar Trask and his tech company, and even “The Bent Bullet” conspiracy which had young Erik Lehnsherr – aka Magneto – responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. After a secret trial and several destroyed prison cells, Trask Industries was commissioned in 1971 to create the ultimate containment unit for Magneto – over 1,000 feet underground. You can check out the 3D display of it at the viral site here.
For now, all you need to know is that Magneto is housed there and part of the film involves breaking him out, with the help of his super-fast son, Quicksilver (Evan Peters).
We’ve seen from some of the earliest imagery of Days of Future Past that Magneto retrieves his iconic anti-telepathy helmet – and here it looks like he’s going for it (after he’s free, of course), using metallic balls to take out two guards in a structure which may house a few items from mutants we met in X-Men: First Class. The below image was tweeted by director Bryan Singer last August.
While the trailer is intentionally cut in a non-chronological order, judging by the clothing and aesthetic, these items might be kept under lock and key by the Department of Defense. Young Magneto walks in, sporting a dark trench coat and hat, performs a little metal magic and takes his helm. Why would he need that? Presumably because after he escapes prison, he’s not too keen on following Xavier and Wolverine’s plans to save the future – at least not at first, or for the entirety of the film.
In the seemingly altered 1960-70s timeline explored in Days of Future Past, mutants were not public knowledge until the assassination of JFK. In a secret trial, young Erik Lehnsherr was asked to showcase his abilities, bending a metal crowbar to the shock and awe of attendees. There were rumors however, of their existence before that because of the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis as depicted in the final act of X-Men: First Class, resulting in the murders of several mutants by the CIA.
Reading through the viral media Fox published for X-Men: Days of Future Past, two anti-mutant groups from Marvel Comics are alive in this film universe – the Friends of Humanity and the Purifiers (the latter of which could potentially be a part of the X-Force movie in development). The biggest player in the anti-mutant movement however is Bolivar Trask, who founded Trask Industries in 1967, later launching the Sentinel program in 1973 – an event, we can see from the trailer, is interrupted by Magneto who previously escaped Trask’s custom-made prison.
Above we can see Trask and the U.S. Government (Nixon era) unveiling the Mark I sentinel to the public and Magneto interrupts the event. Xavier is seemingly in the crowd, shouting at him to stop. Below we have more shots of Magneto suited up with armor and his helmet, this time in a stadium, also with political decor; we don’t know how they’re related, but the stadium is in rough shape.
How does Magneto attack? During his armored adventures he takes control of a squad of the Sentinels. Does he throw them at his enemies to make a point? Expect future iterations of the Sentinels to avoid metal components.
The few surviving mutants of the future, the most powerful of a dying species, are under attack around the world by the evolved, shape-shifting Sentinels. We know part of the story involves the X-Men protecting Wolverine’s body as Kitty Pryde sends his mind back into the past (we can’t explain how that works just yet considering her ability is to phase through physical objects). With the X-Men using that temple we’ve seen in the photos and teaser trailer as a base of operations, we see what may be Sentinels launching from those carrier ships first revealed in the character posters, presumably en route to attack.
All of the Sentinel fleet sequences so far are strictly at night and are very dark, masking the already dark designs of the weaponized robots. The next few stills, that happen to mostly match a leaked scene description, feature Colossus in metal form going hand-to-hand against one of the future Sentinels. We also get to see how Sentinels fire their ranged attacks and it looks quite similar to The Destroyer unit featured in Thor.
New Mutants & Powers
The Sentinel program evolved over the years since its inception in the early ’70s, and so have the mutants they were designed to hunt. The mutants of the future are more powerful (and they need to be) to survive in the post-apocalyptic future introduced in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The returning characters have mastered their abilities over the years and that couldn’t be more evident than with the ice slide showcase by Bobby Drake aka Iceman (Shawn Ashmore). Storm’s back with her powerful lightning and weather control abilities, along with the other core characters from the original X-Men trilogy.
As for the new mutants, Roberto da Costa aka Sunspot (Adan Canto) steals the spotlight as we see his powers on display. In the books, Sunspot’s powers make him look as if he’s a black hole on fire, as the use of his abilities absorbs the light around him. From the trailer, it looks like he’s simply turning into the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch, blasting fire into one of the attacking Sentinels.
The above scene features Colossus alongside new characters Blink, Warpath and Sunspot in an underground bunker of sorts when the Sentinels attack. We assume they team-up with the core X-Men team on the mission to change the past. Below are some shots of new character Bishop (Omar Sy) phasing through obstacles with the help of Kitty Pryde’s ability, and Blink throwing a projectile (seemingly through ice, in order for Iceman to slide through),
Much like we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where William Stryker commands a team of mutant mercenaries including Wolverine, Bolt, Wade Wilson, Sabretooth, Fred Dukes & Agent Zero – an even younger Stryker (Josh Helman) has his own special mutant unit earlier in his career, in Vietnam to be specific. This team features a younger Toad and Havok and from the sequence it appears that Mystique is attacking them, perhaps because the mutants work for the human government? Refer back to “The Bent Bullet” viral for more on that.
Havok prepares to fire a blast of energy and knocks someone flying. This may be the only part of the film the character is part of. Is there any room to explain the connection between him and Scott Summers aka Cyclops (James Marsden) who are brothers in the comics? Is he working with or against Mystique?
Looking back months ago to when Bryan Singer confirmed Lucas Till’s return as Havok, we can see a lot more in the first official photo of him. Note the mutant with the funky hair design right behind him, and in the far back right, young Toad with his head-mounted binoculars attached.
Whatever changed the timeline and ruined the future – and this dates back to the JFK assassination – it revolves around Mystique. From the trailer, it’s rather evident that she’s chosen a side (us or them) in what she perceives as a war between Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens superior. We see her above either working for or against Stryker’s mutant strike team and we see below, her on the run (from Magneto according to the first teaser) in Paris.
For whatever reason, Mystique is in Paris during a rally. It seems to be during the 1973 Paris Peace Accord which put an end to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
We know from the previous assets that Magneto shows up during these scenes and pulls Mystique towards her. From the image of him wearing the same clothes while soaked, Beast must show up here and tackle him into the water.
Storm’s Limited Screen Time
Much like Rogue (Anna Paquin) had all of her scenes cut from the theatrical version of the film, Storm’s part in X-Men: Days of Future Past has been reportedly reduced as well, although Singer denies that it was dwindled down much. Her action and stunt work had already been altered due to Halle Berry’s pregnancy, and from this brief scene it appears one of the future Sentinels is about to stab her.
A relatively common plot device used in several Marvel Comics series, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the first adaptation to use it on-screen. Director Bryan Singer claims that Days of Future Past will both broaden out the X-Men cinematic universe and at the same time, “fix” some of the continuity errors the series has suffered from over the years. In a slight twist on the 1980 miniseries from Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, the film version sees Kittry Pryde inexplicably sending the mind of Wolverine back into his younger self, in order to warn Charles Xavier and convince him to forge a new alliance with Magneto to save the future.
We’ve heard hints and partial explanations from those involved with the production, but several key characters have been inexplicably altered – or at the very least, all-too-conveniently altered during parts of the film. Young Charles Xavier, after taking a bullet at the end of X-Men: First Class, can walk for part of the movie. Blue beast (Nicholas Hoult) can return to his human form, Kitty Pryde can send people’s minds through time and future Wolverine got his adamantium claws back. Magneto might have helped with the latter according to Singer, and young Beast might have crafted something with his genius mind to help with his blue fur issues and Xavier’s ability to walk – but all of these seem contrived and unnecessary at first glance. We’ll have to wait and see how they play out onscreen.
Share your thoughts on what we’ve seen from the film so far in the comments below!
Bryan Singer directs X-Men: Days of Future Past with newcomers Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman, Evan Jonigkeit along with returning stars 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.
X-Men: Days of Future Past arrives in U.S. theaters on May 23rd, 2014, followed by Fantastic Four on June 19th, 2015, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, The Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th, 2017, and an unspecified Marvel film on July 13th, 2018.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.