You cannot make an X-Men movie without planning ahead. Every one of Twentieth Century Fox’s money making mutant motion pictures is a hopeful start of a new series of films, and that absolutely applies to this summer’s prequel, X-Men: First Class.

Featuring a cast of mutants who are (for the most part) new to the film franchise, X-Men: First Class takes fans back the the 1960s, to the origins of the X-Men team and of mutant leaders Magneto and Professor X. With the film set in 1962, where (and when) does the story go from there at the conclusion of X-Men: First Class?

Total Film chatted with First Class director Matthew Vaughn and star James McAvoy about potential sequels and what direction they may follow. Says Vaughn, after indicating that the movie will set up a sequel:

“First Class is similar to Batman Begins, where you have the fun of introducing the characters and getting to know them, but that takes time… But with the second one you can just get on with it and have a rollicking good time. That’s the main difference between Begins and The Dark Knight.”

This is, of course, assuming that most of the characters we meet in X-Men: First Class live through the story. We know the core characters who play a part in the main X-Men trilogy obviously live on, but the others who do not, may not share a similar fate.

As theorized by our own Kofi Outlaw, X-Men: First Class likely isn’t as distant from the Marvel Comics history as some have been led to believe. If Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer’s story is anything like the intriguingly similar X-Men: Deadly Genesis story by Ed Brubaker, then there’s reason to believe some of the new faces to the franchise won’t make it through the sequels. Such a move would also allow us to meet younger versions of the characters we already know in the sequels, tying into the first X-Men movie.

Just how far would X-Men: First Class 2 jump ahead in the timeline though? Vaughn explains that he’d like to keep it in the ’60s for his next one.

“1962 is far more grounded in the world of the ’50s. I think it takes about five years for a decade to really start getting its identity, so the fun thing about this for me would be doing [a sequel] in the latter part of the decade, where you’ve got The Stones, The Beatles, Flower Power…”

He continues to explain that he and Singer have discussed the potential for the series to continue into the 70s and 80s but that they can’t age the characters too quickly. As for the actor playing Charles Xavier, McAvoy would like to see him eventually evolve into Patrick Stewart’s, literally.

“In First Class he uses Cerebro for the first time and maybe it unlocks something in his head – maybe he can’t keep the voices out or something. So in the second movie his journey could be about getting himself out of a mess. And then in the third movie he becomes… Patrick Stewart!”

What I’m most interested in seeing is how Erik Lehnsherr and Xavier’s relationship continues after this movie. From the trailers, it’s very evident that their opinions and goals are already fracturing their friendship. Do we see them split apart in X-Men: First Class or is that something reserved for the next movie?

Be sure to watch the first official X-Men: First Class trailer and the more recent (and more epic) international X-Men: First Class trailer.

X-Men: First Class‘ cast includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, Zoë Kravitz, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt, Ray Wise, Edi Gathegi, Caleb Landry Jones and Álex González.

X-Men: First Class hits theaters June 3rd, 2011.

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Source: Total Film