Few comic book franchises have as much backstory to draw on as X-Men: Days of Future Past, a film seeking to not only pay (some) service to the previous 6 X-Men films, but iron out the various wrinkles in the collective continuity. Director Bryan Singer accomplished the task of essentially rebooting the movie universe, and while plenty of continuity questions remain unanswered, fans are likely to accept the franchise’s new beginning.
With 14 years of X-Men movies to draw upon, and the comic book source material stretching back decades, Singer and co. managed to squeeze in more than a few easter eggs, bits of trivia, and references to the source material and its creators.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of spoilers in our list of X-Men: Days of Future Past trivia, so read at your own risk.
The Lasting X
As Fox’s top-earning superhero franchise, it’s only fitting that the movies should earn an extra nod from the studio. So in Days of Future Past – like all other X-Men movies before it – the ‘X’ of the 20th Century Fox title card remains lit for a moment longer as the screen fades to black.
What’s in a Year?
The film starts with a bang, dropping audiences into a vision of the future – year 2023, specifically. It’s not so much an easter egg as a chance coincidence, but in the original “Days of Future Past” comic storyline, the year in which the future is shown to be overrun with Sentinels and the Earth’s population suffering at their hands is actually the year 2013. What are the odds that would be the same year official production on the film actually began?
Once the future premise is established, the movie wastes no time in dropping the surviving X-Men into battle against the near-invincible future Sentinels. As is shown in the film, the robotic sentries are not only capable of absorbing the powers of the mutants they fight thanks to their capture of Rogue (Anna Paquin) (explained in our discussion of the film’s plot holes on the Screen Rant Underground podcast), but sharing those powers among their ranks instantaneously.
The feature is shown as the powers of Sunspot (Adan Canto) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) are turned against eachother, but the Sentinels also show a few powers which should be familiar to fans of the past films. Specifically, the spindly claws of X2: X-Men United‘s Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), the diamond form of X-Men First Class‘s Emma Frost (January Jones), and a rock form similar to that shown by Darwin (Edi Gathegi) before his death.
Kitty & Bishop, Time Travelers
Devoted Marvel fans were no doubt disappointed when the role of Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat (Ellen Page) was reduced for the big screen adaptation of the “Days of Future Past” story, after already playing a smaller role in the previous films than her character typically has in the comics. Although it is no longer Kitty who travels backward in time, she is given the responsibility of making time-travel possible. It’s something of a consolation prize, but the film’s most famous time traveler, Bishop (Omar Sy) also gets a brief nod by being the first mutant undergoing Kitty’s unique brand of time travel.
Hugh Jackan’s Wolverine may have left a love behind when he returned from Japan at the end of The Wolverine (2013), but he was apparently fond of more than a woman. Jackman had teased prior to the film’s reveal that eagle-eyed fans should take a close look at his 1972 apartment, and at first glance, his past is evident. Closer inspection will have to wait for a home video release, but the samurai swords and photo of Mount Fuji adorning his walls are a clear sign of honoring the character’s new history. Not to mention the brown, yellow and white striped curtains paying homage to his classic costumes.
Once Wolverine begins talking down the goons who break into his apartment, the young woman (“boss’s daughter”) with whom he has been sleeping will offer a word of protest, calling him ‘Jimmy.’ The name may fly by casual viewers as a simple name he has adopted, but fans know that Logan’s actual name is “James Howlett.” Since 1973 James had not yet run into the adamantium bullet to the brain that erased his memory at the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he was still going by his real name. If only he had a few minutes to ask the woman what else she knew about his past…
Fist of the North Star
Once Logan has arrived in his 1973 body (presumably before he traveled to Vietnam, as was shown in Xmen Origins: Wolverine…?), he immediately finds himself facing off against a group of gangsters. He is soon riddled with seven bullets to the chest, arranged in a shape not unlike that of the ‘Big Dipper.’ The alignment has changed, but the number and orientation of the bullets is an homage to “Fist of the North Star,” a Japanese manga series starring a lone warrior in a post-apocalyptic world.
When Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) gives his address to the US Congress regarding his Sentinel program, fans likely had a feeling that the group of white-haired politicians weren’t all actors by trade – and they’re right. Among the men present at the hearing are at least two confirmed comics legends – Len Wein (pictured above), the creator of several of the most iconic X-Men, including Wolverine, and Chris Claremont, the writer behind the original “Days of Future Past” story.
One of the biggest laughs in the first X-Men: First Class involved a younger Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) attempting to recruit Wolverine to their cause – an offer he not-so-politely refused. The scene is played off quite quickly, but it clearly cut Charles Xavier deeply if he is still capable of remembering both Logan and his rebuff a decade later. Strangely, he flubs his attempt to repeat the sentiment word for word, but the nod is a welcome one to fans of the prequel.
Although Wolverine may not have been fighting in Vietnam (for whatever reason), several other mutants were. When Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) travels to see the quarantined mutants in Saigon, audiences are not only reunited with First Class team member (and brother to Cyclops) Havok (Lucas Till), but a few other notable young soldiers. There is a teenaged Toad – slightly re-imagined from his X-Men design – along with a tattooed mutant, and another bristling with sharp quills.
Since the X-Men universe has no shortage of spiked mutants, it’s hard to pin down the unnamed teen in the barracks, but his age and appearance make Spyke from the animated X-Men: Evolution a likely candidate (although his powers seem to have little to do with his quills). Far more interesting is Ink, the young man gifted with tattoos capable of causing a range of effects. In the comics, it was actually Ink’s tattoo artist who possessed mutant powers, allowing him to inflict violent illness, and in the case of the tattoo over his eye, powers similar to Jean Grey’s mastery of the Phoenix Force.
Son of Logan
It may be Magneto’s illegitimate offspring who are teased in the movie, but he’s not alone. When Wolverine is asked if he has any children he knows of, he replies that he “sure as hell hopes not,” alluding both to his promiscuous trysts in the past, and the lack of his parental instincts. It’s a simple enough joke, but a far deeper one for those familiar with the hero’s comic book fiction. As it happens, Wolverine has fathered no shortage of children across the Marvel universe (most notably Daken, son of Logan and potentially in the movie continuity, his Japanese love, Mariko). As his quote implies, such offspring usually causes him more problems than he would like.
In the course of the actual film, the character Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is granted next to no backstory whatsoever, simply visited due to Wolverine’s familiarity with the speedster’s future self. Even director Bryan Singer didn’t promise much in the way of Quicksilver plot, previously claiming that the character was introduced for “one beat” (his super-speed antics in the Pentagon kitchen).
Yet for those who know the comic book history of Peter Maximoff (the name shown on his mailbox), the scene takes on new meaning, as Peter is actually helping his father break out of prison. The relationship between the two mutants is never explicitly stated, but as a nod to fans, the speedster comments that his mother “used to know a guy” with Magneto’s powers, hinting that Singer intends to keep the comic book parentage intact.
Fans of First Class were left wondering just how much of the prequel’s fiction would be altered to fit the new established continuity, and Bryan Singer wastes no time in cutting off the excess. Once Xavier and Magneto are reunited and accusations of abandonment start flying, audiences are told that First Class characters Emma Frost, Azazel (father of Nightcrawler), Riptide, Banshee, and Angel Salvadore (whose wing was blown off during First Class‘ final fight) have perished.
Technically, Magneto confirms what Mystique discovered in Trask’s confidential research files, revealing the characters had been captured and dissected as part of his ‘research.’ While the tale of their deaths may have been rewritten, their legacy lives on. In the case of Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), it is his daughter Siryn who awakens the school with one of her sonic screams in X2.
Not an easter egg, but a continuation of a theme which has now cemented itself as a trope for both the old and new universe: Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr’s love of chess. Used as a peace offering in Days of Future Past, we can only assume that both are entertaining opponents, as the game is prominently featured multiple times in First Class, X-Men, The Last Stand, and now Days of Future Past. And in case anyone missed it, the board the pair played upon as friends in the prequel is still visible in Xavier’s darkened 1972 parlor.
When Xavier, Magneto and Wolverine crash the party at the Paris Peace Accords, a large painting can be seen displayed upon an entire wall of the meeting room. The painting in question is “La Liberté guidant le peuple” (“Liberty leading the people”) by Eugène Delacroix, featuring a robed woman standing upon fallen soldiers, meant to embody France’s July Revolution of 1830, in which King Charles X was dethroned.
The comparisons between Mystique and Lady Liberty (referred to as ‘Marianne’ in French art) fighting for a people’s freedom are clear, but this isn’t the first time the surreal figure has shown up in the films. The original X-Men featured a climactic sequence atop New York’s Statue of Liberty – itself a depiction of Marianne, gifted to the Americans by the people of France.
Director on the Set
The crowd of people who witness the world’s first public glimpse of mutants is a prime spot for cameos, and Bryan Singer didn’t miss his chance. When Mystique first bursts from the Paris hotel into the crowded square, one photographer capturing the events is actually Singer himself – making the same man responsible for giving the fictional world and the real one their first look at mutantkind.
Singer can be spotted filming Magneto once he emerges from the fountain, before the camera cuts to the older man (with hat and glasses) whom Mystique disguises herself as – played by Newton Thomas Sigel, the film’s director of photography who has held the title on Singer’s previous films, among others.
The Naked Time
One of the film’s bigger laughs comes with a quick cut to a close-up of William Shatner, soon revealed to be an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series being played in Hank McCoy’s workspace. But the scene is no coincidence; it is taken from the episode titled “The Naked Time,” in which the crew of the Enterprise is slowly taken over by a mind-altering infection. The crew is saved when a matter-antimatter explosion sends the entire ship back in time three days, allowing them to change course and avoid the same fate.
Son of Stryker
The character of William Stryker has come to embody much of the government threat facing mutants everywhere, first embodied by Brian Cox in X2: X-Men United. The character would later be played by Danny Huston in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and while one might assume he would reprise the role in Days of Future Past‘s version of 1973, Bryan Singer instead cast Josh Helman (originally cast to play a young Juggernaut).
When Major Stryker and Trask are discussing the future of mankind, the subject of Stryker’s son, Jason, is brought up. While the child is revealed to be only ten years old at the time, audiences know that Jason is, himself, a mutant; destined to face off against Charles Xavier at his father’s bidding.
First Class Keepsakes
Before Magneto begins his assault on the White House, he first retrieves his iconic helmet worn during the climactic scenes of X-Men: First Class. Among the relics stored in the Department of Defense alongside the helmet are a few other props from the film, including the coin he used to execute Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the uniform worn by Havok, and one of Angel/Tempest’s wings (as she had already been revealed to have been killed following the first film’s events).
Although the film never explains how future Wolverine regains his metal claws following the events of The Wolverine, his skeleton remained coated in adamantium. In that film’s post-credits scene which teased the coming events of Days of Future Past, Wolverine is shown forgoing an airport metal detector, knowing he doesn’t have a hope of passing. So when his past self and a young Xavier as well as Beast (Nicholas Hoult) pass through a White House security checkpoint, he acts somewhat surprised when he passes without alarm – since he won’t receive his metal skeleton for years to come. It’s a subtle nod, but one that fans won’t miss.
In arguably the most disturbing sequence of the movie, Magneto seeks to remove Wolverine from his attack on President Richard Nixon by burrowing steel rods throughout Logan’s body. It’s not a direct reference, but it would be difficult for any comic fan who witnessed Magneto remove the metal coating from Logan’s skeleton in “X-Men” #25 (1993) not to be reminded of the same sequence – albeit in reverse.
This is not quite an easter egg, but has been so hotly debated (and misread) my viewers that we feel an explanation is needed. While Magneto is giving his address to the media about the rise of mutants, a shot returns to Quicksilver’s home, as he, his mother, and a young girl watch the speech intently. Since the comics had Quicksilver as something of a one-two punch with his sister Wanda – a.k.a. Scarlet Witch – many jumped to the conclusion that the pink princess was actually the future superheroine.
Seasoned comic fans will tell you that the girl couldn’t be Scarlet Witch, as she and Quicksilver are twins. Bryan Singer even confirmed that the young girl is not Wanda, but he had intended to refer to the twin sister off-screen. The next most likely candidate would be Polaris, the younger half-sibling of the Maximoffs. Unfortunately, it is a father (Magneto) that the sister shares, not a mother, so Polaris’ presence in the Maximoff household would make little sense. But hey, even mutants can have perfectly mundane little sisters, right?
Kitty & Colossus, Sitting in a Tree…
Once all of the future has been ‘set right’ by Wolverine and his 1970s allies, the original cast is returned to the Xavier School, with Kelsey Grammer’s Beast happily greeting Logan, and even a shocking cameo from both Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Cyclops (James Marsden). Another cameo comes in the form of Rogue, now revealed to be engaged in her relationship with Iceman (since prejudice never led to them parting ways).
While that might leave Kitty out in the cold (pun not intended), a brief scene of her teaching a class alongside Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) hints that Singer has brought the movie world closer to that of the comics. On the page, Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin have been long-time lovers, with the Russian hero even tattooing her name on his chest.
The unfamiliar should head over to our full explanation of the film’s post-credits scene to understand what the Great Pyramids have to do with the future of mutants, but suffice to say that the grey-skinned mutant seen assembling the pyramids is none other than Apocalypse, one of the most iconic villains of the X-Men universe. Standing in the distance are his signature soldiers, the Four Horsemen, but what new story and fate Singer and co. are concocting for X-Men: Apocalypse remains to be seen.
Those are all the easter eggs, bits of comic book trivia, and subtle references fans can look out for on repeat viewings, but if you have any that have been missed, please share them in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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