The buzz and marketing surrounding Twentieth Century Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past is happily reaching a boiling point with early reactions from its first press screening yesterday promising that the ambitious project might be the series' best outing to date. It's a fitting response to tracking numbers earlier this week suggesting that Days of Future Past will have the biggest opening for the franchise yet, even bigger than this year's two Marvel-branded blockbusters that hit theaters already in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
And that's exactly what the studio ordered. After box office performances of franchise installments failed to surpass that of X-Men: The Last Stand - a film which had lasting negative effects on the series (made even worse by X-Men Origins: Wolverine) - Fox,with the help of Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn, went in a different direction with a '60s set period piece (X-Men: First Class) that re-introduced younger versions of key X-Men characters. For the followup, the team went way, way bigger, so big in fact that X-Men: Days of Future Past is reportedly the most expensive superhero film ever made, the second most costly production for the studio behind only James Cameron's Avatar.
Much of that has to do with Days of Future Past serving as a course correction for the franchise, bringing back Singer to the director's fold, introducing the Marvel Comics favorite plot device of time travel, and bringing back not only the stars of First Class, but pretty much every character from the original X-Men trilogy which began 14 years ago. Toss in the largest set pieces and action the franchise has ever seen, and the scale, scope and risk of the project is through the roof. But it's looking like it's all about to pay off come May 23rd when X-Men: Days of Future Past opens worldwide.
Fox is placing much of their resources in the X-Men and next year's reboot of Fantastic Four (which began shooting this week), having dropped Daredevil to focus on these two properties with the hope that they can build their own shared cinematic universe. Days of Future Past aims to "fix" the continuity as we know it, and with time travel, it can help set the stage for a quasi-relaunch (or a re-positioning) of the series. The next sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse already has release date for 2016, along with sequels for Fantastic Four and The Wolverine, and another unannounced X-movie.
What fans will see in Days of Future Past will lead into Apocalypse, the ultimate X-Men villain, the oldest of all mutants. With writer and producer Simon Kinberg signing a three-year deal with Fox to help orchestrate and build stories that span multiple movies, he's already talking up ideas for the followup, which he promises in an interview with SHH to be even bigger than anything else we've seen before. That means it's even bigger than Days of Future Past, a movie Hugh Jackman describes as three films in one, a movie that's the most expensive in the genre.
"We want to tell the Apocalypse story and there's massive scale and scope to telling that story. There's going to be set pieces that I suspect are going to be bigger than anything we've ever done in an X-Men movie before and he's a great character. The biggest and funnest challenge of the Apocalypse movie to me is his character. How do you create a new villain for the X-Men world that is as good as any villain that's come before, is compelling philosophically as Magneto, not just in his physical powers, but in his philosophical depth. 'Apocalypse' is going to be a fun movie to write and make."
We already know that X-Men: Apocalypse will continue with the core cast of First Class and will skip ahead another decade (again) to take place in the '80s. With the time period and setting, this means we could see younger versions of the original X-Men cast - including potentially Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm - as hinted at by Bryan Singer. We also know from a separate interview with the director, that he and the X-Men: Apocalypse writing team are very interested in bringing back Quicksilver - an apparent highlight of the film according to early word - along with fan-favorites in Gambit and Nightcrawler, who both weren't brought back after their onscreen introductions.
Are you excited to see Apocalypse make his long-awaited introduction? Will Mr. Sinister come into the fold? What's the mysterious unannounced X-Men movie? Is there room for the Deadpool and Gambit solo movies? Be sure to enter our X-Men: Days of Future Past contest for a chance to win a 4K HD TV from TCL!
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 for your X-Men comics and movie news!
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