Director Bryan Singer is doing his part to keep everyone talking about X-Men: Days of Future Past, the followup to X-Men: First Class and potential bridge to the original X-Men trilogy. This past week alone, he broke the news about Peter Dinklage signing on to play the currently-undisclosed villain, in addition to talking more about the portion of the film set during the 1970s and teasing a showing at Comic-Con this summer.
Chris Claremont's "Days of Future Past" comic book storyline jumps back and forth between different timelines, while the script from Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand) and First Class director Matthew Vaughn - with input from Jane Goldman - is expected to do likewise. How closely it follows Claremont's source material is unknown, though we've been assured Kitty Pryde still plays an important role.
Days of Future Past allows Singer to step up his superhero movie game following The Avengers, in addition to letting him (as he joked with IGN) “fix s**t" after The Last Stand and First Class resulted in discontinuities between films. First Class cast members will be appearing with trilogy stars Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and possibly Famke Janssen and James Marsden as Jean Grey and Cyclops (though, Singer refuses to either confirm or deny the idea).
As far as time travel goes, Singer sees it differently:
The movie takes place at different times. It deals with, I don't want to say time travel, but time displacement. A form of time travel which is steeped more in the X-Men [mythos].
There's a key story element in "Days of Future Past" that Singer could be alluding to here, one which involves an older Kitty Pryde transferring her consciousness to a younger version of herself. 27-year old Ellen Page is reprising the character in Singer's movie, which may or may not deviate somewhat from Claremont's source material in that regard. Of course, Singer mentioned to IGN that "There’s another person that we’re negotiating with right now" for another role altogether - so best we don't get ahead and try fitting all the puzzle pieces together just yet.
Singer also went into greater detail about the Days of Future Past segments taking place eleven years after First Class:
The majority of it...or that part of it, takes place in the early 70’s, 1973. So Nixon is a character, and there will be different styles and automobiles. And there will be some futuristic, as well as retro, technology which you haven’t seen. There are science fiction aspects of the movie, and then there’s some retro science fiction that the X-Men films haven’t had quite yet. So we’re exploring that, which will be fun. And there’s an attitude [difference]. We discover our characters, particularly the younger characters, at a different place in their lives. Every character you discover in this movie is in a completely different place than you’ve ever seen, emotionally, and it's about them moving through that. Hilarity ensues!
He went on to answer questions about the prospect of modeling the X-Men movies after the Marvel Studio's shared universe approach, echoing the feelings of Fox's newly-appointed Marvel movie-verse architect Mark Miller about the sheer scope and population size of the X-Verse:
... I think that if you really examine the X-Men universe it’s every bit as big as the Marvel universe. There are lesser characters, but if you take certain characters there are a myriad of films you could make, and stories you could tell, with these characters as individuals. Wolverine being one of them, and that’s currently being done. But you could really mine this universe. I’m glad to return to it and I’d like to get more involved in it because it hasn’t really been orchestrated – somewhat with the Wolverine pictures – but I think there is a lot more that one can do.
Lastly, Singer confirmed that he and franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner are discussing the shared universe idea, but indicated he's more focused on preparing to begin principal photography on Days of Future Past (for now, anyway).
Bryan Singer is directing X-Men: Days of Future Past starring returning First Class cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, in addition to the X-Men movie trilogy actors Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, and possibly, Alan Cumming. No official word yet on Famke Janssen, James Marsden or Halle Berry.
X-Men: Days of Future Past begin filming in April for a July 18th, 2014 release date.