20th Century Fox decided to give the green-light to X-Men: Days of Future Past in large part as a response to the success of Marvel Studio's The Avengers, since the latter has upped the stakes for the next collection of contestants in the superhero blockbuster game. It's perhaps fitting then that Bryan Singer - director of the two most critically-acclaimed X-Men live-action films to date - is at the helm for DoFP, rather than X-Men: First Class co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn (who was the original director).
Singer and Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, showed up at the 2013 International Comic-Con panel for Days of Future Past, where they presented never-before-seen footage alongside many other cast members (including the stars from the retro First Class and the modern X-Men trilogy). The front stage in Hall H has never been so crowded before in 'Con history, with big names in geek culture like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and Michael Fassbender among those gathered together.
Days of Future Past could, technically speaking, be considered to be both X-Men 4 and X-Men: First Class 2 at once. However, as Hugh Jackman told Access Hollywood in a recent interview, the project is in some regards even bigger than that:
"I know, having sat at Comic-Con on that panel with that extraordinary cast, I keep saying it's like two movies in one, but with the size of it it's really three in one."
The mid-credits sequence in this summer's The Wolverine setup Days of Future Past, but it's the latter X-Men flick that will blow the doors wide(r) open as far as the potential for Fox's prospective shared Marvel universe (something that Jackman seems to inadvertently acknowledge with his "three movies" comment). Singer's new superhero film is, in a sense, an experiment that will strive to tidy up the X-Men cinematic universe continuity, lay the groundwork for Fox/Marvel comic book movie events in years to come (read: a Fantastic Four/X-Men crossover), and work as a self-contained addition to the superhero genre on its own.
Singer's X-Men marked the dawn of the modern superhero film and established a full-blooded genre in the process, which was something that previous blockbusters revolving around costumed crusaders for justice had failed to accomplish (see: the 20th century's Batman and Superman live-action movies). Nonetheless, Jackman thinks that Singer can top himself with Days of Future Past:
"It really is going to blow people away because of the story. Bryan Singer, I think, is going to become the first director to make increasingly better movies in a franchise, I'm not sure if there's anyone else that's done it."
Jackman is a terrific salesman (see: how he effectively hyped the woebegone X-Men Origins: Wolverine a few years back), but it helps in this case that he's promoting a product that has a real shot at greatness... assuming it doesn't fall flat on its face while reaching for the stars, that is. After all, the screenplay from Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand) - plus the early draft contributions by First Class collaborators Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman - will need to be satisfying as a contemporary X-Men story, a compelling First Class narrative, a respectable big screen treatment of Chris Claremont's source comic - detailing Trask Industries' genocide against mutant-kind - and a decent setup for the X-Force movie that is actively being scripted by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2). It's game time, as the saying goes.
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What's your current outlook for X-Men: Days of Future Past: a game-changer in the making, a solid X-installment that is flawed, but avoids completely squandering the good will restored to the franchise by First Class and The Wolverine - or the end of X-Men movies as we know it (until the reboot anyway)?
The cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past includes new X-Men franchise additions Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto and Josh Helman, 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. James Marsden may be involved if witness reports are true.
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in 2D and 3D theaters on May 23rd, 2014.
Source: Access Hollywood