[WARNING: The post contains SPOILERS for X-Men: Days of Future Past.]
Although X-Men: Days of Future Past gave Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) the short end of the stick in the eyes of diehard comic book fans, one former X-Man/Woman was left out of the action entirely. We speak, of course, of Rogue (Anna Paquin), who after standing on the sidelines of the fight in X-Men: The Last Stand was recruited by director Bryan Singer for his time-hopping blockbuster. Rogue was assumed to play a larger role, but wound up left on the cutting room floor. Now, screenwriter Simon Kinberg explains exactly what deleted scenes fans can look forward to, and why they were ultimately removed.
There was a great deal of confusion surrounding Paquin's involvement in the film from the moment marketing began to ramp up, with Singer initially expressing his regret at having to cut her "one sequence" from the film, despite a strong performance from the actress. Singer would later contradict that claim by stating that Paquin would be seen in the film (those who have seen it know it's a brief inclusion), yet she still seemed a central enough figure to warrant a magazine cover alongside the rest of the main cast.
Since the film's release bits and pieces of Rogue's involvement have been uncovered or deduced, but in an interview with Empire, writer Simon Kinberg sets the record straight on exactly what deleted sequence will be made available on home video, and his motivations - both for writing the scenes, and why they were left out of the finished cut:
"The Rogue subplot was originally there because I wanted a mission for the older Charles and Eric to do, something like Unforgiven – two last gunslingers, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman – that kind of a mission for them. I just loved the idea of that. Nothing in the story necessitated that, but just for a lark, I thought it would be a cool thing to see, because we may never see it again.
"When I initially wrote that, Kitty’s power was running out, and there was this super silly serum that was down in a farmhouse… it was terrible. I don’t even think it went to script, but it went to outline, and [First Class writer/director] Matthew Vaughn said it was terrible, and he was right."
The desire to feature Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in one last mission easy to understand, as the pair are not only two of the most integral characters in the X-Men universe, but two of the most esteemed actors of the group. As Kinberg notes, where the older Xavier or Magneto will factor in the franchise's future is unclear, as the premise of X-Men: Apocalypse implies that their younger counterparts will handle the 1980s action.
So if the former foes were going to launch a mission, how would Rogue factor in? Some have claimed that her power-stealing ability would have been used to grant Wolverine's healing to the wounded Kitty, but that adds a power to the young mutant without explanation. According to Kinberg, the solution was a much simpler one:
"Then I thought that if her power was winding down, they needed something stronger or someone who could take over her power. This came from a conversation with Matthew, which was about no-one having the same power as her but then realising there was someone who could take her power. I got chills. Rogue could be the McGuffin of that mission. They’d have to get Rogue out of some dark scary place, and that’s what happens. It’s a really nice sequence, and it’ll end up on Blu-ray some way down the line.
"But it does not service the main story. I thought it would increase the urgency and the stakes of the plot in the future, but it actually does the opposite, because it makes you feel like there is an answer out there. You think once Rogue gets here, we’ll have an unlimited amount of time. The ticking clock that we’d established with Kitty getting wounded and losing her powers… well, Rogue would show up and press stop on the clock. So for all of those narrative reasons, there was this ten-minute subplot that had to go."
The sequence alluded to by Kinberg was actually (partially) revealed in the first Days of Future Past trailer, showing Rogue being carried by Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and accompanied by Magneto. Kinberg fails to offer further details on where she was located, or why she was in need of rescue in the first place. However, a quick look at the most puzzling continuity issues and dangling plot threads offers a possible answer.
According to the film, it was the mutation of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) - the ability to alter her form to that of any other human being - that gave Bolivar Trask all he needed to craft his futuristic Sentinels. However, Mystique has been explicitly shown to be unable to replicate the powers of those she copies, so the Sentinels' ability to do so is left entirely unexplained. Until you include a captured Rogue, that is.
Since most audiences and fans seem willing to accept the unanswered question, Kinberg seems correct in stating the sequence was an unnecessary one (after all, Rogue being able to steal Kitty's power and send any team member days back in time to avert the entire crisis kills the suspense fairly quickly). And just so we're clear: there's no evidence that Rogue actually lives to complete the task.
Fans can look forward to seeing the full sequence play out when the DVD or Blu-ray of the movie is released in the coming months, and Anna Paquin's involvement in the future of the franchise remains a mystery. For now, do you think that Kinberg and Singer made the right call in cutting the mission, or would you have preferred to see it in theaters? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is currently in theaters worldwide.
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