The X-Men: Days of Future Past movie revolves around present-day Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) - not Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) like in Chris Claremont's original comic book story - getting his consciousness sent back in time to his younger self, in the hope that he will help to prevent a terrible chain of events that leads to a dystopian future - one where mutantkind has been pushed to the brink of extinction, by giant robots (known as Sentinels) designed to hunt and kill them.
It's an ambitious project and not just because it might well be the most expensive superhero movie ever (certainly north of $200 million); the time-travel plot device could help tidy up the convoluted X-Men film continuity, but it might just as well end up confusing things further, especially if speculation about there being multiple time-travel attempts and timelines proves to be correct. And that's not to mention the sheer number of characters, as nicely illustrated by the 25 Days of Future Past covers premiered by Empire Magazine this week (each featuring either a different human, mutant or Sentinel in the movie).
Many people were confused that Rogue (Anna Paquin) got her own Empire cover, seeing how Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer had previously said that the character was one of the first to end up on the cutting room floor during post-production (note: that was after the teaser trailer had been released, featuring a Rogue cameo). To refresh your memory, here is the relevant part of Singer's previous comments:
"... Unfortunately, [the scene we cut] was the one and only sequence Anna Paquin was in, the Rogue character was in. Even though she’s in the materials and part of the process of making the film, she won’t appear in it."
That quote seems pretty straight-forward and unambiguous; likewise, when interviewed by Empire, Days of Future Past screenwriter Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes) also clarified that "[Rogue's big scene] was one real sequence in the movie. We felt like it was taking tension out of the main story drive." However, at that point Singer went ahead and threw a monkey wrench into the situation, when he added:
"It does not mean that we won't see her in the film. Also, I hope to make the sequence available on the DVD as she was quite wonderful in it. She is an important part of the X-Men family. I 'm very pleased she will remain as one of Empire's anniversary covers."
After Singer's original X-Men movie explored Rogue's backstory - introducing moviegoers to the world of mutants through her and Wolverine's eyes - the character's significance to the larger narrative dwindled in the subsequent installments. While the news that Paquin's character may show up in Days of Future Past after all is welcome, at this stage there's little reason to expect that she'll be given much to do (not counting the deleted sequence, that is).
That wasn't the only tempting breadcrumb that Singer threw to Empire, as part of the organization's Days of Future Past marketing blitz. Fans who've been paying close attention to the footage and images released from the film thus far have observed that modern-day Wolverine appears to have regained his Adamantium-laced claws, despite the events that took place in last year's The Wolverine; when asked by Empire, Singer hinted at a possible explanation:
Director Bryan Singer explains that Magneto's ability to manipulate metal might have something to do with it. The Master Of Magnetism could, perhaps, "reconstitute the adamantium claws... [Wolverine] has a different relationship with Magneto, and perhaps Magneto could forge them."
During their Days of Future Past character design video analysis, Screen Rant's editors half-joked about Wolverine's metal claws being explained by a throwaway line of dialogue about Magneto fixing them; if that is the route that the film takes (as Singer implies), then hopefully the execution is more satisfying than that. Admittedly, the most intriguing - though also potentially messy - approach would be for the movie to include multiple time-travel attempts that give rise to different timelines (another idea proposed by the SR crew), as a means of explaining what seem to be discrepancies in continuity in the X-Men film universe.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is directed by Bryan Singer and stars franchise newcomers Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman and Evan Jonigkeit along with returning X-Men: First Class cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, as well as X-Men trilogy stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Lucas Till, and Daniel Cudmore.
Look for X-Men: Days of Future Past when it opens in 2D and 3D theaters on May 23rd, 2014.