[The following contains POTENTIAL SPOILERS for X-Men: Days of Future Past!]
Bryan Singer established the general approach for the the X-Men live-action movie franchise, and now he has returned to the director's chair for the darkest chapter yet, X-Men: Days of Future Past. The film is based on Chris Claremont's famous comic storyline and takes place in a dystopian near-future, where mutantkind has been hunted to the brink of extinction by Sentinels (i.e. giant robots programmed to capture and kill mutants) - forcing Professor X and his allies to take desperate measures, which involve going back to time in an attempt to change the course of history for the better.
With various mutants and X-Men being slaughtered like flies, it would be fair to expect that Days of Future Past will indeed show a familiar face or two getting taken out, if only to drive home the severity of the situation. Well, a couple of excerpts from the script by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand, Sherlock Holmes) has apparently found their way online, and they definitely suggest that dark times lie ahead for our heroes.
One such purported script excerpt was fed to Radar Online (via HNGN), which (if accurate) reveals that the film's opening sequence takes place in "futuristic Moscow" and introduces franchise newcomer BoBoo Stewart (Twilight) as James Proudstar/Warpath, in addition to fellow X-Men novice Bingbing Fan (Shaolin) as Clarice Ferguson/Blink. The two characters hurry to find and seek shelter in "a vast bomb shelter under the Kremlin," where several other mutants have taken refuge and built a shrine to their fallen brothers and sisters.
That is, when THIS happens:
[Removed at the request of Fox.]
Basically, Blink and Warpath and other mutants are seemingly under attack from above and can feel it coming.
While the described sequence (and the mystery source who provided it) ought to be taken with a grain of salt under further notice [Update: Fox asked us to take it down so...], we do have reason to suspect that it may in fact be legitimate. Just last week, nestled within our report on who Evan Jonigkeit is playing in the movie, we reported on another script leak that reveals that noble X-Men Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) faces off against an advanced model of Sentinel - and while the final outcome wasn't made entirely transparent, it was obvious that even in the best case scenario, Colossus would still walk away badly injured (if at all).
Why mention that? Well, Colussus' ties to Russia suggests that his battle with a Sentinel could be connected to the aforementioned opening scene in Moscow. Moreover, 20th Century Fox has since requested that sites like Think McFly Think (the original source of the leak) and CBM remove the revealing script prose, which indicates that it was indeed the real deal. As such, that increases the likelihood that Colussus' fight might well unfold in the battered and crumbling ruins of Moscow, as he defends his mutant brethren from another deadly attack.
Of course, on the down side (assuming this is all accurate), this might also signal that a number of mutants will only be used in a capacity where they are either killed or glimpsed just before being murdered by Sentinels, in order to paint a bleak picture of the future (basically, they'll be the Red Shirts in Days of Future Past). Heck, one fan-favorite X-Men has already been axed off, even before the movie's theatrical cut has been finalized.
Theoretically, the storyline does allow for many characters to be killed impermanently, given the decent chance that Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) can fix everything - once his consciousness in the present has been transported back to his 1970s-era body, so he can prevent some terrible event from setting in motion the death of all mutants. Indeed, the Screen Rant Underground Podcast crew has been speculating that there could be multiple trips back in time in the film (based on photos that suggest the possibility of different timelines), so there's a chance that we'll end up seeing a number of mutants die and - hopefully - resurrected, by the time this superhero blockbuster is over.
And if you think that sounds crazy, just remember - the Apocalypse is yet to come.
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in theaters on May 23rd, 2014.