Last week we found out that the sequel to X-Men: First Class would take place eleven years later, specifically in 1973. That's only for part of the story of X-Men: Days of Future Past since the time time travel tale will also serve partly as a sequel of sorts to X-Men: The Last Stand, placing familiar mutants from the original trilogy into a dystopian future, or at least, an alternate version of the near present day.
While doing the press round for Jack the Giant Slayer, Singer revealed a few more details about the story, the production, Mark Millar's involvement, the returning characters, and confirmed that Days of Future Past will be the first X-Men movie shot in 3D.
In the books, the "Days of Future Past" storyline and the horrific future depicted in it are a result of a singular event where the Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto's team) assassinated Senator Robert Kelly (played by Bruce Davison in X-Men 1 & 2), taking anti-mutant sentiment to a whole new level and causing the creation of giant mutant-hunting Terminator-esque machines called the Sentinels. We know the Sentinels will play a part in the film, but the timeline and event(s) causing the dystopian future will at least be slightly different, namely because the "present" in the movie will be in the '70s.
"Yeah we have and part of it takes place in the 1970s. And Richard Nixon’s in it, that'll be an interesting casting choice. I can tell you that, that's a little confirmation I guess... and there'll also be some more science-fiction-type aspects to the story and, without giving it away, some technology that we haven’t seen yet in the X-Men universe."
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In chatting with Collider, Singer also revealed the specific dates for the shoot, one that'll make this project the biggest film the director's made to date.
"I start shooting April 15th in Montreal, probably until October. It’s a big movie. It’ll be the biggest movie I've ever made."
With only two months until production begins, Singer and Simon Kinberg are still working on new drafts of the screenplay and none of the talent have seen a script yet. Despite that, Singer's been able to spark the interest in many of the cast members from the X-Men trilogy and easily convince them to join, even though they're not contracted to.
"I got the impression that everyone was kind of excited to come back. The actors from X-Men: First Class are contracted to, but the ones I've spoken to are very enthusiastic. Jen’s very excited, I’m with Nick these past few days and he’s excited, and Hugh, Ian, Patrick, Anna—they remember we felt very good about those first two X-Men films back then and I think there’s a good feeling about all of us working together again, and I’m very excited to work with the new cast members as a director as opposed to just a producer."
This summer's The Wolverine is getting the 3D post conversion treatment and it was a no-brainer that X-Men: Days of Future Past would follow for the obvious financial reasons. After traveling to New Zealand for the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in early December, Bryan Singer chatted with guests including James Cameron - who may shoot Avatar 2 & 3 using 48fps - about the high frame rate 3D tech, and according to Ian McKellen, was happily impressed, so much so, that he was considering it for X-Men: DOFP. He won't be using the 48fps - which earned mixed reactions from critics and moviegoers - but will make the film the first X-Men movie to be shot in the native 3D format, explaining that the high frame rate would not "make sense for this movie."
Since X-Men: First Class told a story that was entirely different from the comics it took its title from, how close will X-Men: Days of Future Past stick to the storyline its based on?
"Well you have to capture the essence of those stories, and if you try to do every single detail that’s in this story, that can be too much for a movie. But if you can grab the essence of that story and those characters, and then realize it’s a movie it’s not a comic book so there are certain parameters that are different, it’ll still be satisfying to fans and non-fans."
Days of Future Past is a sequel to both X-Men: First Class and X-Men 3, essentially allowing Singer an opportunity to make sense of the awkward continuity in the films he didn't direct, tying them together within the franchise he brought to the big screen. Coming Soon inquired about the continuity and how newly hired consultant Mark Millar may be helping out in that regard.
"I wrote the story for ‘First Class' and produced it so this is a chance to not do a sequel to ‘First Class' or a sequel to ‘X-Men 3' but to do both I guess in a way. In ‘Days of Future Past' the story structure is a fantastic way to do that."
As for the bigger picture plans with the Marvel properties at Fox and tying them all together, potentially crossing over with Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot, Singer admits that he's surprisingly not met with Mark Millar who Fox brought on to consult on these franchises.
"I think he's working with Fox to look at some other stuff," he said when asked whether they've had any conversations about any more X-Men spin-off movies. "I guess they're trying to figure stuff out. I have my own thoughts about stuff like that. ‘X-Men: First Class' is part of that, this will be part of that but we'll see. But perhaps he and I will discuss that in the future. I'm just really focused on this movie at the moment."
Millar did however, previously go on record to say that the plan is to establish the new Fantastic Four before they start getting into crossover event films.
Bryan Singer will direct X-Men: Days of Future Past with returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, and possibly, Alan Cumming. No word yet on Famke Janssen, James Marsden or Halle Berry.
The Wolverine releases July 26, 2013 and X-Men: Days of Future Past shoots from April to October for a July 18, 2014 release date.