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Why are the X-Men in the past? How do they meet their future selves? Why is the future so damaged? Who is Apocalypse? What is The Matrix? The upcoming X-Men: Days Of Future Past and follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse sure are laying some heavy groundwork for Fox’s X-Men franchise, but they’re also giving film and comic fans a chance to ask a load of questions about some of the unpredictable elements emerging from this ad campaign. And Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg may be answering too many of them.
We get into MAJOR spoilers ahead, so tread lightly.
The most pressing issue for fairweather fans (SIDE EYE) is why the future Wolverine has his metal claws, given that at the end of The Wolverine, Wolvie had them cut off by the Silver Samurai. Speaking to Empire (via ComingSoon), director Bryan Singer is weirdly coy when he says that Magneto could, "reconstitute the adamantium claws… [Wolverine] has a different relationship with Magneto, and perhaps Magneto could forge them."
What’s this b.s., Singer? Either it happens or it doesn’t. And if there’s another shade to the Wolverine/Magneto relationship, it’s because of something that happened offscreen. Did they bond because they were both appalled by how Professor X treated Jean Grey? Do they text metal jokes to each other with accompanying LOL’s? Does Magneto appreciate that, given the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Wolverine participated in World War II? Regardless, yeah, it makes sense that Magneto COULD do this, but given that Wolverine has the bone claws in the past segments of Days Of Future Past, kind of a waste of mutant surgery, no?
Another question was why Anna Paquin’s Rogue received her own Empire Magazine cover, given that she was cut from the film. Singer’s original statements claimed that she was in one sequence, both Paquin and her character, and that it was excised. Is Singer singing a different tune now? Singer confirms the scene is still cut, but he tells Empire, "It does not mean that we won’t see her in the film." So, what does THIS mean? Why are we being so coy about such minor elements of this story? Is it a big deal that Rogue’s consciousness comes into play or something? Is a future WANTED poster of her going to be key to the story? Actually, that’s a pretty good theory. You heard it here first, please remember that.
And so… Apocalypse. Days Of Future Past leads into X-Men: Apocaylpse, of which we know not much about, aside from a release date and the creative team involved. Singer has stated that it would involve the X-Men: First Class squad, but even that seems a bit suspicious at this point. Bryan Singer, why won’t you let us trust you? Via Coming Soon, Singer says,
"One thing that interests me is the notion of ancient mutants. What would people thousands of years ago, without the benefit of science, think mutants were? And more importantly, what would mutants thousands of years ago think they were? Gods? Titans? Angels? Demons? And if such mutants did exist thousands of years ago, what became of them? Did one survive?"
Apocalypse, for those of you who need a primer, is perhaps the first mutant ever born, raised into slavery in Ancient Egypt. His origin is convoluted and involves many different possible avenues to pursue, though most retellings have the character, as his birth name En Sabah Nur, uncovering a wealth of alien technology that evolves him and informs his dangerous ideals about the rise of mutantkind against humans. It’s a rich backstory, and clearly Singer plans to do more than just touch on it. Days Of Future Past screenwriter Simon Kinberg also reveals that one of the biggest Apocalypse storylines could also be visited:
"Age of Apocalypse was one of my favorite stories. We like the stakes of it, and it feels like a story that could impact a lot of our favorite characters in big, dramatic ways. We feel it's a very different story from Days of Future Past. For starters, it's a very different villain, and the characters will be in very different places emotionally."
Well then… Empire, you’ve gotta press them on this. Is X-Men: Apocalypse an adaptation of the Age Of Apocalypse storyline? If so, that’s a HUGE deal. That story, from the 90’s run of the comics, found Professor X’s son Legion embarking into the past to kill a young Magneto and change time. Instead, he murders his own father, changing the course of history forever. Xavier does not lead the X-Men, but instead Magneto does, in honor of his friend’s legacy. Unfortunately, Magneto isn’t quite the pacifist that his friend was, and as a result Apocalypse basically enslaves the planet, turning major cities into rubble and scattering the remaining mutants into gangs. It also largely changed the Marvel universe as a whole: a powerless Peter Parker dies as part of "the rebellion," Frank Castle joins a monastery instead of becoming the Punisher, etc. It stretched over a full year, replacing all the in-continuity X-Men books.
Singer only confirms, "It’ll take place some time after this movie. What happens in this movie brings about what’ll happen in that movie." Could he mean that perhaps Xavier doesn’t make it out of Days Of Future Past? Could Apocalypse rise as a result of an altered timeline that takes the Professor’s life? In being coy, did y’all just reveal what happens at the end of this movie? Because Days Of Future Past creating a splinter alternate reality where Xavier doesn’t live not only gives them a chance to definitively pave over the continuity of previous films by basically erasing them from existence, but also gives their leading man a serious spotlight.
And that’s not Hugh Jackman, and it’s not James McAvoy. It’s Michael Fassbender.
It was Fassbender who totally stole First Class and it’s Fassbender who is the hot Academy Award-nominated actor. Jennifer Lawrence might price herself out of the franchise, and Mystique isn’t a central character to the mythos. But Fassbender has no franchise to call his own, and could easily become the new face of the X-Men. In the current comics, Professor Xavier is also dead, and the X-Men comics have made a pretty strict evolutionary leap in recent years to suggest that it’s permanent, with Magneto developing an uneasy relationship with the good guys. While Xavier remains dead, Magneto is about to debut his own comic, right in time for the launch of Days Of Future Past. Magneto is about to become the face of the X-Men series, one way or another, and Singer and Kinberg just told us how.
Was Singer and Kinberg’s reveal of this information maybe a response to the leaked ending of (more spoilers coming) Days Of Future Past, where Apocalypse apparently inhabited the body of Magneto, shades of the character Onslaught from the comics? Singer claims, "That’s not the case, and nor will that particular thing be in the film." But that rumor likely came from the feeling that Fox wants to stay in the Fassbender business, and giving him a central part in the franchise is best, given that Magneto is easily the most (no pun intended!) magnetic and complex character in the onscreen universe. Today’s movie fans want full access to the filmmakers, but in doing so, Singer and Kinberg might have given up the game.