At WonderCon 2014, 20th Century Fox presented select footage from their upcoming sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past. Of course there was the big white elephant in the room – which everyone chose to ignore/avoid (the panel was curiously the only one without any audience questions). The focus was strictly on the film itself. Writer/Producer Simon Kinberg was on hand to discuss adapting the beloved comic, getting time travel ‘right’ and making-up for X-Men: The Last Stand. For the full recap of the footage shown and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.
Much of the ‘new’ X-Men footage screened can be found in the ‘opening battle scene’ currently making the rounds on the Internet. You can see that here, if you so choose. The footage screened for WonderCon attendees covered a bit more of this beginning sequence — as the various B-level X-Men (Ice Man, Blink, Warpath & Colossus) attempt to fight off the Sentinels so that Kitty Pryde and Bishop can travel back in time. One by one each of these X-Men are offed. The Sentinels seem to have the ability to adapt to whomever their opponent is. When Ice Man freezes a Sentinel, it’s not long before the Sentinel has reversed the effect. Becoming super hot, the robot breaks free of its icy confines, grabs Ice Man by the neck and twists the poor guy’s head clean off.
Just to add insult to injury, the Sentinel than stomps on Ice Man’s decapitated head turning his noggin into crushed ice. Things don’t fare much better for anyone else. Colossus gets his arm torn off and then is beaten to death. Blink gets pierced through the heart by a shard of robot arm. Warpath is melted via liquid plasma. But their sacrifices prove worthwhile as Pryde and Bishop narrowly avoid the Sentinels, disappearing into the ether before the robots can get them too. It’s a well-done action sequence – but I can’t help but feel the intended gravitas of the scene is undercut by just how little I know or care about these characters. Ice Man is the only one of this group that has even had any screen time prior to film – and even that was miniscule. Thus there’s not nearly as much shock value to killing him (or any of the others) off during the first reel as the film perhaps thinks there is.
- Simon Kinberg on getting the time travel right in Days of Future Past: “It was the trickiest part of the screenplay. Everybody wanted to be as true to science as possible even though time travel’s obviously not real. James Cameron actually gave us some advice and some evidence for how to do time travel. We set up rules early on in the beginning of the film and we stick with them for the entirety of the [running time].”
- Kinberg on the pressures of adapting such a beloved comic storyline: “[The pressure’s] totally daunting. I was a huge fan [of the Days of Future Past] story growing up. This and Dark Phoenix were probably my favorite stories – and we didn’t do so well with Dark Phoenix. This film is our attempt to make up for the past.”
- Kinberg on the need for the past and future to have a distinct look in the film: “When you’re intercutting between the past and the future, it was important that visually they look distinct… The future is much darker while the past has much more lush colors.”
- Kinberg on Peter Dinklage’s performance as the villainous Bolivar Trask: “I’ve been a fan of Peter for a long time… I didn’t write Oliver Trask with him in mind – but when we were talking about who could stand up against James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender – there was no other option… He adds a real pathos to the character.”
- Kinberg on how the X-Men interact with ‘real’ historical figures: “We wanted to make the president more of a character. There are scenes between Richard Nixon and the mutants. There’s a pretty important scene between Nixon and Bolivar Trask. Some of the Watergate tapes that went missing may have something to do with the mutants.”
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23rd. Click here for all our WonderCon coverage.