<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama/>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p><b>X-Men: Days of Future Past</b> is scheduled to start filming next month, and if you're one of the many following director Bryan Singer's highly newsworthy Twitter, you know that sets are being built and the cast is pretty huge (and seemingly growing every couple of days). <p>Given the merging of the original three films and 2011's <i>First Class</i>, and the fact that it's based on one of the most beloved X-Men stories of all time (Chris Claremont and John Byrne's 1981 original), there's definitely a high level of interest around this film, scheduled for release on July 18, 2014. <p>So as we tend to do from time to time, here's a little unsolicited advice to Singer and his crew, in the form of 10 things we want from <b>X-Men: Days of Future Past</b>. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>
Congratulations to young Jennifer Lawrence for all she's accomplished. She's headlining the next major young adult franchise, she's won all sorts of awards including the Oscar, for her role in <i>Silver Linings Playlist</i> and she is just plain <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLKZb1wLmAY>adorable and undeniably likable</a> on top of all her talent. <p><p>But that doesn't mean Mystique needs to be a major, featured character in the story of "Days of Future Past." Now, if there is an assassination involved (and come on, there has to be), it certainly seems likely that a shapeshifter might be heavily involved. But don't shoehorn her in just because her portrayer is an Oscar winner now. If she fits, great, but let's not pull a "Storm" here, OK?
In 2000, the original <b>X-Men</b> film ushered in the tradition of more practical superhero costumes variations on black leather, since outfits like Wolverine's classic yellow and blue were deemed too garish for the big screen. <p>That ended up influencing the comic books themselves, with series like Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly's <i>New X-Men</i> also developing a more practical look. But change in comic books is almost always cyclical, and brighter costumers were re-embraced in Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's <i>Astonishing X-Men</i> and in the movies, too. The upcoming <i>Amazing Spider-Man</i> sequel will see the title character in duds closer than ever to the comics, and the $1.5 billion Avengers saw an Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all pretty close to their in-print counterparts (though Hawkeye's classic look is evidently still not ready for live action). <p>So given all of that, maybe it's time to see some of these X-Men a little closer to the way fans have known them on panel. (Though you probably shouldn't hold your breath if you're expecting to see Hugh Jackman in a mask anytime soon.)
While we appreciate having a real face underneath the blue fur in both <i>The Last Stand</i> and <i>First Class</i>, the manifestation of the Hank McCoy's powers has been mostly limited to wire and springboard stunts, and us comic books fans know the Beast is much more capable than that. <p>Hell, even big-screen Spider-Man is mostly CG-rendered these days and Spidey doesn't have anything on Hank in the strength and agility department. <p>So while we'd like to see Nicholas Hoult under the make-up again for those close-ups, here's hoping when the action kicks up we also get to see a much faster, stronger, more agile Beast this time around.
While it's good Bryan Singer is getting the band back together (well, mostly good, feel free to have Halle Berry's Storm die a meaningful, noble death before the credit sequence is over), we hope he also remembers the spirit of the X-Men has always been youth. That's why it's always been set in a school. <p>Yes, we're glad to have Hugh Jackman back, but we'd also like to see the torch passed in the present day timeline to the younger generation in a genuine way. Whether that's an appearance by a New Mutants squad at the end setting up a continuation of the franchise, or simply Kitty, Iceman and Colossus (if he ends up in the film) stepping up in a big way, its time for the first class and the master class to step aside for a new, younger class.
The original X-Men films obviously had Jean Grey and Scott Summers as an established couple, and Wolverine throwing a bit of drama into their dynamic, as seen in the comic books for years. <P><i>X-Men: First Class</i> was pretty much bereft of any love story, with the two most important relationships both platonic: Xavier and Magneto, and Xavier and Mystique. <p>With all the time traveling and characters being fit into <b>Days of Future Past</b>, Bryan Singer and company might want to see if there's any space to fit some romance into the film, to help give it a solid emotional center.
It started with <i>Iron Man</i>, sure, but Joss Whedon's <i>Avengers</i> really proved the point: comedy can and should exist in superhero action movies. We know that the mutant condition is all about being hated and feared, but would a laugh or two hurt? <p>The thing about the <i>X-Men</i> films is that while there are moments or causes to cheer on, there haven't really been <i>people</i> to cheer for, and part of that is in simple likability. The quick wit, a joke, a quip, can do wonders to make a character relatable, and it lets you remember that these characters can be used for <i>fun</i> stories, not just epic dramas. Don't drop the action or the tension, but don't be scared to relieve it a little sometimes, too.
The Sentinels are the face of mutant hatred, and one of the most quintessential parts of the X-Men mythos. But when it comes to <B>X-Men</B> movies, they've been teased only in the briefest of moments. But if this adaptation of Days of Future Past is to work, then these extra-sized soldiers need to be a big part of that. <p>In Bryan Singer's inaugural <B>X-Men</B> movie, the Sentinels appeared in an early draft but were cut, apparently for budgetary reasons. They were also planned for <b>X2</b>, but were excised with only the barest traces left: a mention of Project Wideawake on a computer screen, and sketches for them in the extras of the DVD. In the third movie, <B>X-Men: The Last Stand</B>, we saw a Sentinel on the screen for the first time, but it was merely a Danger Room simulation with only a head visible. <p>Given the original <b>Days of Future Past</b> comic book story, Sentinels would fit naturally in a film adaptation, patrolling the skies, fighting mutants and showing that epic barbecuing of Wolverine.
Since it was announced that Bryan Singer was returning to the <B>X-Men</B> franchise and adapting the lauded Days of Future Past, we've been inundated with welcomed news of returning cast members from both the original trilogy and the <B>X-Men: First Class</B> movie. But with eleven returning actors confirmed, along with debuts from Peter Dinklage and Omar Sy, it leads some to worry that this stage may not be able to hold them all. <p>Obviously not all of them will be in the lead roles, but I'd argue that Singer and co. be very precise about balancing the desire for cameos and easter eggs with keeping a firm and linear narrative going. We've all seen <B>X-Men: The Last Stand</B> and saw how an immense cast can weigh down a story, and while seeing some returns and some characters in both their younger and older years is rewarding, let's not let that get in the way of telling a great story of time travel and mutantkind.
Look, we know that "Days of Future Past" told a bit of a weird time travel story, using the projection of Kitty Pryde's consciousness in place of actual time travel. Then there was the <i>X-Men: The Animated Series</i> adaptation that threw Bishop into the mix. And there's the slight strangeness of having the "future" characters be in the present day, and us not actually having time travel yet. <p>Hey, we didn't have time travel in 1985, either, did we? <p>So forget all that, and just keep it simple. In fact, borrow from another long-standing sci-fi franchise, Doctor Who. In that series, time travel is simply a thing they have, and it lets them move the story forward, no long explanations necessary. That's exactly how to approach it here: We need to fix the future, so we're going back in time. After all, it's a world where a woman can call lightning from the sky, a man can propel hundreds of missiles with a wave of his hand, and a child can alter her appearance to look like anyone on the planet. With that in mind, time travel isn't so crazy.
<i>X-Men: The Last Stand</i> nearly killed the franchise. They had so very many good ideas, so many great stories to pull from - some real classics. You had elements of stories from Joss Whedon, and Chris Claremont, and characters fans desperately wanted to see. And it was all crammed together in one disjointed movie. <i>X-Men: Origins: Wolverine</i> went a step further and so dramatically altered a character that they forgot the guy known as "the merc with the mouth" needed... you know, a mouth. <p>We just told you that when it comes to Time Travel, you should keep it simple. That's actually what you need to think about for the whole movie. "Days of Future Past" is already a great story, all on its own. Sure, you need to alter it a bit to make it work with these two casts and timeframes. You need to take a character out here and throw a new one in there. But when you try to please everyone, you wind up pleasing no one. <i>X-Men: First Class</i> saved you. Don't pay them back by making things too convoluted.