"X-Men: The Last Stand" wasn't a complete abomination, but it felt like a huge middle finger to fans who have been following these characters for years and years. It was as if Brett Ratner had the mindset of, "I hope you don't like the majority of the X-Men because most of them are going to die anyway. Also nearly everyone else will be cured of their powers by the time it's all said and done. Welp, here you go." "X-Men: First Class" not only got things got back on track, but is arguably the best "X-Men" film so far. However despite critical acclaim, "First Class" failed to bring in the $160 million it cost to make the film (it only brought in $146.4 million domestically and $353.6 million worldwide) which almost always results in the studio labeling the film as a failure. Luckily that wasn't the case here. The sequel to "First Class" entitled "X-Men: Days of Future Past," which is based on the popular storyline of the same name, is due to hit theaters July 18, 2014.
Late last year it was announced that "First Class" director Matthew Vaughn was dropping out as director for "Days of Future Past" in favor of directing Mark Millar's The Secret Service. Surprisingly enough, "X-Men" and "X2" director Bryan Singer is returning to the franchise and will be back in the director's chair. Since the "Days of Future Past" storyline alternates between the present and the future, this means we'll see characters return that we haven't seen since the first three "X-Men" films. In short, it looks like a ton of familiar faces are returning.
Singer had a two hour conversation with James Cameron and picked his brain about the ins and outs of time-travel. Singer has every intention of uniting this entire universe that's been created and plans to include the events in both "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "X-Men: The Last Stand" in addition to "First Class" instead of just the two "X-Men" films he was a part of as many expected.
So who can you expect to see return? Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman as Professor X, Magneto, and Wolverine. Also Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, and Shawn Ashmore as Rogue, Kitty Pryde, and Iceman are all back. It's assumed that Stewart and McKellen will portray the future versions of themselves since both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender will also be returning. Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) are also signed on, but Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert) and January Jones (Emma Frost) have yet to be contacted about a potential return.
Mark Millar, who is now a consultant for the superhero films of 20th Century Fox, recently confirmed that Kitty Pryde will have a sizable role in "Days of Future Past" and that the Sentinels will make their long awaited debut on the big screen. In the original storyline, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants assassinate Senator Robert Kelly in the future which triggers the United States being ruled by Sentinels. Mutants are sent to live in camps or are slain in the process. Kitty Pryde sends her mind back in time to warn the present day X-Men of the horrible future. Even though her warning is a success, her timeline still exists as an alternate reality to the actual one.
It's a bit disappointing that Matthew Vaughn isn't returning to direct, especially after "First Class" turned out to be as good as it is, but Vaughn has stayed on as a writer and a producer so hearing that he'll still have input on the project is reassuring. To be clear, Bryan Singer's "X-Men" films aren't bad. They're actually pretty entertaining, but "First Class" was just more along the lines of what comic book fans wanted out of an X-Men film. One of the only good things about "The Last Stand" is how depressing it is. "Days of Future Past" seems to be similar in that aspect, at least as far as its source material is concerned. What will be interesting to see since Singer wants to have consistency amongst these five films is if Taylor Kitsch is brought in as fan-favorite character Gambit. Right after "Wolverine" came out, there were a few articles revolving around the possibility of a solo Gambit film that never came to be. Seeing Nightcrawler return would also be a serious plus even if it is just to confront his father Azazel.
While hearing that the Sentinels will finally be in an X-Men film is incredibly exciting, there is a long list of villains that fans are dying to see in an "X-Men" film. It would be fantastic to see Apocalypse get introduced so Angel could finally become Archangel. Mister Sinister, The Brood, Legion, and Mojo are a few other villains that spring to mind. There's also a never ending list of characters that could be added to the team. Seeing Longshot, Magik, Cypher, and Warlock (especially Warlock) would be a dream come true. A particular favorite was when Emma Frost possessed Iceman to show him what he's truly capable of. What about an entire film devoted to Bishop's storyline? It's absolutely endless. Hopefully 20th Century Fox is smart enough to take a page out of Marvel Studios book and is starting to build towards something bigger. If it lead to Legion Quest and/or The Age of Apocalypse, then things would get really interesting.
Sources: worstpreviews.com, imdb.com, wikipedia.org, comicbook.com, jamsession.yuku.com, my.spill.com, marvelheroes.wikia.com, aceshowbiz.com, movies.about.com, thecinemasource.com, nativeaudiogrrrl.blogspot.com, hollywoodhatesme.wordpress.com, blogs.coventrytelegraph.net, totalfilm.com, marvel.wikia.com