X-Men comic writer Chris Claremont is responsible for co-creating characters such as Rogue, Gambit, Emma Frost, Mystique and Sabretooth, and stories written by him have featured in previous X-Men films, such as God Loves, Man Kills in X2 and The Dark Phoenix Saga in X3.
Another of his classic stories, Days of Future Past, is the main focus of the next X-Men film directed by Bryan Singer. Claremont recently spoke about the challenges he expects the filmmakers will face in turning his story into a film, and hopes the themes of racism, resisting oppression, and fighting for freedom remain.
“The challenge, I would think, for Bryan is that the heart of the original story is not the fight with the Brotherhood back in the present day. The challenge, the story, is actually what happens in the future. Getting them to the point where you can send Kitty back, and seeing the consequences of what will happen if they fail, and not knowing at the end how it’s going to turn out. You think it’s going to be a happy ending, but you’re not sure, because pretty much everybody dies — in the comic, anyway. You can’t not be invested. That’s pretty much most of my working life, dancing around or through the X-Men as a concept.”
“You could look at it as time travel, or you could look at it as pan-dimension. It’s all a matter of how you want to define it, and I’m sure they’ve got some brainiacs out on the left coast earning a small research stipend figuring out a plausible way of making it fly. That’s the fun and games of Hollywood. How the hell they’re going to fit it into 120 minutes, I have no sodding idea. I’d be looking on this as your basic 1974 film with an intermission.”
“In movies it’s a one-shot item too often. If we’re doing Days of Future Past, we need Ororo, we need Logan. OK, we’ve got Hugh Jackman, but that means we’ve got to get Halle Berry. I’m sure some accountant at Fox is going, ‘Huh? ‘We’re talking how much?’ On the other hand, you never know when a major talent is willing to do a Scarlett Johansson, and come in perhaps at scale, just for the fun of it. The really nice thing with Future Past is that you actually have a superhero film — much to everyone’s surprise, I will hope — that is about something. It’s about racism, I hope. It’s about resisting oppression. It’s about fighting for freedom and the cost of fighting for freedom. I will be fascinated to see how they weave the two together.”
It will indeed. Singer was praised for bringing themes of persecution and discrimination into his X-Men films, and I think those elements were lost slightly in all the others. In X-Men: Days of Future Past we’ll be seeing mutants hunted by sentinels and locked up, so it’ll be a great opportunity for Singer to latch onto that and show the plight of mutants in the future, and why humans don’t accept them into society.
Filming is expected to begin in April and last until October.