ANAHEIM - Simon Kinberg had an unexpected trip to WonderCon on Saturday. The "X-Men: Days of Future Past" screenwriter and producer stepped in for director Bryan Singer who finds himself in the middle of a publicity nightmare surrounding abuse allegations that took place almost 14 years ago. It's a rare moment in the spotlight for Kinberg who, in many ways, has become the key man on 20th Century Fox's superhero movies.
Kinberg wrote the dreadful "X-Men: The Last Stand," but redeemed himself five years later as a producer on "X-Men: First Class" and is both the writer and producer of Fox's buzzworthy "Fantastic Four" reboot. Today, however, he's sitting down to talk about "Days of Future Past" and, happily, he hasn't succumbed to answering questions with just studio talking points (oh, there's time).
The latest "X-Men" extravaganza is one of the most anticipated movies of the year and for a variety of reasons. Yes, moviegoers are excited about seeing the original "X-Men" movies casts interact with their younger "First Class" counterparts. Yes, the movie now boasts three Oscar winners (Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence), four other nominees (Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, Ellen Page), a Lord Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), a former captain of the Enterprise (Patrick Stewart) and a most "Wanted" man (James McAvoy), among others (that's arguably more star power than "The Avengers").
What has many longtime X-Men fans excited, however, are the possible consequences of the film's time traveling storyline. In order to change an apocalyptic present, Wolverine returns to 1973 to try and convince the younger versions of Magneto and Prof. Xavier to stop Bolivar Trask's Sentinel program before it sets of a chain of events that will spin the world into ruin. If Wolverine succeeds it goes without saying the "future" would change. That means a number of things in the movie franchise's cannon including the unfortunate events of "The Last Stand" (which didn't sit well with many) could be undone. With Fox having already announced "X-Men: Apocalypse" as a follow up, many have speculated the studio may figure out a way to combine the best of both casts. Well, Kinberg's remarks suggest fans may want to lower their expectations on a reboot quite a bit.
"Certainly things that take place in 'Days of Future Past' in the past have an impact on the future," Kinberg says. "That's the whole point of the plot and, I can say, in at least the vaguest of terms there care repercussions from what happens in 1973 that ripple all the way forward in time. Which means they would ripple through the time periods of the original 'X-Men' movies. That's a vague answer to your question."
As for when 'Apocalypse' takes place, Kinberg states, "It really follows the 'First Class' cast. Meaning it is a sequel that will feature McAvoy, Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nic Hoult and that cast. It is not a sequel that would necessarily feature Ian, Patrick, Halle and the original cast. It would take place roughly between the past of 'Days of Future Past' and when 'X-Men' first started."
Notably, Kinberg left out Jackman's name there, but the gist of his response is that the rising box office notoriety of the "12 Years A Slave" star and J-La is expected to carry the franchise into the future. Even if that means "Apocalypse" story occurs in the late '70s or '80s. Then again, it took quite awhile for the classic X-Men comic book storyline to become the basis of what was always seen as a "First Class" sequel.