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"X-Men: First Class" felt to me like a Hail Mary pass, a last-ditch effort to figure out what to do with the franchise, and the creative and commercial success of the film seems to have surprised the studio tremendously.
Part of what happened with the film was based on time, or the lack thereof. They had a very tight production window on "X-Men: First Class," and in situations where that happens, there is far less opportunity for anyone to second guess a choice. Matthew Vaughn and his writing partner Jane Goldman crafted something that gave a shot of adrenaline to the series, and it's little wonder they've been brought back to work on the second film in this new series as well.
When word broke recently about the possible title of the sequel, we double-checked with the MPAA and confirmed that the title "Days Of Future Past" had indeed been registered as the title. That's exciting because, like with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the title immediately suggests a particularly well-known story arc from the comics.
Now, thanks to a recent interview with Bryan Singer, an idea is floating around out there that matches some of the recent rumors I've heard about the film. Singer hints that this movie could somehow connect the films he made with these new movies, something that would be hard to do based on the details that don't match up in terms of timeline and back-story. Sure, Hugh Jackman made a laugh-out-loud funny cameo in "First Class," but it seemed like a joke and nothing more.
This time, though, they may use the time travel aspects of "Days Of Future Past" to travel directly into the movies that Singer made, an exciting idea. That would mean we'd have to see the same cast from those movies return as well as the cast of "First Class," meaning there's a chance we could see James Marsden and Halle Berry and Famke Janssen and more, right there alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender.
I love it when sequels break the rules of what a sequel is "allowed" to do, and "Days Of Future Past" certainly provides that opportunity. I don't think anyone expects a straight adaptation of the story from the comics, but using that general idea to explore notions of what the X-Men world has been, what it could be, and where it's going… that's exciting. That's the kind of thinking that makes franchise films exciting instead of just another squeezed-out Big Mac. At this point, they could retrofit the things they didn't like about the first three films, bring everything in line in one solid continuity, and roll forward with two totally different timelines from that point. It pretty much gives them a blank slate, which is rare when you reach what is technically the seventh film in a franchise, since "The Wolverine" will hit theaters before this one does.
We'll see how this comes together, and we'll be paying close attention.
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