The X-Men franchise is one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. With six movies released already, another one released in the next week or so and the latest, Days of Future Past, hitting a 2014 release, it should come as no surprise that the franchise has enjoyed the highs as well as suffered the lows. That is why, despite huge excitement from half of the fan base, the other half is looking at Days of Future Past with some skepticism.
When Matthew Vaughn was still attached he claimed that only one new mutant would be added to the cast and that the film would take place in the 70s, perhaps including the Kennedy assassination as a plot point. So not much would be changing, just a timeline shift. Then Vaughn left and Bryan Singer was brought back. A decision which itself split fans; yes, he made the critically loved X-Men and X2 but he also faced criticism for making Wolverine the centrepiece, banning comic books on set, ‘ruining’ characters and giving us two very poor superhero movies by leaving The Last Stand to make Superman Returns. As the man who first brought the X-Men to the big screen Singer immediately set out to bring back his old friends and subsequently brought back (deep breath) an older Professor X, older Magneto, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Storm while also adding Bolivar Trask, Bishop, Blink, Thunderbird and Quiksilver. Basically, took everything Vaughn had said before and did the complete opposite.
So Days of Future Past contains both X-Men teams. The originals and the team from First Class (minus a few of the characters Singer wanted nothing to do with, surprise surprise) and it will involve Wolverine being sent back in time to the First Class team in order to prevent the devastating future which the present day team now finds themselves in. A world where Sentinels have been created to eradicate all known mutants.
After Days of Future Past, what will happen to the teams? Does the X-Men universe then break into two strands? One containing the present team and one from the past? And where does the recently announced X-Force film fit into all of this? Presumably, the past team are able to prevent the destructive future from happening. This would lead you to guess that the film series would carry on with the First Class team as the team of the future would no longer exist, right? However, the sad thing is, I can see Days of Future Past ending with First Class doing whatever they need to and then the film skipping forward to this new future with the old team (or new team depending on how you look at it) and then Singer carrying on from there.
With Singer back at the helm and his first decision being to bring back the majority of people he had worked with before it does seem like if he stays in charge there will be only one direction this franchise moves in: Bryan Singer’s. The old team have been brought back together and it seems likely that this will be the one to go on, leaving James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult behind (although Fassbender and Lawrence probably won’t mind being as though they’ve actually got brilliant careers going for themselves). There are rumours that the X-Men franchise will be brought to an end eventually with an Age of Apocalypse film and if those rumours are to be believed then surely that will involve the present team and not the past.
The X-Men universe and continuity is already a joke. Therefore, having two strands of the universe going at the same time with two different teams, two different Xaviers and Magnetos seems on the whole like a horrifically bad idea. Surely, only one team moves forward, but which one? My hope is First Class. While I am pleased to see the original cast members coming back to get the send off they deserve after their reputation was tarnished by The Last Stand, that team has already had it’s day and told its stories; I want to see the younger Xavier and Magneto continue to transform into the people they become.