To say "Days of Future Past" is one of the most popular comic book stories ever written is an understatement. It's now the basis of the "X-Men: First Class" sequel, and I just have one wish: Don't screw it up.
"I can say it's being written right now and it will start shooting in a few months. It's going to be very ambitious," producer Bryan Singer told IGN. "It's called 'Days of Future Past' and it deals with aspects of that comic but also some very new things. I just don't want to give any of it away. Matthew Vaughn will be directing and I'm totally excited about it."
In the comic book version by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, the X-Men are visited by a time-traveling Kitty Pryde. She's hoping to correct her present (the future) by writing a wrong in the past (the X-Men's present). Confused? It's OK, just know what unfolds is a good story. "Days of Future Past," which has sort of gotten the cartoon treatment before, in the 1990s "X-Men" animated series and the recent "Wolverine & the X-Men," is often heralded as one of the best -- if not the best -- "X-Men" comic tales. When Singer confirmed it was going to be adapted for film, I was excited. Then I got nervous.
Being a fan of the comic book, I've appreciated some of the films, loathed others and despite how much I've tried, just can't be ambivalent toward them. I don't want to be nervous about this latest screen adaptation, but I am. I was delighted with "X2: X-Men United" when Jean Grey saved the team -- with Phoenix-level powers -- and then a fire bird appeared over the lake, teasing the third film. As one of my favorite X-Men, I was super stoked Phoenix would get her time to shine on the screen. Then "X-Men: The Last Stand" happened. That wasn't the Phoenix. That wasn't even Dark Phoenix. What was it? Pretty lame. (Brett Ratner directed, of course.) It's important to respect the longtime fans, those who will probably see your movie more than once, probably dressed up like a character, while creating a solid project. Certain aspects of stories don't translate well to film, which is understandable, but that doesn't mean the story should be disrespected. They're calling it "Days of Future Past" for a reason.
Time travel, which I assume will be a part of the story (yeah, I know what happens when you assume), gives fans a chance to see old favorites like Storm and Cyclops back on the screen. But more important, time travel gives the writers and powers that be at Fox the opportunity to reboot the "X-Men" franchise. As any genre fan knows that characters can't travel between time periods and not muck something up. One little twist in the time stream could negate the first three "X-Men" films and the executives won't have to deal with us fans getting all annoyed when something doesn't match up. Then Fox can make all the "X-Men" movies they want. Yes, it's a reboot, but it's one that makes more sense than just saying, "It's time for a new 'Spider-Man' flick. Let's do it!"
It all comes down to respect. Respect the fans, respect the source material and everything will be fine.