Mark Millar has obviously discovered the trick to cloning human beings, and he’s used himself as a test subject. Sure, I can’t prove that, but it’s really the only possible explanation for his omnipresence right now.
He’s got new comic titles dropping constantly, he edits CLiNT magazine, he curates the annual Kapow! event, and now he’s also employed by 20th Century Fox, who brought him in to help create a cohesive world for their Marvel properties. That last job is the one I’m most curious about, because Millar is, by his very nature, a deconstructionist. Much of his work has been about pulling these icons apart and reassembling them in new ways.
As Fox gets ready to make “X-Men: Days Of Future Past,” it feels like this is a make or break moment for their franchise. I like most of the movies that have been made about the X-Men so far, but I think they’re in a weird position right now. Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” essentially rebooted the film universe, and in doing so, made several choices that ignored the continuity of the Singer films and Ratner’s “Last Stand,” while also doing a few things that tied directly into the Singer films.
Using “Days Of Future Past” as the foundation for this next film is brilliant, because it allows them to shake up the franchise and then lay down one single unified continuity moving forward. Basically, it’s the same sort of move that JJ Abrams made with “Star Trek” in 2009, and if they pull it off, it’s not only going to be a great movie on its own, but an important part of managing the property moving forward.
SFX magazine just sat down with Millar, who was forthcoming about some of the thoughts they’re having on the film as they get ready to start shooting soon. Millar addresses one of the key concerns I have about the movie, which is simple overcrowding. After all, as we laid out in our recent gallery, they’ve got a ton of names already announced for the film, and juggling that many characters can be tricky. “Singer is excellent at working with ensemble casts,” he said, “so with this one, I feel it is all fine. I have read the screenplay and it doesn’t feel rushed and it doesn’t feel like it is too many characters.”
That’s exciting. Even more exciting? We’re finally getting Sentinels. I was just having this conversation two days ago with a couple of people, and we were wondering if they would finally go for it now that Tom Rothman is gone. It was a case of personal preference that kept the Sentinels offscreen up till now, and I’ve never really understood what Rothman’s problem with them was. If you’re making a movie where one of your heroes has metal claws that pop out of his hand and you have another guy with laser beam eyes and a bad guy who can bend metal with his mind, why are giant robots the line in the sand? Whatever the case, Millar said, “I don’t really want to give too much away but the Sentinels are a big feature of this story.” Hooray. That is tremendous news.
And for fans of one of the most-loved characters from the comics who has so far been sadly underused onscreen, Millar has this to say. “Kitty Pryde fans will not be disappointed.” Again, that is fantastic news.
Millar hints that the X-Men universe could be expanded through new spin-off films, and this is what I’ve been saying from the start. This is the biggest franchise Fox owns, but only if they manage it right. If they get both “Days Of Future Past” and “The Wolverine” right, it will be a major course-correction for the series and for the characters, and it sets Fox up to move ahead with a stronger, smarter X-Men series.
We don’t have long to wait to find out how things shake out. “The Wolverine” arrives in theaters July 26, 2013, and just under a year later, “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” is set for a July 17, 2014 release.