Matthew Vaughn’s ‘X-Men’ are heading to ‘Days Of Future Past’

Matthew Vaughn is hard at work prepping his next film in Fox’s successfully reinvigorated “X-Men” franchise, and thanks to someone sending in a tip to Ain’t It Cool News, we now have some idea of where they’re headed.

I called the MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau today to double-check the tip, and it is indeed true.  Fox recently locked down “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” as a title, and for anyone who is a longtime fan of the comics, that is very, very interesting news.

It seems strange to look back at some of what are considered the biggest and most significant storylines in comics weren’t originally published as mega-events like we see from Marvel and DC today.  When they publish something like “Civil War” or “House Of M” or “Flashpoint” or the various “Crisis” events, they make those huge deals, with multiple authors, with dozens of comics involved, with tons of hype, and those events drive the entire publishing year for the companies.

In 1981, Marvel published the “Days Of Future Past” storyline as part of the regular run of “The Uncanny X-Men,” and while it may have blown the minds of regular readers, it was hardly a major media event outside the comic world.  In the 31 years since, though, it has become one of the best-loved stories published during the entire run of the title, and for good reason.  Chris Claremont and John Byrne were on fire at that point, doing some of the best work that anyone’s ever done with the X-Men, and when X-Men fans talk about the overall series, many of the things they consider essential or defining about the characters come from Claremont and Byrne’s time in charge.

When Matthew Vaughn came onboard the series with “X-Men: First Class,” he was working under enormous pressure to get a film together, and he ended up delivering something surprisingly rich and robust in what had to be a difficult work situation.  Now, with that hit under his belt and the studio more confident about what he’ll do, Vaughn’s in a good position to try to tackle the storyline which was one of the stories considered for both “X-Men 2” and “X-Men 3” at various points in the development process.

There have been many questions about how they plan to connect these new “X-Men” films to the movies that Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner made, and while there are any number of story points that don’t match up if you pay close attention, it still seems like Fox has an opportunity to try to connect both versions in some fun and clever ways, and if they plan to do it, “Days Of Future Past” seems like the perfect place to start.

After all, this is a story that deals with alternate timelines and an attempt to stop one possible future from taking place.  When the future version of Kitty Pryde reaches out to the present version and shows the X-Men a world where Sentinels monitor the streets and all mutants live in work camps, the X-Men realize they have to stop the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from assassinating Senator Kelly, whose death will kick of a new era of mutant hatred.

The “X-Men” animated series in the ’90s adapted one version of the story, and they did another version of it in “Wolverine and the X-Men,” so they’ve certainly mined this material before.  The difference here would be seeing a live-action large scale version of it, and I’m curious to see if the future that Vaughn creates features some familiar faces.

After all, I’d pay $15 to see Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen side by side in matching Magneto helmets, and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

The “X-Men: First Class” sequel will arrive in theaters July 2014.