A whole lot of facts and 20 new images for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

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While a certain team of galaxy guardians may be stealing all the limelight lately, there’s another ensemble superhero effort that hits screens way sooner. Director Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is still on the way, boasting the biggest cast of comic book characters ever assembled together, and we can now not only get a number of new looks at said cast, but also learn quite a few new facts about the film.

Collider’s Steve “Frosty” Weintraub visited the film’s set during shooting, and got to spoke to not only all the cast but also the crew involved, and actually managed to learn 90 new facts about the superhero flick. You can go read them all at your own leisure, but I’ve distilled them down to the most important/interesting tidbits:

– One of the biggest changes from the original source story is that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and not Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde is the one linking the past and future timelines. This decision was made because it made the most sense for Wolverine to be the time traveller due to his ageless look and healing ability.

– Having the older Wolverine travel back to the 70’s adds a very interesting new dynamic, as the younger Xavier, played by James McAvoy, is “a darker, grittier Professor Xavier, in the angst of his youth” and it will be the older Wolverine who acts as his mentor, much like it was the older Xavier who acted as a mentor to the younger, wilder Wolverine.

– If you’re worried about Wolverine taking over another movie, have no fear: this will be Xavier’s movie, with McAvoy clearly portrayed as the film’s main lead.

– The film will definitely explain why young Xavier can walk again, and this healing will come with a cost. However, despite regaining the use of his legs, Xavier will choose to start using the chair again for a very specific, still undisclosed reason.

– Hugh Jackman agreed to his cameo in X-Men: First Class for a charity donation from Fox.

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– Here’s a breakdown of how long some of the cast were busy shooting on set, which will give a clear indication of how much screentime each of them actually has: Anna Paquin (5 days), Patrick Stewart (3 weeks), Ian McKellen (3 weeks), Halle Berry (7 days), Shawn Ashmore (a few weeks), Ellen Page (3 weeks).

– The film will cut back and forth between the past and future timelines, and Singer is using a different colour palette for each time, with the future being very dark and the past very bright.

– Singer says that the last 25% of the film is non-stop action, while the film has several intense dialogue scenes that are each 4 to 5 minutes long. Singer indicated that he’s “never going to be the kind of director… who just has action ad nauseum, or action and destruction ad nauseum. I just dont think it’s in me unless it’s motivated by the story and the characters.”

– Chris Claremont, who wrote the classic story on which the movie is based, will have a cameo in the movie.

– The film employs the same type of time travel mechanics as Back to the Future. Singer decided to create a set of time travel rules/philosophy before shooting so that the story could be more plausible, and director James Cameron helped Singer with this.

– Most of the film was shot in 3D, despite the fact that Singer “doesn’t really like or prefer to see films in 3D.”

– Singer is apparently a huge fan of Peter Dinklage and Game of Thrones, which is why he wanted Dinklage to play the role of Bolivar Trask, who along with his Sentinels are definitely the villains of the film.

-When creating the look of the past Sentinels, production designer John Myhre made use of the 70’s-style design of molded plastics (this helped to feed into the fact that metal Sentinels would be a problem with a magnetic mutant around).

– Nicholas Hoult (Beast) indicated that Singer’s directing style is much more different to the way Matthew Vaughn directed X-Men: First Class, with Singer being much more malleable, where he directs by feel a lot instead of just sticking to the script.

– Apparently during shooting, James McAvoy unexpectedly punched Nicholas Hoult in the crotch to get him to focus on an important scene they were shooting.

– James McAvoy feels that having so many main characters takes some of the pressure off the actors, however writer/producer Simon Kinberg feels this places a lot of pressure on him as he has to balance them all in the story.

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– Kinberg indicated that the film’s big focus is the future of the X-Men universe, with the old and new casts being used to decide where the rest of the films will go.

– Kinberg indicated that the difference between the X-Men films and other standalone superhero films is the togetherness: “[the difference between X-Men and] these other movies that are “Man” singular, is that it’s “Men” plural and you get the sense that it’s this dysfunctional family and these disparate people who are outcasts in their own lives, and they come together, and there’s something about an outcast on their own that’s somehow not quite as—at least for me—emotionally satisfying.”

– Producer Laura Shuler Donner’s mandate for the X-Men movies is that they’re all diverse, with each having a different feel so as to prevent X-Men fatigue: Vaughn made a Bond movie with First Class, James Mangold made a noir movie with The Wolverine and Singer will be “bringing back ‘classic coke’ by reuniting the classic cast from the franchise.”

– Donner, who has been heavily involved with 7 X-Men films, revealed that she and Singer have argued over the tone of the films, with him always wanting them to be darker, while she wants more lightheartedness.

– Donner confirms that just like Marvel, they have a road map/timeline of where all the future X-Men films will go, and not just the direct sequels.

And here are the 20 new images that Collider have released along with the set visit, which gives us another look at some of the new characters (including what may be the first look at the Maximoff siblings ie Pietro and Wanda Maximoff together). I still think Bingbing Fan’s Blink looks superb, while Evan Peters’ Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver and Booboo Stewart’s Warpath look… well, crap.

X-Men: Days of Future Past stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Evan Peters, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit, Josh Helman, Adan Canto, Anna Paquin, Booboo Stewart, Daniel Cudmore, Omar Sy, and Bingbing Fan, and is scheduled for release on May 23, 2014.

Last Updated: February 24, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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