Welcome back to 'Weekdays of Future Past,' our week-long analysis of what some fans are calling the best X-film yet - X-Men: Days of Future Past! Be warned, there be SPOILERS!
When it was first announced that the latest X-film would be titled Days of Future Past, most fans of the comic series were incredibly excited. Chris Claremont and John Byrne told one of the most iconic and beloved stories of the x-universe over the course of two issues, which saw a horrible future unfold for the X-Men. So of course, hearing that the same title would be applied to the seventh X-film got everybody pretty excited.
However, as news started dropping we began to notice a number of changes to the source material that seemed to make the film less of an adaptation, and more of a re-imagining. X-fans can be a fickle bunch, so these changes left a few fans questioning the film. Now, after watching X-Men: Days of Future Past, we can see that while it didn’t follow the original storyline all that much, it was still pretty fantastic.
But there were still a few important pieces and characters that we couldn’t help but miss, so today we will examine a few of the differences between X-Men: Days of Future Past and “Days of Future Past.”
The future world we see in the film is actually a fairly good representation of the comic future, although slightly darker in tone than the comic version. In the film we see quite a large selection of mutants fighting against the Sentinels, when in the comics there is a very small group of mutants, including the last remaining members of the X-Men. We did see briefly in the film a field of fallen mutants, but in the comic that was far more detailed, with an entire cemetery full of X-Men.
The members of the future X-Men are captive mutants Kate Pryde (formerly Kitty Pryde AKA Shadowcat), Ororo Munroe (Storm), Piotr Rasputin (Colossus), and their liberator, Logan (Wolverine). They are joined by Magneto, who at this time in the comics had never been anything but foe, as well as two mutants who carried on the legacy of the Marvel Universe. We’ll discuss them more in a minute. First let’s look at the cinematic team of mutants in the future. The film line-up included Professor Xavier, Magneto, Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Shadowcat, Colossus, and newcomers Bishop, Sunspot, Warpath, and Blink. Quite a considerable grouping of power that isn’t featured in the comic at all, but adds so much to the cinematic team and their fight scenes.
The two extra mutants from the comic that didn’t make it into the film were Franklin Richards and his lover Rachel. Franklin was the son of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four, and was a very powerful psionic. Rachel was later revealed to be the daughter of Scott and Jean Summers, though this detail wasn’t explored until later on in the comic series. The film version lacks these two important characters, one of whom was essential for sending an X-Man back in time to save the future. Of course, who that X-Man was is another big change from the original comic series.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine is sent back in time by Kitty Pryde in an attempt to change the past in order to save the future. This fits in line with Fox’s Wolverine-centric X-universe, but is completely different from the source material. In Claremont and Byrne’s “Days of Future Past,” Wolverine is an important part of the future efforts, as Logan isn’t captured with the rest of the X-Men. He was serving in the Canadian Resistance Army, fighting alongside Europe’s forces against the Sentinels that had taken over the US, before returning to break out the captured X-Men. But Logan is not the one who goes back in time to stop their future from happening.That honor falls to Kate (formerly Kitty) Pryde, whose consciousness is sent back in time to inhabit her younger self, all thanks to the awesome telepathic power of Rachel Summers.
This actually caused a few issues with the film that were hard to ignore, such as the unexplained new time-shifting power of Kitty Pryde (in the film she still goes by her childhood name), and the removal of one of the most iconic scenes of the entire storyline. During the final comic battle between the remaining X-Men and the Sentinels in the future, Wolverine is hurled towards the rampaging machine by Colossus, with what fans know to be the legendary ‘Fastball Special.’ While a fastball special usually marks the end of any skirmish, in the dark and gritty DoFP storyline it results in one thing – the death of Wolverine. As he flies through the air, he is hit by the Sentinel’s plasma burst, which fries all the meat off of Wolvie’s bones, leaving only his adamantium skeleton behind.
This small scene would have made for an astounding cinematic visual, but wasn’t included in the film for what we can assume are a number of reasons. No one wants to see the star of the cinematic universe turned to ash, and it would have added to the already shaky timeline inconsistencies, but it still would have been great to see included.
Another character making his appearance in the film is Bishop (Omar Sy), a fan favorite time travelling X-Man who never showed up in the original ‘Days of Future Past.’ However, due to Bishop’s popularity in the X-books during the ’90s, he was included in the adaptation of the storyline for the animated series. During that two-part episode, Bishop is the one who travels back in time to stop an assassin – who he believed to be Gambit – from killing Senator Robert Kelly. This storyline melded elements of Bishop’s own origin story with ‘Days of Future Past,’ and proved popular enough to warrant his inclusion in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In the film we are taken back to 1973, where following the end of the Vietnam War the countries involved met in Paris to sign a peace accord. This acts as one of the set pieces of the film, and is where Mystique plans to assassinate Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), which is what Wolverine was sent back in time to stop. To do this he enlists the help of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), along with some help from Quicksilver (Evan Peters) along the way.
This team differs greatly from the comic version, which featured a full team of X-Men alongside Professor Xavier. The X-Men at the time consisted of Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Angel,and Kitty Pryde, who was possessed by her future consciousness. The story also takes place much later in the comic, with the Mutant Control Act of 1988 cited as one of the first blows against mutantkind following the assassination. Mystique is also joined by her Brotherhood of Mutants, which consists of herself, Destiny, Blob, Pyro, and Avalanche. The Brotherhood fought against the X-Men while the assassination attempt was underway.
Of course, the assassination itself is one of the main differences between the film and the comic. In the film we see that Mystique is planning to assassinate Bolivar Trask, due to his creation and backing of the Sentinel program. In the comics, Destiny (alongside Mystique and her Brotherhood) attempts to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly, who is ushering in the Mutant Control Act. Mystique has her own knowledge of the future thanks to her partner Destiny, which is why she is inspired to assassinate Kelly. However, Destiny’s precognitive visions were being disrupted by a time anomaly (Kate Pryde). We’ve seen Robert Kelly before in X-Men and X2: X-Men United, played by Bruce Davison. The substitution of characters works very well for the movie, so no one is sure to be up in arms over the switch.
And finally, let’s talk about the finale of both the comic and the film. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, following the final battle with Magneto at the White House, Mystique chooses not to kill Trask, which results in a number of ripple effect storylines that completely rewrite the future of the X-Men. We are treated to a nice and comforting scene at the X-Mansion, the happy ending that felt a little off for a lot of X-fans. We are left with definite closure, yet the roads that lead up to that point are shrouded in mystery. A few more interesting teases are confusingly thrown in that raise a ton of questions (is Mystique Stryker now? How does Wolvie get his adamantium back?), but for the most part it wraps up the future version of the X-Men.
In ‘Days of Future Past’, the finale is not so cut and dry. While Kate Pryde – in the body of her younger self Kitty- is able to stop Destiny from killing Senator Kelly, her actions do not appear to change the future at all, though Kate Pryde is shunted back to her own timeline. Senator Kelly lives, but we soon learn that Project: Wideawake – the government-sanctioned construction of an army of Sentinels – is set to go ahead anyway, implying that Senator Kelly’s death actually wasn’t the main catalyst for the horrific future of the story.
However, much like the film, ‘Days of Future Past’ ends ambiguously with a number of possible avenues for the story to take. We know how a lot of those storylines turned out in the comics, but what will be really interesting now is to see where the film series will take it. X-Men: Apocalypse has a unique chance to explore an as yet unseen moment in the cinematic X-universe – the creation of the X-Men. After seven movies set in the x-universe, still having the opportunity to tell new stories without rebooting characters is a testament to just how many great stories exist within the X-Men’s 50 years of comic history.
How did you feel about the changes made to the source material? Were you disappointed by the absence of some characters? Excited by the movie additions to the team? Want to see more of Wolverine serving with the Canadian Resistance Army? I know I do…
Let us know in the comments section below or on the GEEK Facebook page, and be sure to check back tomorrow for more of our week-long analysis of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Images: Marvel, 20th Century Fox