Speaking to Aint It Cool‘s Harry Knowles, Singer expounded on a few points about the film’s setting a storyline.
Most excitingly, the film will be set in the early 1960s, in the era of President John F. Kennedy’s “Camelot.” It was the time of JFK and RFK, of MLK and Malcom X, a time when the Civil Rights movement was just beginning to gain momentum. It was around this time that the first X-Men comics began hitting newsstands in the fall of 1963 and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to compare the conflict between the heroic mutants the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as an allegory for the different approaches to the civil rights struggle between Rev. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
When Singer brought the comics to film in 2000, he updated the civil rights allegory in the second film to reflect a new civil rights struggle, that of homosexual civil rights. (“Have you tried…not being a mutant?”) And there’s no denying that a rewatching of the films, with all mutants being branded as terrorists over the actions of a few, certainly doesn’t carry a new resonance today. But I think it will be interesting to see how the allegory plays by going back to its roots, setting the characters as contemp0raries with their analogues.
Singer also confirmed many details that were already being inferred by the casting announcements we have already seen. The main villains will be the Hellfire Club, lead by Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost being played by the previously announced Kevin Bacon and January Jones.
Other tidbits that Singer disclosed –
- The film’s storyline is not going to be based on the 2006 comics miniseries or the ongoing series that followed.
- Instead, we will see how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr met and developed the idea for a team of mutants heroes. Xavier (James McAvoy) will not be wheelchair bound at the beginning of the film, though I tend to doubt that he’ll remain that way all the way to the final credits.
- Founding team member Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean “Marvel Girl/Phoenix” Grey will not be in the film.
- Scott’s brother, Alex “Havoc” Summers, will be in the film, played by Lucas Till.
- The film will be an international adventure (the Cold War USSR is mentioned as a location).
- Director Matthew Vaughn is patterning much of the technology to look like/recall the Sean Connery James Bond-era films.
- The costumes will look more like their comic book counterparts than they have in previous installments of the franchise. And we will get a look at them fairly soon.
Normally, I would be less than enthusiastic at the idea of a franchise going back to the “origin story” well just ten years in to it’s existence (Spider-Man, I’m looking at you), especially since the X-Men franchise has done this once already with none too stellar results. But this certainly has some intriguing elements to make me over look the origins angle.