Bryan Singer, who is returning to directing the X-Men franchise with X-Men: Days of Future Past, has tweeted that Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart have joined that film’s cast.
McKellen and Stewart have played Magneto and Professor Xavier for Singer in X-Men and X2: X-Men United and for Brett Ratner in X-Men: The Last Stand. The roles were played by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy in X-Men: First Class, the film of which Days of Future Past is a sequel to. Fassbender and McAvoy have also been confirmed by Singer as returning from that film, along with Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast).
It seems logical that the casting of Stewart and McKellen confirms that the film version of Days of Future Past will partly mirror comic book version of the story. The comic book dealt with a dystopian future where a politician’s assassination by mutant extremists results in the government creating mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels. These robots ended up killing most of the super powered residents of the world. The few survivors come up with a last-ditch plan to save what’s left of the world–a powerful telepath would send the consciousness of one of the remaining survivors back in time into a younger version of themselves in the hopes of preventing the assassination and keep the dark future from ever coming into being.
Of course, some changes are to be expected. In the comics, the “past” was the present day and the “future” was the, well, future. Here, the “past” will be the 1960s of the first film, and “future” will be the present day of the previous X-films. The telepath in question in the comics was Rachel Summers, daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, a character not as yet introduced in the films franchise (and most likely will never be). And the mutant survivor sent back was Kitty Pryde, who in the film franchise would only be in her 20s in what appears to be the future they are using, and wasn’t even alive in the 60s. And the politician killed was Senator Robert Kelly, who already made his entrance and exit in the first X-Men.
Another complication is how X-Men: The Last Stand ended for Magneto and Professor X. Consider this a SPOILER WARNING for that film (although for many of you, that film was probably spoiled when Ratner signed on to direct it.).
At the end of The Last Stand, Xavier was seemingly killed by Jean Grey by essentially being disintegrated. And Magneto was given the cure that left him powerless. While the final scene of the film hinted that Magneto was getting his powers back, the button scene indicated that Xavier was able to transfer his consciousness into a younger man with a serious brain injury. It is highly unlikely this person resembled Patrick Stewart in any way, shape or form.
These are things that need to be addressed if Magneto and Professor X are to be active in the future segments of Days of Future Past. Any fan of time travel fiction can tell you numerous ways where this can be answered, so it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. But the answer hopefully will be more than “that film never existed.”
Singer ended his tweet with “more to come,” which teases that there could be more members of the original films’ cast making an appearance, a rumor that has been spread for quite a long time.