WonderCon: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ no questions, no Bryan Singer

April 19, 2014 | 5:30 p.m.
la ca 0326 x men days of future 084 WonderCon: X Men: Days of Future Past, no questions, no Bryan Singer

Sunspot (Adan Canto), left, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) prepare for an epic battle to save their kind in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)

la ca 0326 x men days of future 086 WonderCon: X Men: Days of Future Past, no questions, no Bryan Singer

Young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets his older self (Patrick Stewart) in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)

apphoto film cinemacon x men WonderCon: X Men: Days of Future Past, no questions, no Bryan Singer

Ellen Page, left, as Kitty Pryde and Shawn Ashmore as Iceman in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” director Bryan Singer had been scheduled to take the WonderCon stage Saturday to tout his upcoming mutant sequel. But Singer canceled his promotional plans in the wake of a teen sex abuse lawsuit filed against him this week. So it was writer-producer Simon Kinberg who spoke to fans about the film, stirring excitement with an extended clip showing mutants of the future, including Sunspot and Iceman, facing off against the destructive Sentinels.

Notably, no audience questions were allowed during the “X-Men” portion of Fox’s arena presentation.

“Days of Future Past” adapts one of the most popular storylines from “X-Men” history, a two-part story from Chris Claremont and John Byrne that originally ran in 1980. The story takes place in two time periods: in a dystopian future in which mutants are hunted by the deadly Sentinels, and in the 1970s, shortly after the events of Matthew Vaughn’s recent prequel “X-Men: First Class.”

Kinberg avoided mention of any controversy, kicking things off with the dark and thrilling scene that recalled Singer’s mastery of depicting multiple mutant powers interacting effectively in a quick action sequence.

Kinberg said the film features the largest number of X-Men assembled in any of the films so far.

“On some days there were 12 names on the call sheet that were all major characters from the franchise,” Kinberg said.

One of the promised highlights of the film is seeing the original cast and the “First Class” cast in the same story, though not necessarily onscreen together. However, one scene will feature the younger Professor X, played by James McAvoy, interact with future Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart.

Kinberg revealed that scene was shot during McAvoy’s first day on set.

Kinberg, who has been involved with the “X-Men” films since “The Last Stand,” said that the last time the team attempted a fan-favorite storyline — the Dark Phoenix saga in the third “X” movie, which was directed by Brett Ratner — it wasn’t treated with the proper importance.

“This is our attempt to right the wrongs of the past,” he said.

To make sure the time travel elements were handled appropriately, the team consulted James Cameron for advice on how to best deal with that aspect of the narrative.

“He gave us advice and scientific evidence to study,” Kinberg said (and pointed out that, of course, time travel isn’t possible, even for Cameron).

Like “First Class,” Kinberg said, “Days of Future Past” would continue to have fun with real U.S. history. In this case, it’s President Nixon who will make a cameo in the film, interacting with the mutants and finally giving us the “real story” behind those actual missing tapes recorded in the Oval Office.

Don’t expect Nixon to be a villain.

“It’s complicated,” Kinberg said.

– Patrick Kevin Day

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