The latest issue of Total Film magazine features an in-depth interview with X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST writer Simon Kinberg, who talks about tackling the massive cast of characters and giving each their time to shine, while also creating a “main” character arc. He also explains why Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) was chosen as the time-traveler instead of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page).
The biggest challenge handling a massive cast of characters:
“You have time travel, you have robots, and you have 10 or 12 real main characters played by Oscar, or Emmy, or Tony-winning actors.” says Kinberg. “They all need good drama to play and ideally some arcs to be able to track over the span of the movie. That was probably the biggest challenge, more than the time travel.”
How “First Class 2″ turned into “Days of Future Past”:
“After we finished First Class, Matthew Vaughn and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what we wanted the sequel to be. There was an idea that came from Fox asking us if we would consider using Ian and Patrick, initially just as the old Xavier and Magneto at the beginning and the end but not really tying them into the story.
“It was something that thematically interested us, but narrative-ly we didn’t really know how to connect. We were thinking about it as a pure sequel to First Class, still in period with that cast. As we started talking about the potential of Ian and Patrick in these small roles, I brought up to Matthew Days of Future Past, not feeling, frankly, that it would be possible to make the movie. But he liked the idea, and I would say we kept a lot from the comic book – somone being sent into the past to save mutants of the future from Sentinels.”
Why Wolverine is the time traveler and not Kitty Pryde:
“We made the decision for a lot of reasons, some of them obvious and some of them more nuanced, to make it Wolverine who goes back in time. One reason is that he’s the protagonist of the franchise, and probably the most beloved character to a mass audience. Probably the bigger reason is that when we started thinking about the logistical realities of Kitty’s consciousness being sent back in time, to her younger self, as opposed to her physical body being sent back… it was impossible.
“Obviously in the book it’s Kitty that’s sent back, but because we cast Ellen Page in X-Men: The Last Stand, you’re talking about an actress who, in the age of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, would have been negative 20 years old. So we started thinking again. The first reflex response to that was a character who doesn’t age. Wolverine is the only character who would looks the same in 1973 as he does in the future.”
The rules of time travel in “Days of Future Past”:
“Bryan came up with the time travel rules being that while the person sent back in time is back there, whatever they’re doing in the past doesn’t affect the future. There’s a sort of ticking clock, [and] when Wolverine wakes up back in the future, whatever he’s done in the past will take hold. The idea was that we wouldn’t be worried about every little butterfly’s flutter in 1973 turning into a tidal wave in the future.”
Young Charles Xavier as the main character arc in the film:
“For us, very early on we made the decision that it was young Charles’ arc, and that really the emotional story of the movie is watching him go from the guy who’s lost his legs, lost his best friend, lost his sister and in some ways lost his mind, to a guy who will become the all powerful benevolent Professor Xavier. So when you start the movie, McAvoy is really about as far as one can be from the Patrick Stewart that we know from X1, and we’re really watching him take the first big step towards owning that chair and being a leader.”