June 04, 2013

Richard Nixon the "nexus" of Days of Future Past?

Bleeding Cool has a pic of the Oval Office from next year's sure-to-be-blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past. The guy behind the desk is obviously ... Richard Nixon. It's already been established that the film will take place in the early 1970s; it'll be curious if Watergate will play into the film considering 1) X-Men First Class director Matthew Vaughn has already been shown to be somewhat of a Kennedy assassination truther, and 2) the current situation with Boss Obama and all his scandals. It wouldn't be surprising if Marvel's Merry Mutants figure into the scandal which brought down Nixon; First Class had the mutants being key figures in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"Days of Future Past" remains one of the all-time classics not only in X-Men lore, but in that of comics in general. Creators Chris Claremont and John Byrne showed how a terrifically intricate tale could be told in one title, and in two issues. They didn't need a ridiculously drawn-out crossover across multiple titles and innumerable issues.

The comicbook tale actually takes place about eight years later than what will be seen in next year's film: 1980. It centers around Senator Robert Kelly (seen in the first X-Men film) and his assassination by the Mystique-led Brotherhood (of Evil) Mutants in that year. Thirty-three years in the future (ironically, our current year of 2013), we witness a dystopic technologically-regressed United States in which mutants are either all dead or imprisoned. Humans with mutant potential are carefully watched and regulated. How did all this come about? Because, as a result of Kelly's murder by the Brotherhood, like a domino effect, one thing led to another against mutantkind, ultimately ending up with the robotic Sentinels taking over North America and ruling it -- for the "good" of human[ity].

The human-protecting Sentinels.

Some of the few mutants left alive in 2013 include Magneto, Colossus, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Franklin Richards (son of the Fantastic Four's Reed and Sue Richards), and Wolverine. There's also Rachel Summers (daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey), a powerful psionic who has devised a plan: She will use her mental powers to place the mind of 2013 Kitty Pryde with that of her 1980 younger self. If successful, Pryde will convince the X-Men of her mission, prevent the assassination of Senator Kelly, and then -- hopefully -- the dystopian anti-mutant future will cease to exist.

Summers' efforts are successful. Kitty's minds trade places, and the adult version (now in 1980) convinces the X-Men of why she is there and what the team needs to do. The X-Men set out for Washington DC to thwart Mystique's plan, and the first issue's closing panels show the clear surprise of the Brotherhood at the X-Men being in DC. But they're no less determined to kill Senator Kelly!

The second issue is mainly an all-out donneybrook between to the two teams. Those familiar with the X-Men films but not so much the comics may recognize a few characters aside from the obvious: Pyro (played by Aaron Stanford in the films) has a flashy costume and is British, and the Blob (played by Kevin Durand in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who's enormously obese and whose only weakness is Wolverine's claws. The X-Men are ultimately successful in preventing Kelly's murder; however, the visceral fear of mutants still surfaces as a result of the massive battle between the two mutant teams. The waning panels witnesses Sebastian Shaw (played by Kevin Bacon in First Class) suggesting to Senator Kelly a ... "remedy" for controlling mutants: Sentinels. Thus, we're left pondering whether the X-Men and the future Kitty Pryde really were successful in preventing the dystopian future.

(Side note: Of course, using multiverse theory, the dystopian future of "Days" did continue to exist in Marvel lore, known as Earth-811. However, Rachel Summers later traveled to the past herself to join [our universe's] X-Men, and was still later pursued by the ultra-powerful Sentinel Nimrod.)

Some of the events in "Days" wouldn't make much sense (if that's even possible in comics) today based on subsequent events in Marvel books. For instance, in 2013, again, Franklin Richards was one of the captive mutants alongside the elderly Magneto. As we learned in the late 1990s, Franklin is one of the -- if not THE -- most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. He created the "pocket" universe known as "Heroes Reborn," and was then responsible for returning the various Marvel heroes from that universe to the Marvel Universe proper (Earth-616). Thus, instead of sending Kitty's mind back to 1980, why not concentrate on freeing Richards ... and then have him eradicate the Sentinels and "restore" reality the way it was meant to be? In addition, in the second part of "Days," a Sentinel blasts Wolverine, leaving only his adamantium skeleton remaining (see above). But as we saw during "Civil War," the villain Nitro zapped Wolvie the same way ... and then Logan completely regenerated himself (due to his mutant healing factor).

At any rate, back to this post's title: Will (an attempted assassination of) Richard Nixon be the impetus behind the film's version of "Days?" It makes sense, especially from a traditional Hollywood perspective. After all, Republicans are almost as bad as Nazis when it comes to tinseltown villains. It's easy enough to presume Nixon would have no qualms about ordering the manufacture of the robotic Sentinels, and then siccing them upon mutantkind.

What do you think?

Posted by Hube at June 4, 2013 07:20 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

More than likely they'll have Nixon as the villain. I mean, they already did it in the comics back in the 1970s with Number One of the Secret Empire implied to be Nixon. It wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Posted by: Carl at June 4, 2013 10:47 PM

And excellent point about crossovers, too! these days a story like Days of Future Past would be scattered across about 25 titles, 10 tie-in miniseries and a 7-issue miniseries.

Posted by: Carl at June 5, 2013 05:10 PM