One amusing bit of gossip caused by the release of the excellent X-Men: First Class: apparently, director Matthew Vaughn (who also did Kick-Ass) claims that he and his closest co-writer weren’t substantially helped by – and should not have to share their Writers credits with – Ashley Miller and Zack Sentz. Meanwhile, Miller and Sentz, who give the vague impression of being nicer but dumber than Vaughn, are touring and being interviewed and talking about what they’d like to put in a sequel, a sequel of which presumably Matthew Vaughn doesn’t want them to be a part.
And what they want is Cable, the big stupid time-traveling cyborg soldier character who embodies the very nadir of comics quality, the era when Rob Liefeld and other hacks dominated Marvel, soon leaving to found Image Comics.
Vaughn, by contrast, says he wants only one additional main character in the sequel, and from the “bub” at the end of his comment, I take it he means Wolverine. So if the cool but possibly amoral director (who is not only married to Claudia Schiffer and protected by a team of ghurkas but is now rumored to have impregnated X-Men actress January Jones) wins, we get Wolverine. If the dopes who reportedly did nothing useful win, we get a big time-traveling cyborg, like we aren’t all sick of Terminators already.
If the dopes prevail, I hope the X-films at least get all the time travel stuff out of their system in one film, which should primarily mean adapting the story “Days of Future Past” in which a time-traveling X-Men team member arrives from the near future to warn that in her time period civilization will be exterminated by mutant-hunting giant robots unless history is altered – specifically, by preventing a political assassination committed by a mutant. In the original story, the present in need of altering was 1981 and the future was presumably sometime in the early twenty-first century.
I think it’d be awesome if they stuck to that: Make “the future” our time, make “the present” 1981, throw in both Disco Dazzler and a younger punk version of Storm, make the target Ronald Reagan, and have shapeshifter Mystique take the form of Jodie Foster to talk an unstable man into plotting the assassination attempt. The X-Men narrowly save Reagan, he shakes hands with a Mohawk-bearing Storm after a moment’s startled hesitation, and at the end we follow the visitor from our day back to a killer-robot-free world, with a teaser setting up a present-day locale for the next movie, smoothly transitioning between eras, sort of like Star Trek: Generations.
It would be cooler than an epic film based on the boardgame Candyland, anyway.
(Of course, there is a very convincing argument to be made that “Days of Future Past” has already been adapted into a film and that that film is called Terminator. The relevant X-Men comics came out in 1981, right around the time James Cameron was working on Piranha 2 and drafting the Terminator screenplay. My impression is that egomaniacs are quick to plagiarize, often unwittingly, counter-intuitive as the idea of an egomaniac borrowing from others may seem. We already know Harlan Ellison successfully sued over elements of his work from an old Outer Limits being borrowed for use in Terminator.)
Even without my plot suggestion being used, I wonder if X-Men movies will eventually become the new thing continuity-watchers obsess over. After all, this one film franchise now takes place (mainly) in three different eras in the space of only five films (First Class in the 60s, the three main films in the 00s, and Wolverine presumably sometime in the 90s). No screw-ups so far, but you know it’s only a matter of...time.
Speaking of mutants, Ohio’s offering a discount on its fatter shelter cats. If that doesn’t work, needless to say, they’ll have to be sent to the same fat camp as the “Overweight Hedgehog.”
•As I noted once before, much as I hate to refer to a wave of retro-kitschsci-fi plays very much after my own heart as a “glut,” there really is a lot of the stuff, as you can see if it’s still June 2011 as you read this and you click on the “Comic Book Theater Festival” button on Brick Theater’s website. They’re doing about a million such plays there all in one month. I’m sure a lot of love and a whole lot of stilted, self-aware dialogue went into these productions – and I’ll probably even go see the one based on Action Philosophers – but if there are this many such productions, it may be time for their creators to aim higher.
•And lest you think comics culture is too unhip for Williamsburg, note that the day after I saw the Pipettes in concert, they were touring the offices of Marvel Comics, as seen in these cute photos.
(•On a less-hip note, I saw an ad for anti-acne treatment Proactiv containing the narration “Acne is out, clear sexy skin is in” – I’m not sure that’s proper use of the terms in and out, which to me suggest temporality.)
•On another alt-rock-and-sci-fi-type note, here’s a notorious ad by Moon and Source Code director (and Bowie son) Duncan Jones in which two women brutally fight until finally kissing, if you're into that sort of thing. Maybe he should direct an X-Men movie.