After digesting Empire Magazine’s day-long reveal of 25 different spotlight covers, I can objectively say that this May’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is the biggest superhero movie ever made. There are old mutants, new mutants, familiar mutants, strange mutants and — Fox’s favorite type — Wolverine mutants.
As the biggest X-Men fan that I’ve ever met, this campaign should have been a home run for Fox when it comes to my apartment’s demographic. But even with 25 different covers, the studio’s predilection towards a few mutants was very apparent thanks to the six covers given to Magneto, Professor X and Wolverine. This series really confirmed that Fox’s long-running franchise really does center on these three characters — and as a fan of the X-Men team, the insistence on spotlighting the same three characters left me a bit let down.
But with so many covers, surely there were a few that succeeded in pumping up extreme fans like myself instead of perplexing them. Here are five covers that I give me hope for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” — and five that leave me more than a little worried.
Toad makes me worried.
Here’s how big of an X-Men fan I am: I even think Toad is a great character, possessed of limitless potential. Sadly, the character’s been on a degrading downward spiral since he was mutated beyond recognition in 2000’s “X-Men,” and now he’s sporting a look straight out of “Super Mario Bros.” I’m talking about the movie. Yeah, this is that distressing.
Future Professor X gives me hope.
Overall, the future X-Men’s dull, black battle armor leaves me unimpressed. In a post-“Avengers” world, would it be too much to ask to make the X-Men even slightly colorful? So why is this picture special? Two words: Rocket. Wheelchair. The films have finally adapted Xavier’s iconic Jim Lee-designed hoverchair, and I’m all for it. Touches like these make the X-Men comics special to me, and these are the little details previous films have mostly ignored.
Future Sentinel makes me worried.
I’ll admit that the 1970s Sentinel looks awesome, mainly because it’s a giant purple robot. Like the rocket wheelchair, the retro Sentinel design shows that this film is capable of embracing the source material. Sadly, the one on the cover looks a bit like a CGI nightmare that could be found in pretty much any science fiction film. I also did not know how disturbing I would find ribcage gills until I saw this monster. While I appreciate the design’s most likely unintentional similarity to another group of X-Villains, the Phalanx, I just want giant purple robots.
Warpath gives me hope.
X-Force will forever be my favorite X-Men spin-off series. Therefore, Warpath is one of my favorite characters. Booboo Stewart seemed like an odd choice when he was cast, if only because he wasn’t a seven foot tall mountain of muscle, but this image demonstrates that he’s bulked up for the part. Even if he’s not sporting the classic fringe on fringe on fringe look, they’ve included nods to the source material. The painted-on domino mask is a nice touch, and his signature knives look great. But I have a worry within this hope! The short cover bio reveals that he can fly, which was an arbitrary power he had for a very short time, over a decade ago. These X-Men films really pick and choose the oddest things to adapt.
Havok makes me worried.
Aside from this being the most awkward looking Photoshop job of the bunch, this cover gives a shout out to the X-Men films’ biggest problem. Even with all of the necessary changes needed to translate a comic book character to another medium, the actor should still be recognizable as that character. Havok’s costume in “X-Men: First Class” at least included the character’s signature power rings on his chest. So, who is this guy? Military Jumpsuit Man? Bored Fist Clencher? This problem exists on other covers too, namely ’70s Professor X (a.k.a. Guitarist For Supertramp), Kitty Pryde (a.k.a. Girl In Leather Jacket Girl) and Iceman (a.k.a. Beard Having Blue Hands Man).
Colossus gives me hope.
Movies are obsessed with keeping their superheroes mask free. That makes sense since the studios want to show off the actors they paid for, but that sometimes wrecks important aspects of the character. With both Sunspot and Iceman missing their recognizable powered-up looks, it’s a bit refreshing to see Colossus armored up. Even with the bland get-up, he still looks like Colossus. That’s important, because if “X2” or “Last Stand” are any indicator, the often silent Daniel Cudmore will be doing nothing but looking like Colossus in “Days of Future Past.”
William Stryker makes me worried.
Really, he doesn’t make me worried so much as bored. Somehow, the Stryker men have now been in four X-Men films — that’s more than actual X-Men like Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Emma Frost and Jubilee. More importantly, a character loosely based on a minor X-Men villain that had one comic appearance before his inclusion in “X2” has been in more films than classic X-Men bad guys like Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Sauron, the Hellfire Club — I could keep going. I’m so on board with filmmakers using the X-Men films as a way to dissect prejudice and the plight of minorities, but it would be nice if they would use other characters to do it.
Past Magneto gives me hope.
Now that’s Magneto. No knock on the phenomenal Ian McKellen, but Michael Fassbender’s ’70s look is pretty much the Magneto I’ve been waiting to see. His helmet is taken directly from the comics, and his cape’s collar mimics the chest plate shape of his classic costume. Yes, his pants might be harem pants — an incredibly odd choice — but the rest of this look is spot on. When we’re shown that the costume designers can adapt a comic book look this well, it just makes all the nondescript X-Costumes look that much sadder by comparison.
Quicksilver makes me worried.
Speaking of sadder. I don’t. I just. Okay. Okay, let’s discuss what they’re trying to do. This is ’70s Quicksilver, and they’re obviously going for a glam rock look. There are pictures of Marc Bolan from T. Rex wearing pretty much that exact jacket. And I can even see where the snobbish Pietro fits in with that scene based on his personality, and Evan Peters is throwing massive shade on that cover. But. But. There had to have been a way to make the character look like Quicksilver and not just a CBGB reject. All those doo dads on his giant utility belt are the opposite of aerodynamic, which is an odd choice considering this is a character defined by his speed.
Rogue gives me hope.
This bruising Southern belle has been one of my favorite characters in all of fiction for the past twenty years, and I’ll admit that I’ve been a little bit disappointed in her past film outings. The character was introduced as a frightened teenager, and the teenaged Anna Paquin played her as such. But in this one image, Paquin has aged into the role. She doesn’t look like a terrified girl anymore; she looks like a powerhouse woman. The determined stare, defiant stance and cutting cheekbones give the impression that this is a Rogue ready to punch a Sentinel in the face. This cover succeeds because it corrects a glaring mistake from the previous trilogy; for the first time, Anna Paquin looks like Rogue.
That said, it’s incredibly worrying that this is the best cover of the bunch, since director Bryan Singer recently said he had to cut Rogue’s sole scene from the film. That right there is why these covers on the whole left me with a bad taste in my mouth. They’re filled with classic characters who have little in common with their comic counterparts, minor characters that have inexplicably been given headliner status, great looking versions of lesser-known heroes that will undoubtedly do very little in the final movie, and perfectly-cast actors playing important characters who are likely going to prove inconsequential to the plot.
At this point, my faith in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” has had more deaths and rebirths than the Phoenix. Here’s hoping the next trailer allows it to rise from the ashes, because I really want to be excited about this movie.