SAN DIEGO — X-Men from a Sentinel-controlled future and the mop-haired 1970s converge in “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Here in the real world, or the better version of it that exists at San Diego Comic-Con, a huge gang of mutant-loving actors — stretching back to 2000’s “X-Men” through 2011’s “X-Men: First Class” — surprised the crowd at Hall H.
They were rewarded for their visit with at least three different standing ovations.
The Fox panel was scheduled to include “The Wolverine” and next year’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” But “X-Men” stole the show. “I was here when ’The Avengers’ [first] lined up,” said moderator Geoff Boucher. “This is bigger.”
Bryan Singer and three of the film’s producers were joined by Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore and newcomers Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Peter Dinklage (Bolivar Trask) and Omar Sy, who confirmed he’s playing future-man Bishop.
The rowdy cast brought a playful, fun-loving and greatly appreciative vibe. McKellen noted that he felt “safe” in California “now that you’ve gotten rid of Proposition 8.” The crowd roared in support. “I’m looking for a husband,” said the elder Magneto, looking in the direction of his youthful counterpart. “Hello, Michael.”
Amour was in the air, as Berry lamented the lack of love interests for Storm. Acknowledging that the Hall H crowd undoubtedly has a mastery of the character, she asked, “Is Storm asexual or something?” (“Forge!” fans yelled).
Stewart did point out one advantage Berry has over the rest of them, an advantage shared by Paquin and Lawrence, answering a fan question about which “X-Men” character he’d like to play aside from his own: “[I want to play] any female character, in any ’X-Men’ movie, because then I might be able to win an Academy Award.”
Jackman had just presented footage from “The Wolverine,” which director James Mangold insisted be shown twice. Wolvie dropped an f-bomb and dropped a bunch of ninjas and samurais in the clips, showing off his newly fine-tuned claws at the same time. Both Jackman and his director pal gave props to Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, whose four-issue mini-series inspired the Japan-set story. Jackman remembered reading it in his trailer making the first “X-Men.”
During “The Wolverine” panel, Jackman talked about accidentally stabbing himself in the thighs and forehead, as well as poking Mystique’s stunt double in the arm. Mangold compared Jackman’s relationship to Logan in pop culture with Clint Eastwood and “The Man with No Name” as well as Sean Connery and James Bond. Jackman promised that “The Wolverine” finally delivers what fans have demanded of him on planes, on the streets: “the Berserker rage, in full.”
During the “X-Men” panel, as everyone expressed their loyalty to the source material, Jackman noted that despite his reputation for song and stage, we’ll never see “Wolverine: The Musical.” The crowd turned on him. “You want to hear Wolverine sing?!” he asked incredulously, then indulged them. “I’m gonna slice ’em, I’m gonna dice ’em…” he crooned.
Boucher asked who would win in a fight between Jackman’s Wolverine and Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, prompting Jackman to again express his desire for a “big mashup” uniting the “X” franchise with the rest of the Marvel Universe. The crowd’s money was certainly on the ole’ Canucklehead. Jackman claimed he had walked around Comic-Con in full costume earlier in the day, without being stopped by anyone, save for a guy who told him he looked “way too tall.”
Speaking of mashups, Singer answered a question about Quicksilver existing in both the “X” universe and “The Avengers 2″ (played by different actors) by stating that the character was meant to be included in “Days of Future Past” before he was aware of Disney/Marvel’s own plans for the son of Magneto. “He has great genes,” Fassbender quipped.
The coolest moment of “The Wolverine” footage was certainly the last bit, where Logan took a sword through the chest seemingly unfazed, prompting his opponent to ask: “What sort of monster are you?” To which he answered, “The Wolverine,” before giving a big “snikt” to the bad guy’s throat. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” upped the ante, wrapping the footage with a scene that framed McAvoy and Stewart nose-to-nose as the past and future Professor Xaviers.