Director Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” launches into theaters later this year, bringing two different eras of mutants together for one common goal: to prevent the extinction of mutant-kind at the hands of the Sentinels .
“What the heck is a Sentinel,” you ask? Clearly, you weren’t paying attention to the “Days of Future Past” shenanigans earlier this week. As a quick catch-up, the Sentinels are giant androids built by scientist Bolivar Trask (played by “Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage), designed to hunt and destroy all mutants. The Sentinels are some of the most popular villains from the “X-Men” mythos, and have been teased in the cinematic X-Universe as far back as the Danger Room sequence of “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
With “Days of Future Past,” the Sentinels have finally arrived, albeit with some design departures from the source material. Some fans are scratching their heads over the Sentinel aesthetic, specifically the future versions of the metallic monsters, which look more like creatures from “Shadows of the Colossus” than the Sentinels of comic book fame.
But perhaps there’s a method to the madness of the new Sentinel design, to hear production designer John Myhre tell it. In an interview with Empire, Myhre explained that the “Days of Future Past” Sentinels are “made up of magnetic plates” that can “contract or grow, so the Sentinel can be skinny to get through a small space or the plates can open up to become a bigger shape.”
“They have become virtually unstoppable,” he added.
Virtually unstoppable, you say? Somebody should consult with a certain Master of Magnetism before making such bold claims. Or, as MTV’s own Alex Zalben put it on Twitter:
X-Men production designer says Sentinels are made of "magnetic plates" and "unstoppable." Response: pic.twitter.com/YQq8bGsPr3
— Alex Zalben (@azalben) January 28, 2014
Indeed, at first blush, the Sentinels’ magnetic plate structure seems to exist specifically so that Magneto can tear these metal monstrosities apart in glorious post-apocalyptic action scenes. A pretty big design flaw for Trask Industries, but a boon for the X-Men and for fans of watching Ian McKellen do awesome things.
Then again, think back on the status quo of the “X-Men” films following “The Last Stand.” (A painful exercise, I know, but play along.) By the end of Brett Ratner’s controversial “X-Men” films, Magneto was left all but powerless, thanks to a drug that “cures” the mutant condition. One of the final scenes of the movie indicated that Magneto still had some semblance of control over magnetism, but nowhere near his peak strength.
Perhaps that’s a clue about the story of “Days of Future Past,” then. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that Xavier and Magneto are so desperate to change the past — so that they can make sure Magneto is at full-power in the future, and able to dismantle the Sentinel forces with the flick of a finger. As a bonus, such a continuity change could lead to other continuity changes — like, for instance, Cyclops never dying, or the entirety of “Last Stand” never existing at all. (Hey, we can dream.)
Speculation aside, “Days of Future Past” is poised for some serious showdowns between Sentinels and Magneto. It’s anyone’s guess as to how it all shakes out, but we’ll find out for sure when the movie hits on May 23.
What do you think of the Sentinels’ Magneto problem?