Spoiler alert for "X-Men: Days Of Future Past -- The Rogue Cut!"
Back when the very first "X-Men" movie hit theaters in 2000, Rogue (Anna Paquin) was our window into the world of mutants, superpowers, and schools for gifted youngsters. But while many fan faves returned for "Days Of Future Past," the trippy continuity-resolving film that bridged the original mo together with the "First Class" movie, Rogue was almost nowhere to be found -- because all of her scenes (except for one small appearance towards the end) were cut from the theatrical release.
Later this week, you'll be able to see what could have been when the "X-Men: Days of Future Past" extended edition hits shelves on July 14. But in advance of the release, a packed movie theater of excited X-Men fans at San Diego Comic-Con -- including MTV News -- got to see the "Rogue Cut" before anyone else.
By the time I arrived at the Reading Cinema in the Gaslamp district, the line was already wrapped around the block full of fans eager to get in. We each were given a wrist-band -- and free popcorn and soda as a bonus! Hooray!
Then, after a brief delay -- who knew traffic would be so busy at Comic-Con? -- director Bryan Singer showed up to intro the movie for the crowd!
He doesn't normally make a habit of releasing director's cuts, he told the crowd, but made an exception for the opportunity to show the fans what they intended for Anna Paquin's character -- as well as some related footage and new effects that were cut from the theatrical release, which added a total of 17 minutes on the film. "If you have to go to the bathroom, I'm sorry," he joked.
Oh, and then he took a selfie with us, because of course he did.
So what was it like to watch the new version of the movie on the big screen? If you're curious, and don't mind spoilers, here's how Rogue fits into the story: after Kitty is injured by Wolverine, Iceman suggests that he, Xavier and Magneto go to rescue her so that she can take over guiding Wolverine through the past. She's being held captive and experimented on in the old X-Mansion, he explains, but they haven't been able to get her out without Xavier's help.
Plopped in the middle of this is another cut storyline with Mystique and Hank McCoy, who catches her trying to break in to the mansion because "she has no place to go." The two have a steamy blue-transforming make-out scene as Mystique tries to convince Hank to deal with his self-loathing mutant issues. But it was all a ruse, as the next morning they find out that she's destroyed Cerebro so Xavier can't track her.
Meanwhile, the future Xavier telepathically guides Magneto and Iceman (the movie weaves in the young Magneto's break-in at the Department of Defense, which makes for some really satisfying visual parallels) until they finally find her. Iceman dies heroically in the attempt to get her out, which explains why he doesn't really show up past that point in the original.
From there the rest of the movie goes pretty much the same way as it did in theaters the first time, though there are some different moments here and there -- Rogue and Kitty share a somber look when she learns that Iceman is dead; Wolverine notices when Rogue takes over; Kitty phases Magneto through a wall during the Sentinels' attack, which is directly linked to their Rogue break-out (they're lead to the X-Men's location via a tracking device left on their ship). And, of course, every scene where Kitty is shown with Wolverine, it's Rogue instead.
Oh! And there's also, there was a cute scene that hints at the existence of Wanda Maximoff -- The Scarlet Witch -- in the "X-Men" Universe: Peter’s mother tells his younger sibling to go and bug her older sister.
Sadly, you don't get to see Wanda appear.
Anyway, while the new scenes play with the juxtaposition between the future and the past in an engaging, beautifully shot way, I can see why this is the footage they chose to cut. As great as Rogue is, at the end of the day she really doesn't do all that much, and the movie doesn't spend enough time explaining what's happened to her or why we should care.
So is this new version of the film worth your time? If you’re a hardcore X-fan who LOVED the first version, or if you’ve never seen the movie before and want to just jump in with this new one, then sure! There's enough added footage that it doesn't feel like a cash grab, and for the most part it's all pretty engaging stuff. Just don't expect to be completely blown away, because it's honestly not that different than the original "DoFP" -- there's just more of it.
Either way, at least Rogue is back, and that's all that matters.