In the irony of all ironies, Comic-Con isn’t really about comics anymore. The annual zenith of nerddom has become more dedicated to the rhythm and release of the movie industry over the last few years, a place where enterprising producers can tease details about their new projects, where movie stars can hope to get more attention than a Stan Lee walkthrough (probably not, though), where privately screened trailers are hastily bootlegged on YouTube for breathlessly devoted online watchdogs to come through before being taken down within minutes.
This year, fans paying attention to "X-Men: Days of Future Past" will have something to look for, as director Bryan Singer offered the simplest tease of content to follow at the July convention. That could mean a lot of things, most of them fan servicey, though if Singer’s looking to build buzz then there’s really no better time or place to do it. Here are some of the things his tease might mean:
The whole gang, front and center: This is probably the most likely thing to happen: a panel-packing collection of all the X-Men, old and new, brought together to wax nostalgic and optimistic about the franchise’s past and future for the pleasure of an Instragamming, Tweeting crowd all too stoked to see Jennifer Lawrence and Hugh Jackman sharing the same mic. Since Singer’s already revealed that plenty of the first trilogy’s stars will be back, it makes perfect sense for Comic-Con to be their most public reunion in quite some time in order to set the tone for where the series is going while acknowledging where it’s come from—and because, principal stars like Lawrence and Michael Fassbender aside, we still don’t know too much about any of the new actors who will join "Days of Future Past." (Aside from Peter Dinklage, of course.) Singer doesn’t have to go that far, not when such an obviously fan-pleasing tactic is ready to be deployed.
Actual footage: The finished product is still a while away, which means there’s no pressure to kick things off so soon. A comprehensive trailer is the type of thing to drop during the Super Bowl, not more than a year in advance. But filming starts this spring, and production stills have already been leaked... which means there could be enough footage to string together a clip to get people talking. Honestly, it could just be 30 seconds of Patrick Stewart doing line readings against a green screen and people would probably get excited; anything better might shut down the comics Internet. With the Nolan Batman series ended, the "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Avengers" franchise quiet for now, and "Man of Steel" and "Iron Man 3" mostly a known entity, it’s once again the X-Men’s turn to receive the brunt of attention... and a teaser would be the way to do it.
Any kind of plot summary: For all the enjoyable roster and photo leaks over the last few months—and believe me, they’ve been enjoyable—there’s still a dearth of actual plot-related knowledge over how exactly Singer plans on weaving the original "Days of Future Past" story into the movie-verse. Will Kitty Pryde be the future traveler, or will it be someone else? What exactly is so bad about the future to begin with? (Do they not sell Flaming Hot Cheetos there, or something?) Will there be new mutants who’ve joined Xavier’s nascent team in the years since "First Class"? Will Wolverine be playing any real, scene-stealing role, or are he and the rest of the original X-Men just there for window dressing? Will there be Sentinels? Speaking of which...
Sentinels: Just show us any and all of the death robots, please. I’m guessing they’ll look a different than the traditional pink-and-purple model because, really, I’m not quite sure how that color scheme ever would’ve been chosen by a racist, mutant-hating mechanical mastermind. (Everyone knows that black and red are the most fearsome colors.) In all seriousness, any kind of real SFX disclosure will be cool enough. If not, there’s always...
More wheelchairs: Hey, we’ll take what we can get.
This Mutant Life explores all corners of the cinematic X-verse, from the kids of "First Class" to the berserker rage of "The Wolverine." Suggest topics for future columns in the comments or on Twitter!
Previously on This Mutant Life: