Bryan Singer, executive producer of the X-Men films and director of the first two, confirmed in an interview with IGN this evening that X-Men: Days of Future Past will be the title of the second X-Men: First Class movie, expected in theaters in 2014.
Rumors that the next film would adapt the fan-favorite X-Men story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne began circulating back at the beginning of June.
The film, which will reportedly begin filming in "a few months" is being written right now, according to Singer. "It’s going to be very ambitious; it’s called Days of Future Past and it deals with aspects of that comic, but also some very new things. I don’t want to give any of it away. Matthew Vaughn will be directing and I’m totally excited about it.”
Fans of the comic books know this as an alternate-future storyline where mutants are hunted nearly to extinction; when the title was registered with the Motion Picture Association of America earlier this year, there was some speculation that it might connect the two batches of films (the First Class movies and Wolverine's spinoffs with the original X-Men trilogy) while addressing some of the apparent continuity gaffes in X-Men: First Class. That aspect seems to be materially confirmed by the Singer interview.
"Ambitious," as Singer calls it, wouldn't begin to describe the undertaking that a major studio film trying to adapt Days of Future Past faithfully would be. A strong adaptation of that story could be one of the great comic book movies of all time, while a poor one could be a train wreck of X3 proportions.
Having taken place in Uncanny X-Men #141-142, Days of Future Past featured Kitty Pryde spurring the X-Men to action against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who are plotting to assassinate an anti-mutant U.S. Senator. In the comics, his death provokes a massive reaction from the U.S. government that results in mutants being forced into internment camps. When Pryde manages to project her knowledge back in time to her younger self, the team’s mission becomes to protect the man and change the course of time.
The original story (as you can see by the fan art above) also leans heavily on Wolverine, meaning that Hugh Jackman may be asked to join this sequel when he's finished filming The Wolverine, currently underway in Australia, and may not be able to tell the filmmakers to "f--- off."
“I think there’s a strong desire to broaden out the universe," says Singer of the story's epic scale. "I mean, the X-Men Universe is every bit on its own as big as the Marvel Universe. I think it’s time to reach out and explore it and perhaps even bring some connectivity between the films as Marvel has done so well. You may seem some of that."