As Hollywood studios continue to mine existing properties and milk their blockbuster franchises, moviegoers have grown accustomed to a seemingly endless parade of sequels, prequels and reboots. Now the superhero epic
While other superhero, sci-fi and fantasy films have jumped through hoops to extend their lifespans and expand their scope, few have gone to as much trouble as "Days of Future Past." The pretzel-logic plotting is complicated, so pay attention.
In doing so, "Days of Future Past" takes a more-is-more approach and unites two separate casts, with some characters being played by multiple actors:
Perhaps the closest examples of a single movie serving as the sequel to two others come from elsewhere in the Marvel universe:
That said, neither film merges two separate timelines and casts the way "Days of Future Past" does. There's no older (or younger) version of Iron Man played by a different actor, for example. It's a rather more ambitious task, and a more fraught one.
Another idiosyncrasy of "Days of Future Past" is that it's also a sequel to a prequel and is largely set between "First Class" and the "The Last Stand" (not to mention the original "X-Men" and "X-2"). One of the challenges faced by the movie is filling in the gaps of a known story while remaining both compelling and coherent.
In that sense, "Days of Future Past" is reminiscent of both
It bodes well for "Days of Future Past" that critics' and audiences' reactions improved over the course of those two series: "Attack of the Clones" fared better than "The Phantom Menace," and "Revenge of the Sith" fared best of all, while
On yet another level, "Days of Future" appears poised to serve as a series handoff, shifting the focus from the adventures of the original cast to the upstarts of "First Class." A "Days of Future Past" sequel, "X-Men: Apocalypse," has already been announced and is said to focus on the younger cast.
One popular franchise that has pulled off the same feat — twice — is "Star Trek." 1991's "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" and 1994's "Star Trek Generations" transitioned from Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew to their successors led by Capt. Picard (played by none other than future "X-Men" star Stewart). The "Generations" crew would go on to star in three more movies.