2011's X-Men: First Class revitalized the thirteen year-old franchise, telling the prequel story of the X-Men's formation, which played out against the backdrop of a fictionalized version of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Though Matthew Vaughn was initially set to return for the sequel, he is now producing, and director Bryan Singer is set to revisit the franchise he kicked off with 2000's X-Men.
The director may have changed, but the core cast of First Class remains the same. Having successfully created a complex, occasionally callow young version of powerful telepath and X-Men founder Charles Xavier in that film, McAvoy will once again lead a team of outcast mutants in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick had the opportunity to speak with McAvoy in an exclusive interview promoting Trance, the Danny Boyle-directed thriller in which the actor stars alongside Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. McAvoy reported that he's exceptionally excited to reunite with his fellow First Class stars, saying, "Yeah, I can’t wait to work with Michael (Fassbender) again, Jennifer (Lawrence) and Nick (Hoult). It’s going to be great, we got along so well the first time around. That’ll be fun."
"Then also, getting to team up with Sir Patrick (Stewart)," he continued, referring to the legendary actor who first played Xavier in Singer's X-Men. "I don’t know if I get to work with Sir Ian (McKellen), but it should be a real exciting time I think."
Under Singer's stewardship, X-Men: Days of Future Past has become the ultimate X-movie, bringing together the disparate timelines in the franchise's continuity. That means that, in addition to McAvoy's prequel cohorts, the sequel will incorporate the older iterations of the characters, up to and including Stewart as Xavier and Ian McKellen as Magneto. Other actors confirmed to return to the series include Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, and Daniel Cudmore.
Production is set to commence in Montreal shortly, so Philbrick inquired as to whether or not McAvoy has read the screenplay by Simon Kinberg. "Yesterday," he replied. "It’s great. It’s really good and strong. I think fans will love it. I think people who have never seen any of the X-Men films before are going to be really into it. I think it’s satisfying and giving people what they want, while at the same time being challenging and giving them something different, new, and unexpected."
X-Men: Days of Future Past is inspired by a popular 1981 two-issue Marvel Comics story by the beloved X-Men combination of writer Chris Claremont and penciler John Byrne. The story finds Kitty Pryde traveling back in time from a horrifying alternate future to warn Xavier and company that their failure to prevent the assassination of a senator results in a dystopian timeline in which mutants are hunted by state-sanctioned Sentinels, the species is mostly imprisoned in internment camps, and almost all of the X-Men have been murdered.
The time-travel sequel arrives next summer, while the critically acclaimed Trance opens Stateside in limited release this April 5th.