Dear Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, and all the other people who made decisions about X-Men: Days of Future Past:
First, I want to thank you for keeping my friends on the big screen. These are important times not only for mutants, but for the people whom mutant stories represent: stigmatized populations, visible minorities, people with special abilities and disabilities. I want to thank you, too, for the preview screenings that you guys arrange each time an X-Men film opens here in Salem Center (thanks to your interdimensional portal); there aren’t many other theaters, on your Earth or ours, that admit my pet dragon, Lockheed. All the X-Men films have been fun to watch—I’ve met so many alternate versions of us already, on various Earths, that I try to see yours as just one more. But I have mixed feelings about this new one, and I’d like to tell you why. If I were writing to anyone else I’d say “spoiler alert!”—but you know what happens; you wrote it.
As you probably also know, this particular story, or rather the story “Days of Future Past” in the comics about us, was a big deal for me—it’s the first adventure that gave me a starring role. At the time I was new to the X-Men, not quite 14, still learning how to use my powers (phasing through solid objects, disrupting electronics, being really good at physics and math). I was so new that I was vulnerable to telepathic takeovers: Professor Xavier had taught my teammates how to shield their psyches, but I was, literally, more open-minded.
That’s why the X-Men from a dystopian future, one where giant, mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels had taken over North America, chose me for their attempt to change history. The surviving mutants of that bad future (set in 2013, in a comic published in 1981) sent my older self’s mind back in time, into the body of my younger self, so that I could convince the X-Men to take action; by preventing an evil mutant from assassinating a senator, they could avert the anti-mutant panic that led to the Sentinels’ creation. (Comics fans love that story, still.)
That’s sort of what happens in the movie, too, except that I barely get to do any of it. I loved the beginning, though! There’s a cool fight scene involving me—that is, dystopian-future me, Ellen-Page-as-me—right at the start, and I get the first line of dialogue—“Too late, assholes!”—as we escape marauding robots. Page-as-me gets to work with some newer X-Men, like Blink, and with the love of my life, Colossus, whose transformation into organic steel looks kind of awesome. Also I get to use at least a bit of the martial arts stuff I learned in Japan.
After that scene, though, future-me spends almost the whole movie silently poised at Wolverine’s temples, using my powers to send him back into the body of his younger self, into 1973, when he gets to talk Charles Xavier and a couple other mutants into preventing an assassination. Phooey.
They have to send Wolvie, we’re told (Kinberg, you say so in interviews too), because his mutant healing powers mean he doesn’t age, so that the stress of time travel won’t kill him, and so that the same actor can portray him in the future and in 1973. Also most of my other teammates in 2013 weren’t born in 1973. But if they wanted a film starring Ellen Page, who plays me, they could have set most of the film in the present day, and hired an older actor for future me. Don’t think I didn’t notice when you almost—almost!—apologized: Charles tells Wolverine, “I’m sorry, but they sent back the wrong man.” Wolverine responds, “It was supposed to be you.” No! It was supposed to be me.
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