Amidst other news concerning the executive gyrations going on over at 20th Century Fox, Deadline is reporting that Matthew Vaughn (Stardust and Kick-Ass) has signed back on to direct the sequel to his 2011 summer blockbuster, X-Men: First Class. At this point, we still don’t know what the title will be — X-Men: First Class 2? X-Men: Second Class? X-Men: First Class: No Mutant Child Left Behind? — but Vaughn seems to have been thinking about the plot since last summer, at least, and it sounds like we’re in for another 1960s period piece. Specifically, the opening of the movie may just concern the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and one awfully magical bullet.
If, for some reason, you have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s JFK to illuminate you:
Now, being from DFW Metroplex, I grew up around a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the JFK assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald’s supposedly tenuous kill shot, but I’ve never cottoned to the whole conspiracy theory angle. I have no idea if Oswald could fire that many rounds from his rifle in that short amount of time, or if it was really an inside job orchestrated between then Vice President Johnson and Fidel Castro, but I can say that no theory put forth so far would be as elegant as the simple fact that a single bullet could indeed appear to have magic properties… If it was being controlled from a short distance away by an angry and vengeful mutant master of magnetism. As per director Matthew Vaughn:
I thought it would be fun to open with the Kennedy assassination, and we reveal that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto. That would explain the physics of it, and we see that he’s pissed off because Kennedy took all the credit for saving the world and mutants weren’t even mentioned.
Now that it’s already out there in aether, the scene likely won’t come to fruition in the final movie — these sort of things rarely make it past the script stage — but it totally should. Before First Class arrived to kick butt and chew bubble gum, many fans of the comics and previous movies cried foul over the movie using real history to help tell their super hero origin story, and those people were all wrong.
As Captain America showed, you don’t need have to Nazis when you can have Hydra, but setting a fantasy in the recognizable world helps ground it and allows the audience to play along, to see how history was or was not altered thanks to our intrepid heroes. There are precious few comic book properties like the X-Men that would allow for some sort of historical social commentary with very little effort, so why not do what others can’t? Why wouldn’t you want to differentiate your multimillion dollar CGI genre flick from the rest that will most likely come out that summer; something that would be remembered for years? Opening the next X-Movie in Dealey Plaza would also tie it directly into the initial moments of the first X-Men sequel, X2. It’s hard to deny that some of the best parts in First Class came from being able to see the threads connecting the two disparate timelines, which also opened with a sequence similar to its predecessor.
Of course, we know Michael Fassbender, as Magneto, would knock this scene out of the park. Then again, the screenwriter for the new film is Simon Kinberg, who also wrote X-Men: The Last Stand. We like to give Brett Ratner the blame for that festering pile (and hoo boy, does he deserve it for that and countless other cinematic atrocities), but who is the bigger fool, really? The fool who directs the script handed to him, or the fool who wrote it in the first place? Answer: The fool who paid good money to see that in the theater more than once and even purchased the special edition DVD because he’s a “completist” and couldn’t abide seeing the unfinished trilogy on his shelf, no matter how much he hated the final part.
Well, at least Bryan Singer is also back to produce and the (mostly stellar) cast is locked down for another go, including Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence. Surely, this crew has another movie in them before the franchise needs another reboot?
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). In case you’re wondering, yes, that last “fool” was absolutely him.