UPDATED 5/23/14: Now that X-Men: Days of Future Past is out we know that Anna Paquin’s Rogue made it back into the movie, but in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo without any dialogue.
For fans of the original trilogy of X-Men films, the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past was like getting to briefly visit with old friends. After the colossal creative blunder that was X-Men: The Last Stand and the attempted franchise revival with X-Men: First Class, surely our days with the original actors were over. But, no, here was Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Rogue (Anna Paquin) along with the original Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen). Sure, they were also joined by the entire cast of First Class, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and at least 4 new mutants. But, still, here they were.
Well, now there’s one less of them. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Bryan Singer revealed that Anna Paquin’s Rogue has actually already been cut from the movie. The film was originally meant to have an early action sequence involving Magneto, Xavier, Iceman, and Rogue. According to Singer:
“Through the editing process, the sequence became extraneous. It’s a really good sequence and it will probably end up on the DVD so people can see it. But like many things in the editing process, it was an embarrassment of riches and it was just one of the things that had to go. Unfortunately, it was the one and only sequence Anna Paquin was in, the Rogue character was in. Even though she’s in the materials and part of the process of making the film, she won’t appear in it.”
As it turns out, there is around a 2 second look at the sequence in question in the Days of Future Past trailer:
You also see her for another second or so in what appeared to be a different scene:
Singer is far from the first director to cut out action sequences from a movie during the editing process. However, one must forever raise an eyebrow when he is the one doing it considering that he cut the notoriously expensive original opening sequence of Superman Returns involving Superman returning to Krypton. As argued elsewhere on this site, there are legitimate Bryan Singer-specific reasons to be concerned about the financial health of this movie. But, to be fair, that opening sequence of Superman Returns would have been incredibly superfluous, and it sounds like this stuff with Rogue would have been as well. Singer likely made the right call in both cases just as Marc Webb was likely correct in deciding to cut Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson from the overstuffed The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
The thing Bryan Singer has been trumpeting for a while now was his intention to use Days of Future Past to basically make up for the many sins of The Last Stand and atone for the franchise’s many continuity errors. However, there are some things they’ll never be able to explain and are better off ignoring, such as why Xavier can walk at the end of Origins: Wolverine when the events of First Class indicated he would have already been paralyzed by then, or why Beast is all blue and hairy by the end of First Class but is a normal human in a cameo in X2.
We were kidding ourselves if we thought Days of Future Past was going to spend anything more than a couple of throwaway lines explaining why the hell Magneto and Rogue were back and had powers again after X-Men: The Last Stand ended with both of them having taken the power-robbing mutant cure. That movie’s ending implied the cure was perhaps only temporary. So, why mess with it anymore? If that particular angle really was going to be significant then surely Rogue wouldn’t have been cast to simply show up in a single solitary action sequence which has proved so unnecessary that it has been cut from the movie 5 months before its release. The same is likely true of any great explanation we might have been expecting for why the hell Patrick Stewart’s version of Xavier is even alive considering his death in The Last Stand. There was a post-credits implication of Xavier having transferred his consciousness to a comatose man’s body. They may not offer any further explanation beyond a line or two because although it would appease the diehards any grand explanation would offer the film Days of Future Past no benefit.
But, still, this kind of stinks for fans of the original trilogy of X-Men films. For many of us, the original 2000 X-Men film was our introduction to that universe, meaning our emotional anchors were Rogue and Wolverine who are really the main characters of that movie. Rogue is almost an audience surrogate figure, the center of the film’s deeply affecting emotional climax as well as the film’s two biggest twists, i.e., Wolverine almost killing her on accident, and Rogue being the person Magneto is after, not Wolverine. Her related crush on Wolverine was genuinely sweet as was her relationship with Iceman in X2. Then they sidelined her for most of X-Men: The Last Stand, using her as the one main character who voluntarily gives up their powers to the mutant cure. It made sense seeing as how not being able to touch people without potentially killing them would make day-to-day life suck beyond belief. However, although the film makes great effort to make sure we know Rogue’s decision is her own the idea of it being influenced by fears of losing Iceman to Kitty Pryde as part of a nascent love triangle felt too much to some like Rogue changing herself to keep her man.
It left a bad taste in the mouth, but would that have really been fixed by Rogue simply showing up for a couple of minutes of Days of Future Past? Maybe, but it would have had nothing to do with actually making Days of Future Past a good movie. We should adjust our expectations accordingly. If Rogue can be so easily cut out of this film anyone expecting anything more than glorified cameos from the others should prepare to be disappointed.
Minus Rogue, there are now 23 mutant characters (counting both older and younger versions) appearing in this movie (according to IMDB cast list). As a point of comparison, X2 has something like 14-16 and The Last Stand has somewhere between 20 and 24, and most of them in The Last Stand are barely there and generally dreadful. There is only so much screen time to go around. None of this necessarily means Days of Future Past will be bad. It just means they may not have the time to devote to addressing some of the franchise’s continuity issues some expected them to.
Days of Future Past currently has a scheduled 5/23/14 domestic release date. Check out the trailer below and leave any thoughts you might about this article in the comments section: