The holiday season is finally upon us. A time to reflect on days gone by and days yet to come. A time spend with friends and loved ones. A time to scream yourself hoarse at a computer screen because an X-Man is being left out X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Although I guess “X-Woman” is a little more accurate, technically speaking, because the character getting the boot is Anna Paquin’s Rogue. Director Bryan Singer recently revealed to EW that an action sequence featuring Paquin and a few of her X-cohorts has been cut from the film (Singer explains it in less-than-thrilling terms: “Through the editing process, the sequence became extraneous”). Yet this particular chunk of celluloid made up the entirety of Paquin’s role in Days of Future Past, so with a flash and a puff of smoke, she’ll disappear completely from the finished film.
Not entirely surprising, given the high volume of X-Men Singer’s trying to squeeze into a single X-film. When you cram two separate ensemble casts into one two hour-ish action movie, then add on a shiny new future timeline complete with its own X-Men, it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be ample screen time for any particular character- at least, any character who’s not named Wolverine, Magneto or Charles Xavier.
So the question must be asked: if Rogue only got a single scene (and a scene that wasn’t particularly crucial in the first place), how many other of Days of Future Past’s considerable mutant cast are getting the same treatment? The only other X-Men movie to boast the same vast quantity of super-people was Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand (both films with a mutant count around twenty, while the other X-Men productions average around a dozen), and many of those were basically bit parts. Show up, show off a power, get disintegrated- for folks like Quill or Arclight, there wasn’t much else to do. Wolverine, Xavier and Magneto are all but guaranteed to do plenty of spotlight-hogging, so I wouldn’t be surprised if other mutants get the boot (or have their own parts trimmed down substantially) by the time Days of Future Past hits theaters.
Yet it’s not all cuts in the comic book movie world this week. The Avengers: Age of Ultron may be augmenting its cast with Baron Von Strucker, potentially played by Martin Csokas or Dougray Scott. Now before you ask the all-important question (that question being: who the hell is Baron Von Strucker?) I’ll go ahead and fill you in. Strucker is the former head of HYDRA, Marvel Comics’ leading fictional super-science-y terrorist organization, a former Nazi who’s extended his life via creepy experiments and wields a super-powered gauntlet called the Satan Claw.
Now this particular piece of news comes by way of Latino Review, and for all intents and purposes, it’s just a rumor, like 99% of all news about big upcoming comic book movies. And then… it was corroborated by the slightly more reputable HitFix, upgrading this one from “rumor” status to “rumor with a slight chance of actually occurring” status. Hypothetically, Strucker would be the one kicking off the story, with a big Avengers vs. HYDRA battle, and then he’d promptly leave forever, allowing the story to veer off into the expected James–Spader-as-killer-robot territory.
Whether this is true or not, its very presence raises an interesting point- why haven’t comic book movies been doing this already? Superheroes have been Hollywood’s obsession for about a decade now, yet so few throw in that opening cameo from a lesser-known villain. Thor’s most recent outing, at least, had a Stone Man of Saturn pop up in the first ten minutes, yet you’d think something like this would be a staple of the genre at this point. Instead, we’re only now getting to this point… in a rumor… in the eleventh Marvel film.
There’s something to be said for not starting the same movie every way (duh), but we’ve been done with origin stories for a while now. A villainous cameo here and there would go a long way towards the whole “extended universe” thing that must now be done with every single comic book franchise. Most importantly of all, it’d finally be an excuse to see Marvel’s greatest villains, like Stilt-Man or The Kangaroo, in all their live-action glory.