I recently re-watched this summer’s mutant movie offering, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and thoroughly enjoyed it for a second time. The movie succeeded, for me, on a number of levels and addressed a number of issues with the franchise that certainly needed to be fixed; and though I still contend that I would not have made any of these movies as they were they are with a grain of salt an overall good experience (let us never speak of X-Men Origins: Wolverine or X3). At the end of the movie, we are privy to a world of the movie X-Men that essentially lets the viewer know that X-Men 3 never happened, and if it did it began and ended very differently, which many have and will sign with relief knowing how that movie was received. What really made me think on the second viewing (more than the first) was the state of the world that the original X-Men movies would be taking place in, considering Magneto’s actions in Washington DC.
Towards the end of the movie, Magneto uproots an entire sports stadium and flies it over Washington dropping it squarely around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, trapping the White House and a small squad of Mutants inside. The Master of Magnetism then rips the safe room of the White House out from its foundation of concrete and destroys a great deal of the President’s home. Suffice it to say that in the real world, we are currently having a media event about a guy with a knife hopping over the White House fence, and a making a break for it…if anything even remotely resembling an assault of this kind on the American President was happening the United States would probably cease to exist as we know it.
The country would be left unrecognizable…and the President in question would be teflon for the rest of his administration for whatever measures needed to be taken to secure the country–in the case of DOFTP, it was Nixon. So any crookery on his part is likely to get buried in a sudden, understandable, hysteria.
When time hopping Wolverine wakes up in the future and Professor X starts to fill him in on the alternate history that he’s missed…there are likely a number of things that Chuck needs to let him know about. In fact, it is hard for anyone to imagine that the events of Days of Future Past didn’t accelerate the timetable of the future war they were trying to avert. It’s not like the Government was going to be able to sweep the whole event under the rug. The world has essentially identified the new ultimate villain in Magneto, who publicly announced to humanity that it was his goal to replace them in the most dramatic way possible–and he is just one mutant. They haven’t even factored in guys like Avalanche that can start earthquakes the way most people open doors or, you know, psychics at all. I can’t imagine an America that is okay with that at all. I can’t imagine an America–remember, the place that goes to war against things like “Drugs” and “Terror”–that doesn’t immediately have a litter of kittens on the spot and start rounding up mutants into camps like the Japanese during World War II–or for that matter in Bishop’s future in the X-Men animated series, or the world of Claremont and Byrne’s original Days of Future Past.
The justification that “mutants aren’t humans” would go directly to the Supreme Court, who may or may not have found some grounds there and could easily suspend all rights of mutants. Especially considering Bolivar Trask’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy mutant detecting devices, there wouldn’t be a single reason that the Federal Government wouldn’t be able to simply track them down using Sentinel technology…or advanced Sentinel technology. By the time the original X-Men movie occurs 30 years later a little after 2000, there’s really no reason that Mutants and Humans (in America at least) wouldn’t have had an all out war. Perhaps, much like the original Age of Apocalypse story, the end of Days of Future Past brings out Apocalypse early and that next installment puts the world back on course…but it is hard to to imagine that there is any possibility of the original X-Men Movies, or The Wolverine, transpiring in a world that even slightly resembles our own.
Furthermore, if we inspect the original X-Men movie at all, how was it that both Professor X and Magneto were able to walk into the Capital Building to hear Jean Grey speak? Is the United States so inept that two people who were clearly present at the most impressively frightening display of superhuman superiority known to man–are responsible for it, really–can just walk through Washington and get into any building? Why is Wolverine the only person who goes off at check points? Wouldn’t mutant detectors in this world be far more prudent than metal detectors?
Yes, they certainly changed the future when they sent Wolverine back in time, but one does have to wonder how bad that future could have been, if Magneto’s actions at the end of Days of Future Past still contributed to a world that was better somehow. Now, this may seem whimsical especially when the fact that the guy with the magic metal powers and the furry blue genius are involved, we are still talking about the United States in the post-911 world with the cynicism of post-Vietnam. There are calls by certain sects to suspend the First Amendment and Freedom of Religion and ban Islam from the United States; to round up Muslims across the country and put them in internment camps or deport them…and Muslims don’t really have super powers so far as I know.
It really leaves me with the question of “What does America look like after Days of Future Past?” and the only answer I can come up with is “Watchmen”. Those familiar with Watchmen know that all the heroes were rounded up, made illegal, or consigned into government service in the 1970s, and Nixon served four terms of office. In an overly regulated dystopian 1980s, Watchmen is the only result of Fox’s Days of Future Past movie.
Hows that for crossover potential?