X-Men-DOFP-set-picAs one of the most profitable, longstanding franchises in cinema, X-Men returns to the big screen once more with Days of Future Past – and renowned writer and producer Simon Kinberg claims that this is the most ambitious of all seven titles released across the past 14 years. The talented filmmaker then goes on to discuss the next X-Men picture ‘Apocalypse’, his forthcoming work on Mark Millar’s Starlight, and offers his thoughts on the possibility of an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover production.

“It’s the most ambitious X-Men film to date,” he said. “I know from having worked on three of them now, that’s it’s the most demanding. Because of the time travel, the number of characters, the ambition of the storytelling, the scale of the action, a lot of things that contributed to it being, for lack of a better word, the biggest X-Men movie. In terms of its value, that’ll be up to the fans.”

Kinberg was attached to X-Men: First Class as producer, but he hadn’t penned a screenplay within the franchise since The Last Stand in 2006. However he is now back as the writer of this latest production, and he admits that it was a joy to return in such a capacity – in spite of the challenges that come with creating a time-travelling narrative.

“It was great to be back, it was a dream,” he said. “It was the first time, in a long time, I was the writer from the beginning of a project to the very end, a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing in the last few years, I’d come in as the re-writer, so to be the first person sitting down, outlining it, it’s just a different process. Its like adopting or babysitting a child, versus birthing and parenting a child.

“The amount of characters in the movie was the number one challenge, number two was the time travel, paradoxes, loopholes, and all that stuff. Bryan Singer was very adamant about wanting the time travel logic to be bulletproof, and we spent a couple of weeks talking about the script and working on the script together, and I would say we spent two or three hours of every day just talking about how we made the time travel not only work logically, but for it make clear, clean sense. Not just for fanboys who are used to multiple narratives and complex stories, but for people like our parents. Hopefully we’ve ended up in a place people can follow, and for it to feel truthful.”

Creating such an intricate, imaginative world requires such skill and patience, and so much so, Kinberg admits that he doesn’t fancy tackling time travel again. “It was unreal. I hope I never have to write a time travel for the rest of my life. There are lessons learnt on this, but lessons only relevant to this. Keeping the logic straight and creating a time travel rule that has its own logic, was as challenging as anything in the movie.”

Simon-KinbergThis audacious new production plays around so heavily with time travel, that it could potentially deem the previous additions to the franchise somewhat irrelevant, but Kinberg is adamant he won’t have upset any fans in the process – and if anything, may actually make amends for any issues some may have had. “It was something we talked a lot about, there’s no question that when you do a time travel movie, whatever happens in the past is going to have a ripple effect in the future, and in this world, that includes a lot of movies,” he continued. “So we made choices that we thought would keep intact the things that are most beloved and sacred, but allow for the fact that the world was changed by the events of Days of Future Past. Hopefully there will be some changes that audiences will cheer about, because they may have been things the audience was disappointed by in the original films.”

The writing process was made easier by the pre-established actors in the roles, as Kinberg was able to compose speech to match their mannerisms, yet given the talent on board, such as Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence – he tells us it was also something of a daunting prospect.

“It’s daunting because the actors are so good. You feel like you need to create an emotional character arc with a bunch of good moments, because they’re aren’t showing up to be like, ‘hey look there’s a fire over let’s put it out!’ so that’s daunting. But that’s the first moment of every morning – but when you actually start writing you can hear their voices, so I can write to them as actors and characters because I know how they play them it’s easier. I know the patterns and rhythms of their speech which makes it easier.”

The writing process must have been rewarding for Kinberg though, as it certainly hasn’t put him off getting involved in the next film, as the confirmed writer of X-Men: Apocalypse, and he discusses the visuals we can expect from the eagerly anticipated, eponymous antagonist. “We take a lot of inspiration from the comics visually, there are a lot of nods to images from the original books. Apocalypse will have visuals from the books and we’re now starting to get in to the script phase. The intention is to shoot the film at a similar time and schedule as Days of Future Past, we’ll shoot it next Spring to be released 2016.”

Before then, however, Kinberg is again the writer and producer of the forthcoming picture The Fantastic Four – and he remained positive that a potential X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover could one day be a possibility. “Yeah, look, as Marvel have proven, anything is possible. There’s a challenge to The Fantastic Four and X-Men in that they don’t really acknowledge each other’s existence in their respective franchises right now. So there would be inherent challenges if it did happen, but anything is possible.”

One other project Kinberg is working on is Starlight, adapting Mark Millar’s popular comic to the big screen for the first time, and Kinberg was quick to praise the Scottish author, though admits there isn’t yet a director on board.

“Mark is one of the great storytelling geniuses we have, period. Not just in comics, but across the board,” he said. “I read Starlight and fell in love with it, I thought it was one of the coolest comics I’ve ever read. We’ve been talking to a ton of writers and filmmakers about it, and there’s a lot of excitement and interest in it, and we’re just honing down to who the right guy is to take it on, but I love it,” he finished.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is released on May 22nd, and you can read our review here.