Mark Millar On X-Men: Days Of Future Past

You wonder how Mark Millar finds enough time in the day to accomplish everything: from his job at Fox, overseeing the cinematic legacy of the Marvel Universe, to editing CLiNT magazine and, of course, his own duties as a writer on all number of self-invented comic book titles. When SFX catches up with him, for an exclusive chat, Millar is prepping to appear at the Glasgow Film Festival, for whom he curates the annual Kapow! event. Choice cuts this year include appearances from Steve Niles and John Wagner, and even a chat with SNP leader Alex Salmond who promises to introduce his favourite “geek movie”. In the meantime, Millar was happy to chat about all things superhero related and even share a scoop or two about X-Men: Days of Future Past

Interview by Calum Waddell

The cast of X-Men characters announced for Days of Future Past is huge – they can’t ALL be in it with “starring roles”, surely? How are so many X-Men going to fit in one film?

“It has actually been very well put together – Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn worked on it together and they are both great at what they do. Then Bryan Singer came in, and, of course, he is Mr X-Men and he knows exactly how everything works. Just look at these first two X-Men movies: despite the huge cast of characters it all came together really well. These two movies never felt like overload and the balance was really, really good. On the other hand I though the third film felt crowded, but then Singer is excellent at working with ensemble casts. So with this one I feel it is all fine. I have read the screenplay and it doesn’t feel rushed and it doesn’t feel like it is too many characters.”

Are some of the appearances cameos? Is there a main team we’ll be following?

“I think the best comparison I can give is to Star Trek – that is an ensemble but it never feels as if there is not enough time with any one character. Or maybe Lost – that is an ensemble but every character gets their own moment to shine. So as long as everyone is there for a reason there doesn’t need to be a problem with so many characters. This is a beautifully structured film, and it is a time travel story so the structure has to be especially strong.”

How big a role do the Sentinels play? Will giant robots be in vogue after Pacific Rim?

“I hadn’t actually thought about that [laughs]. Yeah, that is true isn’t it? You will have a couple of big movies with giant robots in them. I don’t really want to give too much away but the Sentinels are a big feature of this story. They will be cool and this will deliver on all of the teasers. We’ve all been waiting for this ever since X-Men: The Last Stand showed us one of their heads. Now it is finally coming, and we only have to pay ten quid to see it in the cinema whereas they’re having to pay $100 million to deliver it. So I’m delighted [laughs].”

Kitty Pryde – is she finally going to have a decent big screen role?

“Ach, I cannae get into that [laughs]. As soon as I say something it will turn into a big internet story. Let me put it this way though: Kitty Pryde fans will not be disappointed.

Can we expect to see any more X-Men spin-off movies?

“I hope so. I think that the X-Men universe is as interesting as, if not more interesting than, the Marvel universe. There are a lot of things you can exploit in there. Comics are actually really good at sussing out what works and what doesn’t. It all comes down to what sustains a title and what doesn’t – and that is why you have so many of the X-Men characters with their own line of comics. I think a lot of these characters deserve their own movies – there are a good half dozen that I would like to see do their own thing.”

Next page for Millar on Kick-Ass 3, Dredd and Dark Knight…