Boy, news about the new X-Men movies sure is coming in at an alarming pace these days, isn't it? Producer Bryan Singer, who you may know as the guy that walked away from the X-Men franchise and made a rather good but poorly received Superman movie, talked with Harry Knowles at Ain't Cool News about the upcoming X-Men: First Class film amidst the latest flurry of casting announcements. Singer deserves a lot of respect for walking away from the franchise like he did and for not backing down during his contract negotiations when he was in talks to direct X3: The Last Stand, and while Valkyrie was pretty lousy, I'm inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt as even that stinker has its moments (the pivotal bomb scene in Valkyrie was very well-paced, even if we all knew what was going to happen). This news accordingly comes from a source I'm automatically more inclined to pay attention to.

Here are some highlights from his chat with Harry Knowles:
  • The film will take place in the '60s so as to mirror the civil rights movement and better contextualize the characters' struggle to either segregate themselves or fit in. It should be noted however that in the original comics Stan Lee and then Roy Thomas wrote, the X-Men never tried to fit in with society. They pretty much kept to themselves in their mansion in Westchester, protecting humanity from themselves from afar for fear of fearful retaliation from the people that they're protecting. They would go into Greenwich Village every now and then to enjoy the Bohemian lifestyle, but that's as integrated as the X-Men got.
  • The movie will feature more "comic bookish" costumes and will not be a "conventional FIRST CLASS story. Phew. I can't be the only one that hates rote origin story template stories. Also: the leather costumes for the X-Men really stink, so that's very good news. I mean, when people complained about how the costumes for the Thor movie looked like Cosplayers outfits, I thought that was a good thing. Because they're superheroes, for cripes sake, not spies or models or whatever it is those silly leather outfits were going for. They fly. They shoot lasers out of their eyes. They pop metal claws out of their hands. Yellow and blue uniforms are probably the least garish thing about these guys.
More after the jump.

  • The Hellfire Club will be the villains of the film, with January Jones as Emma Frost and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. This actually isn't a bad idea. They've already shown us the introduction of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in the first three X-Men films and as Singer and Knowles point out, there's a funny, "(Hugh) Hefner era" quality to the Hellfire Club, making them perfectly dated villains.
  • Characters in the film: Azazel, Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nicholas Hault), Darwin, Raven Darkholme, Banshee, Havok, Mystique, Xavier, a lady version of Angel. None of these surprise me more than Azazel. I mean, really, a Chuck Austen character in an X-Men movie? I can't be the only one that used to think of Austen as the worst writer in the business back when he was still writing at Marvel and before he absconded from the field to write Worldwatch, that softcore porn comic of Stormwatch. I do like the idea of seeing Darwin though. Peter David has been writing an excellent version of his character in X-Factor, the only X-title I buy.
But what say you, gentle reader? Any surprises? Any disappointments? Any strong reactions either way?