X-Men: First Class to Take Place in the ’60s

After the rash of casting announcements that came earlier this month for X-Men: First Class, we now have an update on some basic plot details and the general feel of the film, and it actually sounds pretty intriguing. As most of you know, the movie is based on a comic book series that focuses on stories about many of the X-Men as young students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. It is being treated as a prequel in a way, although it’s unclear whether or not it will maintain continuity with the existing X-Men movies. However, the major announcement here is the fact that the movie strays from the comic in that it will be set entirely in the 1960s.

Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News spoke to producer Bryan Singer over the phone last week, and he learned that they’re using this as an opportunity to present a “silver age Marvel story”, complete with colourful and outlandish costumes. The story will focus on the friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr and their eventual falling out, set against the backdrop of the political upheaval of the ’60s. They don’t mention if the X-Men will take part directly in any historic events, but they do say that “John F Kennedy is the President of the United States. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are on TV doing marches.”

Singer mentions James Bond movies as a point of reference for the feel of X-Men: First Class, with Matthew Vaughn being “technologically inspired by James Bond’s tech of the time” and the movie will have an international feel, with The Soviet Union being involved in some way. Comic book fans will also be interested to hear that the Hellfire Club will figure heavily into the story, an upper class secret society led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

I have to admit, I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic about this film up until now, but it’s becoming clear that Matthew Vaughn wants to do an X-Men movie that sets itself apart from the rest. I’m guessing that Watchmen is a bit of an influence as well, but either way, setting the movie in the ’60s sounds like an inspired choice. The big question is, can a period comic book movie still achieve mainstream success? What do you think, does this news make you more or less excited about X-Men: First Class?

  • Jonny Ashley

    period piece, NICE. I’m just happy to hear this breaking loose from the Twilight phenom. No wonderwall please.

  • swarez

    I hope they don’t make the costumes too outlandish because then people think it will look stupid and not go. I certainly hope they aren’t as hokey as the Watchmen period costumes. But a period superhero film sounds like a great idea, just hope it is executed well.
    Captain America takes place in the 40’s but at least they have the military influence to keep the costume looking bad ass.

  • AWESOME :D I’ve been pretty negative and pessimistic regarding this movie, (i thought it’d be some teen oriented crap, inspired by Twilight) but this is really intresting

  • Mike

    i was planning on not watching this, but i got the Kick-Ass Blu-Ray this week, and the “making of” feature has a lot of Matthew Vaughn, and i just don’t see him sticking to the cliche’s. There was a big part of the special features where he talked about how comic books were conceived in the 40s 50s and 60s, and how their ideals don’t always transfer over to modern day. I’ve always thought a Superman movie just doesn’t work unless it’s set in the 50s, and i guess he’s doing something similar.

    The most interesting sub-plot to this movie being made, is the fact that big-budget American blockbusters, are now basically indie-British films in disguise. Kick-Ass, Sherlock Holmes, and now even X-Men. I see a trend.

  • I’m starting to get pretty excited about this. Set in the 60s, Hellfire Club, and January Jones! I’m in! I’m not sure about Kevin Bacon though. I don’t really see him as Sebastian Shaw.

  • Theman

    Jay just came….

  • Steve

    Setting this in the 60s doesn’t mean shit. Wolverine was set sometime during the 70s (Wolverine/Sabretooth are court-martialed during Vietnam). So either half the younger cast (Cyclops, Frost etc) were in suspended animation or they aged REALLY slowly. Aka The supposed Aaron Johnson Cyclops still remaining a teenager in school a decade later.

    On top of that, despite being set in the 70s, Wolverine had a billion anachronisms. The Humvee Wolverine destroyed so dramatically wasn’t introduced until a decade later, the funky rifles they carried out in the Africa scene didn’t appear until the 90s. And let’s not start with the proliferation of flat screens while Wolverine was undergoing the transformation. It’s never made clear what time period it was set in due to the rampant oversights until the very last scene where Danny Huston’s typing on a sudden hilariously antiquated computer via the /decapitate.

    The total disregard of Wolverine for historical accuracy or relevance means I also don’t give 2 shits about this one.

  • Napalm

    Theman: lmao I was about to say that xD

    But yeah, good to see them going against the trend of teeny/highschool based plot. gets me more excited for the film.

  • Brendan

    Well, since the X-Men comic started in the 60s, I don’t know if this really “strays for the comic.” I guess maybe the First Class comic that was done more recently may have been set more recently. Marvel tends to update their comic characters origins with a kind of “elastic” history approach, which kind of constantly rewrites the chronology of their characters.
    Since the first X-Men movie was set in the “near future” (from its release in 2000), it would be hard to maintain complete continuity with a First Class movie set in the 60s. That would mean that Cyclops and the others would have been in their fifties or sixties in the previous X-Men movies. I don’t think they were supposed to be that old.

  • Cyclops and Beast to appear via time travel? I’m not quite sure how else…