Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Other X-Men 3

Bryan Singer directed both "X-Men" and "X-Men 2," but then left to go direct "Superman Returns." So Brett Ratner was brought on to direct the third X-Men film, "X-Men: The Last Stand."

A book, titled 'Mutant Cinema: The X-Men Trilogy From Comics to Screen,' written by Thomas McClean, answers some of the questions raised by fans, who have been desperate to find out what Singer and his own writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty had been planning for their unmade version of the third film.

According to The Geek Files, "Dougherty had already revealed some time ago that they had wanted to cast Sigourney Weaver as Emma Frost, a comic book psychic who would be remagined as an empath able to control people's emotions. Some reports have suggested that Frost would have been an old flame of Xavier and would have emotionally manipulated a resurrected, unstable Jean Grey into the evil Dark Phoenix.

McLean's book adds new information:

Dougherty says the resolution of the Phoenix plot would definitely have been a major part of their version: 'The main element for me was Jean coming back and learning how much power she could wield - that she just became overcome by it.'

Dougherty says that many of the ideas he was considering, such as Magneto trying to use Phoenix as a weapon, ended up in the filmed version. He also says that the idea of Jean using Cyclops' power to kill herself was one they liked, though they would have made it clear that only Phoenix's body was dying. Her spirit would live on, evolving Jean past mutant and into a godlike cosmic state.

Dougherty likens it to the closing lines of Arthur C Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the Star-Child that was astronaut David Bowman hovers over the Earth: 'Then he waited, marshalling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something.'

The author says in the chapter notes at the end of the book that this material came from a telephone interview with Dougherty in September 2006."

Another point of interest that entertained me was between the difference between Ratner and Singer.

"Ratner's playboy persona played a role as well. Most comic book fans identified with the intense, down-to-earth Singer who they had come to trust with the X-Men franchise. Ratner, on the other hand, is known for living a lavish lifestyle that includes driving expensive sports cars and dating supermodels and actresses. His most successful films, Rush Hour and its sequel, were jocular and jokey. Fans worried that Ratner would not approach the X-Men franchise as seriously or as subtly as Singer had. But liking Singer more than Ratner has little to do with the success of the films and 'X-Men: The Last Stand's' popularity speaks for itself."

Variety has more information on the book, including:
• The history of X-Men comic books;
• Previous adaptations, including early cartoon appearances, the successful 1990s animated series, and initial attempts to bring the mutants to the big screen;
• The development process for each film, including behind-the-scenes stories, interviews with the screenwriters, and details on omitted scenes and storylines;
• Detailed scene-by-scene examinations of each film and the comic book stories that infuse every aspect of the movies;
• Critical and fan receptions of each film, plus box office performances;
• What the future may hold for the franchise; and
• Tips on some essential X-Men reading.

Check it out and enjoy!

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