Exclusive Simon Kinberg Interview: Rogue, Apocalypse & The Future of X-Men

With X-Men: Days of Future Past coming out on DVD/Blu-ray on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, we get to view what is arguably the best of the X-movies right in the comfort of our own homes. Of course, there will be a lot of special features on the discs and we know that there will be some deleted scenes and features we’ll be dying to see, like the previous incarnation of the kitchen sequence. We know that X-Men: Apocalypse will be coming along in a few years with a gaggle of other X-Movies to accompany the franchise. One of the people shepherding these movies to a new phase is screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg. Not only did he write and co-produce X-Men: Days of Future Past, he is also produced and wrote the new Fantastic Four reboot for 20th Century Fox, and helped create the Star Wars: Rebels series, so he definitely has a lot on his plate. We managed to catch a few minutes with Simon and found some great insights into this X-Trilogy, the deleted scenes for Days of Future Past, as well as the future of the franchise and what he’d like to see.

Photo: Gage Skidmore
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Grizzly Bomb: How did the success of Days of Future Past influence the current production of Apocalypse?

Simon Kinberg: I think it gave us the confidence and freedom to take chances the way we took chances in that movie. It’s a pretty radical film, there’s a ton of information, there’s a ton of complex narrative and character work. Not necessarily the norm for these big loud films. The success of the movie made everyone feel pretty bolstered that we can do that again, and that we had to. Apocalypse has to be an emotional film, and in some ways, radical film, like Days of Future Past.

How did you guys arrive at having Apocalypse as the next villain? Did you have an idea dating back to First Class or did it come to you during Days of Future Past?

Something we’ve been talking about for quite awhile.  There was certainly a feeling that this may not be the end of the First Class trilogy, but a completion of some of the character arcs. As part of that, we really wanted not only a new villain, but a villain who can really test and challenge and push these characters, further than they’ve ever been pushed. When you look at the canon of the X-Men comics, Apocalypse is certainly high up there as the most, or at least one of the most powerful mutants of all time. So we always felt we were going to introduce a huge villain in this film and try in many ways to expand the visual scope and scale of the movies yet again, the way that First Class to Days of Future Past took a big leap in terms of the scale of the film. It’s hard to do that again but that is the intention of Apocalypse.

x-men dofp 1

The trio of Magneto, Xavier, and Mystique have come to the forefront on what these X-movies are about. How will they play out in Apocalypse and what about our unsung fourth lead, Beast?

The relationship between Charles, Erik and Raven, that triangle, is in many ways, the center in First Class, DoFP, and will be in Apocalypse as well. The interesting thing about Hank, the fourth lead in the first two films, in the first movie it’s really a love story between him and Raven. In the second movie, in some ways, the story is between him and Charles. He’s become the person who is taking care of Charles, and in some ways is like the dutiful spouse for Charles. This movie will hopefully explore a little more of the Hank/Raven relationship again and see him go in some ways from Hank to Beast. Because he’s not a character that has fully embraced his mutant identity and certainty, his more “beastly” side of his identity. So that’s room to explore in this film.

Were there any scenes that you had envisioned writing the script that never made the final cut? Specifically the Rogue deleted scene, how crucial was that scene, and were you upset to see that and others go?

There’s a lot of scenes that I conceived that never made it to production, and there’s a few scenes that made it to production that never made it to the final cut of the movie. While I have a lot of affection for those scenes because I wrote them and lived with them for months and in the case of the ones we shot, I lived with them for a year or more. I’m very happy with the final version of the film and I actually think the final version of the film is the cut that Bryan Singer, Lauren Donner, myself and the studio feel is the best version of the film. That isn’t to say those other scenes weren’t great. And on this DVD/Blu-ray that’s coming out now, you’ll see scenes that were deleted and you’ll also hear the actors and filmmakers talking about some of the stuff we explore that didn’t end up in the final cut of the film. Specifically with the Rogue scenes, I love those scenes, I think it’s a really fun sequence in the movie, I love Rogue as a character, I love what Anna has done with her. So I was bummed to see them go for those reasons – but they didn’t fit into the film. That’s really my fault more than anyone. In fact, it’s only my fault. Because it’s a structural thing, it’s a storytelling issue.  It’s a movie with so many plots, subplots and characters to service, I had created that subplot essentially as an appendage, not as something in the main spine of the film, simply because I wanted to integrate Rogue into the movie. I also, frankly, wanted to get Ian and Patrick out of the monastery and on one final mission together. So that’s what the sequence is, which all of those things are cool, but they don’t actually service the Days of Future Past story. So we watched it in the movie, and those scenes are as good as anything in the film, individually. But they didn’t service a story that already had so much for the audience to process. So I was bummed to see them go because I liked them but ultimately we felt like all the things we cut were for the best of the movie.

Rogue DoFP

What is the future of the X-series, as everyone knows this will end the current character arcs. Will we see more solo or team-based movies and in the idea of shared universes, could we see Fantastic Four or even Deadpool and Gambit together sooner than later?

I think it’s both. To me, you always want ensemble X-Men movies, I guess mainline X-Men movies. There’s so much story left to tell even after Apocalypse with the main characters from the X-Men movies. So I think there will always be X-Men movies, and then hopefully successful standalone movies. Marvel has done it as well or better than anyone. You have the Avengers movies, then the standalone movies. Both experiences are big tentpole movie experiences and they all feed into a larger narrative too. And that’s what we are trying to do with the X-Men movies, and certainty with the Fantastic Four movies, is build a larger tapestry that all these movies are a part of. And if you see all the movies together, they tell a larger story. But watching any of the films on their own, is a fully completed, fully realized story as well. So no, I definitely think there will be future X-Men movies, as well as standalone movies. As a fan of the X-Men films and comics, part of what’s so much fun is the team aspect. And this is a team that we all grew up loving on the page, and people are falling in love with in the movies so we wouldn’t want to abandon that.

We’d like to thank Simon Kinberg again for taking the time and sitting down with us to answer a few questions. X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out on DVD/Blu-ray Tuesday October 14th, 2014 and it is available now on Digital HD.

Images: 20th Century Fox, Gage Skidmore

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