An X-cellent idea – Empire Magazine’s 25 variant covers for X-Men: Days of Future Past


I know it’s been over a month already, but I loved this idea so much that I feel that I need to write about it.


The three-way war between man, mutant, and machine has begun, and Empire was smart enough to cover it.

As a promotional stunt for 20th Century Fox’s superhero blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past, Empire Magazine unveiled 25 brand-new covers for its March 2014 issue, each depicting the film’s central characters.

The covers were revealed one by one on the magazine’s official website at hourly intervals, for the duration of an entire day.


An uncanny assortment

The first cover features Mark I of the fearsome mutant-hunting robot, the Sentinel. X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer tweeted the cover, adding that this version was developed in the film universe’s 1973.


The second cover, revealed an hour later, shows the energy-projecting X-Man, Havok, played by Lucas Till. In the comics, Havok (Alexander Summers) is the younger brother of the X-Men’s leader, Cyclops (Scott Summers). Cyclops was heavily featured in the first two X-Men films, but was unceremoniously killed off-screen in the third film. The actor who played Cyclops, James Marsden (, confirmed that his take on the optic-blasting mutant leader will not be in Days of Future Past. (Now we know that he was actually there – and it was a really nice surprise.)

The slimy member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mortimer Toynbee a.k.a. Toad, is stuck on the third cover. This version of the long-tongued mutant is portrayed by Evan Jonigkeit. The fourth cover depicts the mutant-hating William Stryker in his younger years, played by Josh Helman. The creator of the Sentinel squad, military scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), makes his presence known on the fifth variant.


A first-class squadron of supers

Jennifer Lawrence graces the sixth cover as the shapely and shape-shifting Raven Darkholme, a.k.a. Mystique. In the original storyline from the comic books, it was Mystique’s assassination of a prominent political figure that allowed the dystopian, mutant-hating future to happen. Meanwhile, the blue-furred genius Henry “Hank” McCoy a.k.a. Beast (played by Nicholas Hoult) is ready for action on the seventh cover.

Cover number 8 zooms in on speedy newcomer Quicksilver. Evan Peters plays the arrogant and temperamental Pietro Maximoff, who eventually became a member of the Avengers and X-Factor in the comics. Fans have reacted rather strongly to the speedster’s appearance in this film. While the character still sports his trademark silver-gray hair, he is also wearing a leather jacket and goggles – a radical departure from his traditionally streamlined outfit. Due to a unique arrangement between Fox and Marvel Studios, an entirely different version of Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) will appear alongside Iron Man and Captain America in 2015’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The ninth cover features Max Eisenhardt/Erik Lensherr, the mutant revolutionary known as Magneto (portrayed by Michael Fassbender). The self-proclaimed Master of Magnetism is one of the characters in this film with a counterpart in the future. Ian McKellen, who appears on the fifteenth cover, reprises his role as the adult version of the magnetic manipulator.

The Yin to Magneto’s Yang, the powerful Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) stands proudly on the tenth cover. The wheelchair-bound future version of the psychic mutant visionary, featured on the fourteenth cover, will be played by Patrick Stewart.

James Howlett, the feral mutant known as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), slashes his way through the eleventh and thirteenth cover. Arguably the “star” of the film, Wolverine takes the place originally held by Kitty Pride (Ellen Page, who is featured on the nineteenth cover) in the original comics storyline as the emissary who travels to the past to prevent their grim future.

Rather amusingly, Bryan Singer makes an appearance on the twelfth cover as himself.


New mutants (and some old ones, too)

Some of the notable members of the roster in past X-Men films have their own covers as well – Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe (Storm) on the sixteenth cover, Anna Paquin as the mysterious Rogue on the seventeenth cover, Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake (Iceman) on cover 22, and Daniel Cudmore as Piotr Rasputin (Colossus) on the penultimate cover.

However, some of the newcomers are given their turn in the spotlight as well. Booboo Stewart as Warpath is ready to strike on the eighteenth cover, while Adan Canto sets the twentieth cover on fire as Sunspot.Fan Bingbing teleports onto the twenty-first cover as Nightcrawler’s future daughter Blink, while the energy-absorbing law enforcer from the future, Lucas Bishop (played by Omar Sy), blasts through the twenty-third cover.

The final cover offers the world its first look at the menacing Sentinels of the future – sleek, scaly, and sinister:



Note: X-Men: Days of Future Past opened on May 21, 2014 in Philippine cinemas.


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