DOFP-future-sentinel-header

So what’s up with that future Sentinel design in X-Men: Days of Future Past? The first image of the mutant-killer of the future debuted late last night via an Empire Magazine cover, and instantly raised some eyebrows. While the first couple generations of Sentinels seen in the film bear a certain resemblance to the fan-favorite design known from comic books, this is pretty far afield of any design we’ve seen.

There are vague hints of the “ultimate Sentinel” Nimrod in the robot’s “face,” but more pointers to the classic design of the shape-shifting cybernetic alien Warlock, from the X-Men spin-off New Mutants. The T-1000 might be in there, along with some video game inspiration, and maybe a bit of the Alien xenomorph. Until we see this thing in motion it’s difficult to get a bead on how well it will work, though there is obviously a strict design principle at work.

After the break, the film’s production designer explains that principle.

First, if you missed the image, here’s the Sentinel:

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Production designer John Mayhre explained the look to Empire:

They’re biomechanical weapons. We had to come up with what would be the ultimate version that could actually, in principle, stop the X-Men. We started with this idea that they were almost made up of magnetic plates slapped over one another, imagining that the plates could contract or grow, so the Sentinel can be skinny to get through a small space or the plates can open up to become a bigger shape. So they have become virtually unstoppable.”

That makes sense, at least with respect to this design. When we first saw the image last night I thought about the idea that it could have a nanotech-influenced origin — that it could shift and reconfigure itself as needed. That’s the suggestion of all those little plates, and evidently just what they were after. Whether it’s good as a Sentinel, or something fans can and will accept, is a different story.

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