3. Links Dont Need To Be Tangible
A mistake a lot of prequels make is thinking that the best way to link back to the main franchise is through repeating actors or characters Im looking at you, Star Wars. You can count the number of main reoccurring characters in First Class on one hand and the number of reoccurring actors on the other. The other ways of linking back to the original trilogy are varied. There are the repeated settings and props of Xaviers mansion, the prototype Blackbird plane, Charles chair, Shaw and Magnetos helmet. First Class also creates links through themes and character development and design styles. Of course there are the fabulous five-second cameos of Rebecca Romijin and Hugh Jackman. But the repeated themes of isolation, hiding vs. revealing, a separate mutant society or assimilation give First Class the same overall feel as the original trilogy. Design wise, we have the repeat opening of coin or object rotating to reveal the X-Men symbol. Charles first turn in Cerebro uses a similar sequence to how Professor X in the trilogy sees the minds around him in the machine. Ravens scales are the same but move slower and are larger to hint that she is less adept at shape shifting. One of my favourite links, and indeed, jokes in the entire franchise, hinges on Xaviers speech regarding the importance and his amazement at mutation. In the original trilogy, it opens the first film, setting up Professor X as a character of great wisdom, intelligence and gravity. In First Class, its his pickup speech at a university bar. This links the two films strongly and tells the audience that yes, this is Charles Xavier, but he has a long way to go before hes Professor X. Even at the end of First Class, its still a long walk (roll?) ahead of him. In short, links dont always need to be namedrops and characters jammed into roles that dont suit. You can be subtler than that.