ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, with 's time as about to come to an end, and currently sending out distinctly mixed signals about his willingness to continue playing , it's not entirely unreasonable to suspect that the first age of -themed cinema is finally drawing to a close.

Which, of course, makes this as fine a time as any to reflect on the early X-Men casting we could have seen — something which original franchise screenwriter David Hayter (who wrote both X-Men and its first sequel, X2) recently spent a while doing during an interview with THR. And, as it turns out, we almost saw a very different set of actors playing 's Merry Mutants for . Specifically:

Michael Jackson Auditioned To Play Professor X, Which Is Insane

'Logan' [Credit: Fox]
'Logan' [Credit: Fox]

Yup, that's right. According to Hayter, Jackson was among a whole host of unlikely celebrities who were considered for roles in X-Men, a list that included some truly strange casting options. As he put it:

"I was brought on as they were casting, so I was lucky enough to be there for some of the people who came in like Terence Stamp for Xavier and Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey for Storm. Michael Jackson came in because he wanted to play Professor X. It was amazing. Shaq came in. Viggo Mortensen came in. I really liked Viggo for Wolverine, but it didn't come together for whatever reason. Angela Bassett was our first choice for Storm, but her agents wanted more money than we had at the time. Same with Rachael Leigh Cook for Rogue."

'X-Men: The Last Stand' [Credit: Fox]
'X-Men: The Last Stand' [Credit: Fox]

In other words? There's another reality out there somewhere in which the first X-Men movie starred Michael Jackson as Professor X, Mariah Carey as , Viggo Mortensen as Wolverine, Rachel Leigh Cook as , and Shaquille O'Neal as... wait, who would Shaq have been playing? Well, according to Hayter:

"He's got the big M scar over his face."

Which would, of course, have made him Bishop, a character who didn't ultimately make his way into the X-Franchise until 2014's Days of Future Past, presumably because O'Neal was too busy randomly turning up at Wrestlemania.

Either way, though, we can surely all agree that Michael Jackson playing Professor X would have been one of the most deeply unnerving things to have ever happened to a movie screen, and that it is thus a huge shame that it didn't happen (even if Patrick Stewart was born to play the good Professor). Fortune is a cruel mistress, and all that.

What do you think, though? Would you have preferred to have seen any of those actors in the original X-Men movies? Let us know below!

(Sources: THR)


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