Casting is a little like Marmite; you either love it or hate it (and you shouldn't comment until you've really tried it). And as many of you will know, when it comes to the original cast of X-Men, I'm generally less-than-thrilled. Hugh Jackman absolutely embodies Wolverine (admittedly with a more height and less back hair) and I could not imagine a more perfect Professor X than Patrick Stewart. However, when it comes to the remaining four major players, I'm distinctly underwhelmed, and I have been for the past fourteen years.
So you can imagine my glee on hearing writer Simon Kinberg talk about the possibility of finally (finally!) getting a re-cast for these fan favorites in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
If we included some of the original X-Men, like Storm and Jean and Scott and others, in Apocalypse, yeah, we would have to recast them, because Apocalypse takes place a good 20 years before X1, which now, insanely, was 10 or 15 years ago. It’d be very hard to do. Halle [Berry], and Famke [Janssen], and Jimmy [Marsden], and others have done such wonderful jobs of bringing those characters to life, and they’re so identified, those actors, with the parts now. So, it would be a tall task, but I also would have said, before First Class, that there would be no way we could find actors who could stand alongside Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and I think we managed to with Michael [Fassbender] and James [McAvoy] doing their own interpretations of the characters, not doing an impersonation. So, are we going to have to recast? If some of those characters were in the movie we would, but we will see.
As he points out, we already have two actors playing both Magneto and Xavier (three, technically, given their appearance as children in First Class), and that worked out wonderfully. With the continuation of a storyline in the past, why not include new characters to play younger versions of these classic heroes?
Despite seeing the original cast in the final scenes of Days of Future Past, I think that it is very likely that we will see other actors come in to play younger versions of them. On top of that, if they work out, why not simply keep them? It wouldn't be the first time that a new actor took over from film to film, and while it's often an annoyance for some fans, the vast majority are willing to recognize that we are dealing with real people, not fictional characters, and sometimes there are good reasons for a face to change. Just look at Mystique - few people associate Rebecca Romjin with the role now that JLaw has taken over.
So with all that said, who should come on board to play the big four in the 80s? Obviously, we would be looking for young actors; in a timeline where Xavier is still a relatively young man, we would need to see actors obviously younger than him; people on a par with Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Ellen Page. I would also love to see someone really embody each role, and rock it for the next fourteen years.
Sorry Halle, Femke, Anna and James, but it's time to pass the torch, and I feel like these guys have their hands out.
Storm - Samira Wiley
Best known for the absolutely incredible Orange is the New Black, Samira Wiley has more than shown her acting chops in the series, and I would love to see her take on a big movie role. She has an incredibly expressive face, and her character in OITNB has shown a huge range of emotion, including some of the careful wisdom that Aurora must grow into. On top of it all, her shorn head would make it easy to wear a long white wig, and I have to confess, Halle's Storm with short hair always bothered me.
Jean Grey - Jacqueline Emerson
Best Known as FoxFace in the Hunger Games, why not bring this young redhead back to work with co-star Jennifer Lawrence a second time? Expressive and used to the big screen, this could be the perfect role for her to really grow in. Jean Grey joined the X-Men as a teenager, and while the actress is out of her teens, she still has that fresh-faced innocence that I would love to see brought to Jean Grey before she finds her darkness as an adult.
Cyclops - Alex Pettyfer
Already an award-winner and from acting stock, Alex Pettyfer has that perfect "classically handsome" look to take on the number one good guy of the X-Men, Scott Summers. He's a little older than Jacqueline Emerson, so the two would work well together playing the blossoming romance of the ultimate X-Couple (of course, the Wolverine/Jean Grey plotline would have to develop much later, seeing as Wolverine is ageless, and Jean Grey is in her late teens at this point).
Rogue - Emma Stone
Ah, Rogue. The one character whose casting I have hated from the first film, and that I am most hopeful about seeing a re-cast on. Nothing against Anna Paquin, who is incredible in True Blood, but I just don't think she looks like the Rogue I have loved since I was a kid, and the original writing for the character was terrible. Time to bring in a new Rogue, with the right backstory (hey there, Mystique-as-adopted-mom) and some kick for the character.
Who better to play a ballsy southern girl than the incredible Emma Stone? Sure, she is in the later side of her 20s, but she can look much younger when she needs to, and her role in The Help proves that she can rock a southern accent. She's also got the right mix of cute, vulnerable and sexy, and I cannot think of a better choice. Tease up that hair and add the iconic white streak, and we have our new, improved, Rogue (with an attitude this time).
What do you guys think? Should these characters be re-cast for the upcoming movie? How might they make an appearance in the 80s, and does the timeline mean that they should even be younger (tweens, rather than late teens/early twenties)? Let me know who you would love to see in the comments below!