The cast of X-Men Apocalypse is looking to be perhaps the biggest collection of mutants that any of the X-Men movies has featured. Confirmed to already be joining Charles Xavier and Magneto are Mystique, Jean Grey, Beast, Cyclops, Quicksilver, Nightcrawler and Storm.
Casting a Wide Mutant Net
But if the early word from director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg are any indication, this isn't close to being the final lineup. Included in one rumor or another is the possible introduction of Channing Tatum's Gambit, Cable and Psylocke.
While all reports have put X-Men Apocalypse as a conclusion to the trilogy and main characters (Prof X, Magneto, Mystique and Beast) that were introduced in X-Men First Class, there is also a sense that Apocalypse will be setting up potential stories to possibly be continued or further explored in future X-Men movies - but is that all at the cost of X-Men Apocalypse hitting the reboot button?
First of all, there's the casting of Ben Hardy in what is most certainly the role of Angel. Not only does the actor completely fit the role - Angel plays a big part in Marvel's Age of Apocalypse traditional storyline. There will certainly be changes to the comic book story, but I would be surprised if they take out the opportunity to re-introduce the character of Angel - and potentially Archangel.
The character of Angel was indeed played by a young Ben Foster in the much maligned X-Men: The Last Stand. For those who may not remember, or wish to forget, X-Men: The Last Stand was the third X-Men movie and the only one to not be directed by Bryan Singer. Singer dropped out due to Fox trying to rush the movie into development and the end result is indeed something that doesn't feel all that well thought out.
Re-Writing the X-Men Future
There is a great interview with X-Men writer Simon Kinberg on Yahoo where he mentions that some of the work that X-Men Days of Future Past did was to correct some of the mistakes that were made in X-Men Last Stand. He points to the handling of the Dark Phoenix storyline but could there be more changes to the original trilogy ahead?
In fact, did X-Men Days of Future Past make more changes to the X-Men universe than Kinberg or anyone else has let on about? Kinberg also talks about possibly picking up the thread of how Mystique gets a pre-adamantium clawed Wolverine pulled out of the river and getting those claws made in a non-Weapon X fashion.
Does this mean that by the time X-Men Apocalypse is over, the first three X-Men movies will all be effectively no longer canonical? This happens all the time in the pages of the comic books but I don't know if it has ever happened in superhero movies before. It's not that I would mind really - but man, I did love Wolverine's story in X2.
A Nightcrawler Reboot?
The other head-scratcher that stands out for me in the interview with Simon Kinberg is the brief mention of possibly changing the movie version of Nightcrawler away from Alan Cumming's version in X2 to a version that could more closely adhere to the traditional Marvel version of things by making Nightcrawler the son of Mystique.
Since 20 years have passed between First Class and Apocalypse, it is indeed entirely possible that the casting of 19 year old Kodi Smit-McPhee could mean that this Nightcrawler will be the son of Mystique and Azazel - making Mystique finding out about the Trask experiments that killed Azazel all the more horrific to her in hindsight.
It'll be interesting to see how many changes to the original trilogy [X-Men: Apocalypse](movie:1194267) will be willing to make. Changes to X-Men: The Last Stand, Angel and Nightcrawler are one thing - but altering Wolverine's Weapon X heritage is another. And if the movie does introduce Cable, the possibilities of time traveling and constantly re-writing history or altering timelines could become the standard for these movies.
What do you think? Is having Nightcrawler appear already a sign that X2 the events of X2 are being erased? Was all of this inevitable once the Apocalypse storyline came into being?