[X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) is a story of beginnings and endings. It closes off the trilogy that began with X-Men: First Class, and it lays the groundwork for what's to come. But will Psylocke be a key part of tomorrow's #XMen movies?
Who is Psylocke?
Created by legendary X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, Psylocke is the brother of superhero Captain Britain (yes, there's a Captain Britain). In fact, before she joined the X-Men she briefly had a stint in her brother's Union Jack-inspired costume!
Psylocke made her way over to Claremont's classic run of Uncanny X-Men, becoming a core member of the team. Her physical frailty clashed with her love of action and her longing to be a warrior - a desire that came to a head when she stepped into the Siege Perilous, a mystic portal that offered you your heart's desire. Psylocke's mind wound up body-switched into the form of a Japanese assassin, Kwannon, and she briefly lost herself in this deadly identity, even becoming Lady Mandarin.
Since then, Psylocke's been a consistent member of the X-Men, with a long-lasting romance with Archangel. She's dark and dangerous, unafraid of killing, and in a recent run of X-Force even became addicted to her bloodlust. She's also frequently been portrayed as highly sexual (in the early '90s she attempted to seduce Cyclops into an affair, a strange reflection of the psychic affair he'd finally have with Emma Frost a decade later).
Psylocke's chance at greatness!
Although Psylocke made a brief cameo in X-Men: The Last Stand, it's only in X-Men: Apocalypse that we're going to see her really shine. Psylocke wasn't originally going to be in the film - but as soon as Simon Kinberg decided he wanted the character to make an appearance, he thought of 'Geek Goddess' Olivia Munn. He'd just met with Munn to discuss a role in Deadpool, and thought she'd be a good fit.
It doesn't sound to have taken Munn long to fall in love with the idea! She immediately emailed Kinberg fan-art featuring her portraying the character, and got heavily involved in designing the costume - as she observes:
“I think my first thought [when I saw the costume] was it has to be purple, because we were going up against time and making it. It was black at first because that’s the way to—the latex is in black and all the armor is in black and it’s just easier, but I was like, ‘You’ve got to make it purple.’ That was kind of my first thought when I saw myself in the costume, which was in Photoshop.”
The result is easily one of the most faithful X-Men costumes to the comics. That's pretty incredible, when you consider Fox have turned a glorified bathing costume into battle armor!
Munn is absolutely committed to the role. Incredibly, she also refused to use stunt-doubles:
“Psylocke is such a powerful, lethal character. It was important to me that I was able to do all of the stunts because the more believable it is, the better it is for the audience — and the only way to make it believable is for me to actually do it.”
This included learning swordcraft, as she revealed on social media:
What's more impressive is the degree to which Munn has gotten inside Psylocke's head. She's fascinated by the character's bloodlust; as she observes:
"When most superheroes don’t enjoy killing or don’t want to kill but they will kill if they have to, Psylocke can create anything with her mind. She can kill from afar, like Magneto or Storm, but she chooses to create a sword, which is a very intimate way to kill someone. She experiences it."
It's pretty clear that Olivia Munn is having the time of her life - and, as Ryan Reynolds has proved, when an actor is utterly committed to a superhero role, they can portray it with flair.
Now, it's true that X-Men: Apocalypse can't portray everything; but Munn and Kinberg have worked carefully to ensure that Psylocke's backstory is integral to her character. There are hints at her past, meaning that fans won't feel neglected, while both her telepathic and telekinetic skills are present - after a fashion. Munn explains:
“Psylocke is telepathic and telekinetic. In the movie, we see her being a telekinetic. We don’t see her being telepathic. It’s a decision [we made] because this is the first time we’ve really been able to see the character of Psylocke and have her really, truly exist in the movie. I talked about it with Simon Kinberg. There’s just so much going on, especially with Apocalypse’s power, and then trying to take on all of the X-Men. When you are telephatic, I feel that it’s a power that you want to hold close to your chest. It’s a card that you don’t want a lot of people to know about because it’s so much more powerful when people don’t know that you have this power.”
Fans of the X-Men films have often complained that the movies don't show enough respect to the comics that inspired them. It looks as though they won't have any cause to complain with Psylocke!
What does the future hold?
Let's face facts - until the movie comes out, we have no way of knowing whether or not Psylocke makes it out of X-Men: Apocalypse alive. What we do know, though, is that Deadpool's success is very likely to give the green light to an X-Force movie, and Psylocke has been integral to no less than three incarnations of that team. Check her out in the official trailer for the movie:
Given her clear love for the character, I have absolutely no doubt that Munn would snap up the chance to return to the role. Here's hoping!