Days of Future Past may have just wrapped up at the box office, but we're already thinking of the wonderful possibilities X-Men: Apocalypse, the next installment could offer - primarily the cast of the new generation of X-Men.
It’s safe to say X-Men: Days of Future Past has been a box office hit. Now the buzz for Apocalypse has been garnering press and attention from all over, and fans are bursting with questions. Who are the next wave of X-Men? How will Apocalypse be introduced to the cinematic universe? What does this mean for the future of the canon? Well, we can’t answer all of these questions, but we did take a stab at the new roster and cast for Apocalypse. After some diligent searching, endless name calling and intermittent side-eying, we’ve curated a list of our top picks for the future of the X-franchise, as well as some necessary character additions for Apocalypse. The young Storm, Jean and Cyclops have been confirmed for Apocalypse, and as per usual with these things, we (Aaron Reese and Scott Fraser) dug into it and geeked out accordingly with the latest GEEK Casting Call.
Where the lines of X-Men: First Class blurred regarding the Brotherhood of Mutants and the X-Men, Days of Future Past defined them, placing the canon’s mutants in their respective roles and pairings. What was clearer than ever was Professor X and Beast were the only remnants of the original cinematic X-team. Logan’s plea to Xavier is to found the X-Men, starting with the trio that builds the core cinematic team: Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm. With the amount of intelligence between Beast and Xavier, it’s safe to assume that Cerebro is completely operational and has aided them on their global search for the new Children of the Atom.
James McAvoy and Nicolas Hoult have both been confirmed to return for Apocalypse. As Fox works on rebuilding the X-verse, it’s been clear that these two, along with Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, are the new anchors of the franchise until the core trilogy is re-established. Which works quite well, an older Beast and Professor X teaching three young yet powerful mutants the ropes could be a heck of a lot better than the first stages of the Danger Room sequence we saw in First Class. In short, these two are the foundation of the X-Men to come, and surely this is a good thing. - A. Reese
Cyclops – Dylan O’ Brien
We can agree here at Geek base camp that Scott Summers has always been one of the most complexed and misunderstood X-Men characters in the lineup. And perhaps the biggest fault when referencing Cyke, is most take his precision and militant spirit as a lack of emotion, when in reality Cyclops may be one of the most emotionally layered characters in the canon. Which brings us to Dylan “where have I seen this kid?” O’Brien.
His claim to fame is his role as sarcastic sidekick Stiles Stilinski on MTV’s Teen Wolf, and given his performance as the Dark Kitsune possessed “Void Stiles” in season three, O’Brien’s definitely got the acting chops and the emotional range necessary for Summers. Teen Wolf fans aside (guilty here), his talent’s been noted as one to watch as he’ll be playing the protagonist Thomas in the upcoming The Maze Runner adaptation this fall. So ultimately what could this mean for a young Cyclops? We could potentially see some teenage angst done right (sorry Havok), relentless passion between him and Jean, kick ass leadership skills and maybe even a tiny seed of corruption? I don’t know about you, but that’s how I prefer my Cyclops. - A. Reese
Jean Grey – Jane Levy
Bringing Jean Grey back into the X-verse is a challenging, but incredibly important move for X-Men: Apocalypse. We are still kind of sore from the pitiful ‘Dark Phoenix’ adaptation we got in X-Men: The Last Stand, and while Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey has her fans, I wasn’t really one of them. So with the opportunity to recast Jean Grey for the newest X-film, we threw out our net to see who could not only play the early Jean Grey we know and love, but would also be able to turn in a legendary performance should the possibility of a proper Dark Phoenix adaptation come along with future sequels.
Jane Levy has recently showcased her incredible range further, whether it’s as the big-city-small-towner Tessa Altman in Suburbia, or the addict-deadite-warrior-woman Mia from Evil Dead. Not only could she play the shy and introverted teen Jean, but crank up the Phoenix Force in her and we could see Levy delivering a powerful performance as the Star-Child AKA Chaos-Bringer AKA Dark Phoenix. Plus we assume that Levy and Dylan O’Brien as Scott Summers would make a wonderful match full of on-screen chemistry, further building the legends of these two iconic characters. - S. Fraser
Storm – Kat Graham
Storm’s a sore subject with both movie-goers and fan boys, and I personally can attest to that. The biggest issue for the cinematic Storm wasn’t Halle’s skin color or even her ridiculous attempt at a South African accent, but the fact that she barely embodied any traits of her comic book counterpart. Storm has been a queen, worshipped as a goddess, and eventually became a leader of the X-Men. In short – one of the strongest super heroines in existence that we’ve yet to see properly in the movies. Things gets trickier since we start off with pick pocket teenage goddess Storm (we’re assuming) in Apocalypse. We’ve always thought the mantle of Storm deserves a new face, someone who’s authoritative and strong, but overall a new talent. Cue Kat Graham. The Vampire Diaries vet brings a mesmerizing performance to her witchy role as Bonnie Bennett, the show’s resident mistress of the arcane.
Additionally Graham is a fairly successful singer and dancer, and has gone on record to say she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Let the proverbial angelic chorus sing, because if we’re correct about our “80′s Storm” assumption, she needs to be street smart, edgy and a tad bit grimy. And from what we’ve observed of Graham’s performances, she’s sassy enough to deliver those dramatic quips, and has a conviction that’ll force you to acknowledge her goddesshood. Add that with the idea of Graham in a white mohawk and I think you’ve found a windrider who can do Ororo some serious cinematic justice. - A. Reese
Angel/Death – Sam Claflin
Warren Worthington III AKA Angel has appeared in the X-verse before, played by Ben Foster in X-Men: The Last Stand. However, his was a throwaway inclusion like so many others in the film, and really didn’t do the character justice. Thanks to the changes in the timeline from DoFP, we can only hope that means we will also get a new version of Angel for the next sequel, especially since Apocalypse is involved. Warren was a founding member of the X-Men, but he was also the first of another mutant tradition; Warren was the first X-Man to be transformed by Apocalypse into his Horsemen of Death. Warren’s feathers were replaced with razorsharp techno-organic wings, his personality altered, and his future forever tainted by En Sabah Nur. Eventually he would become Archangel and return to the X-Men, but his time as Death never left him.
Sam Claflin would make not only a fantastic Warren Worthington III, which we saw glimpses of from his portrayal of Finnick in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but also as the transformed horsemen Death. This is a role that would see two incredibly different performances for Claflin to have fun with, while focusing the emotional core of the film. Claflin’s relationship not only with the other students of this new class of X-Men, but Apocalypse and his fellow Horsemen would presumably drive a good part of this film, and offer something new to the franchise that fans have desperately been waiting to see since the 2000 release of X-Men. - S. Fraser
Nightcrawler – Anton Yelchin
Kurt Vagner, excuse me Kurt Wagner has an unbelievable amount of charm and flare for a mutant of his physicality. Consider him the X-Men’s version of Spider-Man/Peter Parker: he’s a silly, wise-cracking acrobat whose tragic past experiences has fueled his optimistic and religious outlook on life. The zeal, humor and slight awkwardness was definitely missing from Alan Cumming’s depiction of Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, so a younger fresh-faced “elf” could be a fun addition to Apocalypse, as Nightcrawler has had several mentions (though no confirmation yet) of being in the upcoming film.
Anton Yelchin may be more of a familiar face than some on this list. His first few blockbuster roles were in Alpha Dog, Fright Night, and Terminator: Salvation, but perhaps his most recognizable role is Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abram’s cinematic Star Trek reboot. The Russian born actor played to his strengths as the adorably awkward 17 year old engineering prodigy, whose accent served as a comedic punchline several times in the film. And despite Nightcrawler lacking “prodigy status” the similarities between a young Nightcrawler and Yelchin’s prior character portrayals are solid, thus making the nerd in us see blue. Yelchin’s also a fairly attractive young actor, so it would be aesthetically interesting to see him in the blue body paint similar to Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Either way, Yelchin as the blue swashbuckler sounds like a match made in geek heaven. - A. Reese
With the film presumably following some of the building blocks of the early comics by introducing the younger versions of the cinematic X-Men, we decided to follow suit with Magneto and his Brotherhood for our take on X-Men: Apocalypse. We know that Fassbender will be back as Magneto, as will the standout character of Days of Future Past, Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters. A new version of Toad was introduced in DoFP, played by Evan Jonigkeit, who is seen in the finale of DoFP watching Magneto’s speech and nodding, so he’s also a safe bet for the team.
The original Brotherhood of the comics featured a number of characters already introduced into Fox’s cinematic X-verse, which made the formation of our team for the casting call relatively easy. Some might assume that Peter (yes, we know it’s Pietro, but in the film he’s called Peter) AKA Quicksilver would be on the side of the angels in the next film, but we think some of the subtle hints in DoFP regarding their familial connections will pair the two together in the Brotherhood. Plus, there is no way Magneto witnesses the abilities of Quicksilver and doesn’t recruit him. And of course, with Quicksilver comes another powerful mutant… - S. Fraser
Scarlet Witch – Imogen Poots
Wanda Maximoff and Pietro have been quite the buzz worthy pair this past year, with Marvel and Fox looking to utilize them both. Bryan Singer has referenced Wanda’s existence in the X-Men cinematic universe, alluding to an omitted scene in the Maximoff house. Wanda and Pietro were an original installation in The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants alongside their father, Magneto. After figuring the life of crime wasn’t their speed, the siblings moved on to become apart of the Avengers roster. Wanda’s a great add on to the X-Men cast. Her powers of reality bending and hex bolts could lend themselves quite useful to the Brotherhood’s roster. And let’s face it, another bad ass super powered female key player couldn’t hurt either.
Imogen’s been recently seen in That Awkward Moment and Need for Speed with Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, and we’ve been a fan of hers for a while. Imogen may be our female counterpart to Anton Yelchin, who she worked with on the Fright Night reboot. The British actress has a quirky yet bewitching charm to her that is entirely organic. Wanda, like Jean, has been mistaken for a soft spoken character, and at times this holds true – but if you’re a fan of the comics you’re more than aware that Wanda alone has shaken the very core of the Marvel universe with three simple words. Imogen can pack the punch while playing up Wanda’s uncontrollable and erratic nature. - A. Reese
Mastermind – Thomas Brodie-Sangster
The final member of the original Brotherhood is Jason Wyngarde AKA Mastermind, a creepy looking illusionist who also spends time with the Hellfire Club, and who plays a pivotal role in the ‘Dark Phoenix’ storyline. However, a version of Mastermind has also appeared in the cinematic X-Verse already, although with a slightly different origin story. In X2: X-Men United we are introduced to Jason Stryker, the mutant son of General William Stryker, who has played an ongoing role in both the X-Men and Wolverine films, most recently in Days of Future Past. With the future of William Stryker possibly altered thanks to the events of DoFP, this could mean a very big change for Jason Stryker, who hasn’t exactly had the best treatment in the film universe.
In DoFP Jason is acknowledged as being almost 10, and with Apocalypse taking place roughly 10 years after DoFP, the timeframe is perfect for us to cast Thomas Brodie-Sangster, one of our favorite young actors, into the new cinematic version of Jason Stryker AKA Mastermind. Brodie-Sangster has impressed us for years, but most recently with his portrayal of Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones. With Mastermind working for Magneto at this age, their is little contradiction to his future role in X2, which appeases the continuity geek in me, and brings our version of the cinematic Brotherhood of Mutants to a close. - S. Fraser
War – Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has obviously been a mainstay of the Cinematic X-verse, having appeared in all five X-Men films (though only a cameo in X-Men: First Class) and two Wolverine solo films. So his inclusion in X-Men: Apocalypse is certainly no surprise. However, with a film about Apocalypse there comes a very intriguing opportunity to play around with the characters a little bit, which is definitely something that would interest Jackman in returning to a role that might feel stale at this point.
During a storyline called ‘The Twelve’, Wolverine is revealed as the Horsemen of Death, having been mentally reprogrammed and rebonded with adamantium, which had been removed by Magneto in the ‘Fatal Attractions’ storyline. While in the comics Wolverine takes on the role of Death, the film version would be far better suited to the horsemen of War, with so much of his history based around the many wars Logan has served in. Seeing Wolverine set against his fellow X-Men as the Horsemen of War would bring a much needed new dynamic to the character we have been watching for almost 15 years, and offer a next-level action scene the likes of which we can only imagine. - S. Fraser
Famine – Jennifer Lawrence
Days of Future Past was, metaphorically speaking, a fight for Mystique’s morality. If there is anyone in the canon that embodies a grey-area character it’s her. And though she exited DoFP doing the right thing, we clearly know what route the shapeshifter takes in the future. Could there be a foreseeable reunion with Magneto and The Brotherhood? That remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not a farfetched idea. The threat of Apocalypse alone could bring her back into the folds of the Brotherhood or even the X-Men. And her new role masquerading as Stryker could be the way Wolverine falls in the hands of Apocalypse as well.
Lawrence has done a lot with Mystique in the past two X-films, and one thing to note and admire about her character is the amount of control Mystique establishes in given situations. That being said, seeing Mystique controlled and manipulated by Apocalypse could be an interesting development for the character and narrative for the franchise. Mystique, more than anyone, remains one step ahead of her peers. In the animated series X-Men: Evolution, we see Mystique turned into one of the Horseman of Apocalypse, though she is never named. The beauty of Mystique’s role as a Horseman is that despite the amplification of her mutant abilities, it’s her savvy and her cunning that’ll do more for Apocalypse than an offensive power set such as Gambit. Her role as Famine could mean we see her at her best, and at her darkest. Consider us sold. - A.Reese
Pestilence – Channing Tatum
One of the more interesting casting announcements we’ve heard recently has been Channing Tatum as Gambit, which caused some debate between fans as to how well he would portray the character. We already saw Remy LeBeau on the big screen, played by Taylor Kitsch in the incredibly disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but with the recent time corrections made in DoFP that version may no longer be considered canon, which of course opens the door for Tatum to take over the character.
We’ve heard rumors that Gambit will be appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse, and since Remy has also been transformed into a Horsemen of Apocalypse before, we think he just might make his first appearance working against the X-Men, which could be an interesting nod to his ‘villainous’ comic origins. In the ‘Blood of Apocalypse’ storyline, Gambit is transformed into Death (notice a pattern here?), but with Warren hopefully taking the lead as Death in the film, we think Gambit would make a nice fit for Pestilence. This would tease the character for the X-crowd while still allowing a fresh look at the character for his potential spin-off film. – S. Fraser
Some would say Apocalypse is the definitive villian for of the X-Men universe. He’s arguably immortal, with radical molecular controlling abilities and the aid of celestial technology, which grant him a number of other powers, including telekinesis and tehcnopathy from time-to-time. In short, he’s practically unbeatable. Apocalypse AKA En Sabah Nur was an Egyptian born mutant (the first of his kind) who has lived for several centuries. With a “survival of the fittest” mentality and a penchant for chaos, destruction and world domination. It’s no wonder that Fox has set their sights on the ultimate villain to set the stage for the next part of the X-franchise.
Apocalypse will definitely be a culmination of CGI effects, perhaps via a motion tracker suit and voice acting. First on our list was hands down Benedict Cumberbatch. Khan and Smaug are two prime examples that Benedict’s vocal savvy, diction and intensity are well suited for powerhouse villains. There’s a lot of effort that Cumberbatch puts into his vocal abilities delivering primal screams, and slithering sinister quips – the perfect addition to an ancient godlike nemesis. We’re obviously fans of Cumberbatch here, and though Apocalypse is Egyptian born, there’s a likelihood we won’t get to physically see that side of him in the modern era. But Apocalypse’s voice is meant to be heard, always booming and overpowering and at times terrifying for the X-Men. Cumberbatch is a sure win, and the perfect big name to attach to a movie so epic. - A.Reese
This Casting Call took an incredibly long time to put together, as Aaron and I (with a little help from Brian Kronner), threw names back and forth, argued over whether we could legitimately include Dazzler, and stared blankly at the screen when the final name to cast came up – Apocalypse. This is a role that will define this entire movie, and while we are proud of the cast we have put together, we do not envy Bryan Singer and his casting crew as they put together a team that could possibly be the future of the cinematic X-verse. However, we can’t wait to see who they come up with.
What do you think of our cast? Who would you replace? Let us know in the comments section below or join the discussion on the GEEK Facebook page!
Images: Marvel, 20th Century Fox, MTV, ABC, The CW, Lionsgate,
Fusion Films, Focus Features, HBO, Columbia, Paramount