The cast of X-Men: Apocalypse keeps growing bigger. Even though I’m excited for the upcoming installment in the X-Men film series, I’m also weary because X-Men doesn’t have a good track record of treating characters with the respect they deserve!
While X-Men: Days of Future Past was quite an ambitious project by Bryan Singer, he didn’t balance the past and future timelines well. Every mutant in the future was only there to be Sentinel fodder and all the footage from the future was more or less only ten minutes long. There’s a Rogue cut being released later this year, but the point is that the editors decided to cut out a lot of scenes in the final film.
The future timeline had a couple of new mutants: Blink, Warpath, Sunspot, and Bishop. If you’ve seen the film you will agree that these new mutants weren’t treated like proper characters. Does anyone even know how Kitty was able to create such a team in the first place? How did she meet them and convince them to fight alongside her?
One of the mutants in the future timelines, Bishop, is a major character in the X-Men comic book world and seeing him being reduced to someone who just absorbed energy and fired a huge gun was a devastating punch to my inner fanboy.
It’s not just X-Men: Days of Future Past, though. Looking at the previous main films in the franchise, we don’t really know much about the characters that debuted on-screen back in 2000.
Storm (Halle Berry): African-American. Had a Kenyan accent in X-Men 1 which she later dropped without an explanation. Has the ability to control the weather and was one of the first mutants to join Xavier’s school. Her rich comic book history of being a thief, suffering from claustrophobia, and being worshipped as a Goddess is ignored.
Cyclops (James Marsden): Is in love with Jean Grey. Shoots beams of energy from his eyes and is the leader of the X-Men. He was also one of the first mutants to join Xavier’s school. His character is reduced to being a jealous boyfriend in the film series, and there isn’t even a hint of how formidable a tactician he is.
Jean Grey (Famke Janssen): Has the mutant power of telepathy and telekinesis. She also has the Dark Phoenix inside her, and is the love interest for both Cyclops and Wolverine. The cosmic potential of the Dark Phoenix is utterly ignored in the film series. Her Dark Phoenix just comes across as what’ll happen if a mutant with her powers goes crazy.
I mentioned these characters because we’ve been with them from the start, and in the three movies they’ve had considerable screen time in (except for Cyclops in X-Men: The Last Stand) we still don’t know much about them. Maybe things will change in X-Men: Apocalypse when it comes to the origins of these characters?
The X-Men films keep piling mutant after mutant into the series, and while it’s good to see familiar characters come to life on-screen, there’s a high possibility that they’ll probably stay in the background.
Younger versions of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Angel (Ben Hardy) are confirmed to appear in X-Men: Apocalypse along with the First Class trilogy’s main cast, and main villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac).
Jubilee (Lana Condor), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Havok (Lucas Till) are also part of the cast. There are also rumors that older versions of Wolverine, Storm, and Gambit (Channing Tatum) will make cameos.
Each of these mutant characters needs their own solo films to properly talk about their comic book history. That’s why putting them all in a single film isn’t going to give them enough time to develop and let the audience become familiar with them. For all we know Jubilee could end up being a bubble-chewing kid who throws fireworks from her fingertips and is part of the film for just a few minutes.
In X-Men 1 there were only a handful of characters playing a part in the story: Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Mystique, Professor X, Magneto, and Rogue, and even then the whole thing ended up being a Wolverine fest, and continued to be so in the sequels that followed!
In contrast, Marvel’s The Avengers was able to tell a lot about the main characters in the team, and I have high expectations for the way they will introduce Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and Ultron in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron.
What do you think of the ever-growing cast of X-Men: Apocalypse coming May 27, 2016? Do you think all these new characters will be given time to shine? Let us know!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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