This summer will mark the fifteenth anniversary of X-Men, the very first live-action film to bring characters like Professor X, Wolverine, Rogue and Cyclops to the big screen and a key milestone among the early wave of successful comic book movies that would later build up to the explosion of the genre into what it is today.
Between then and now the X-Men characters have actually become younger on screen, as the current series of films are prequels showing the origins and evolution of the mutant superhero team – something that started with X-Men: First Class in 2011 and continued last year, with the time-traveling saga X-Men: Days of Future Past.
So far the only characters from the original X-Men movie that have been featured in the prequel setting are old friends Charles Xavier and Magneto, the shape-shifting Mystique, the virtually immortal Wolverine and younger versions of Beast and Toad. Upcoming release X-Men: Apocalypse was already set to introduce younger versions of Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and now another familiar character is set to return with fewer years behind him.
Nightcrawler, the blue-skinned teleporter who was played by Alan Cumming in X-Men 2, will be played by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star Kodi Smit-McPhee in X-Men: Apocalypse, according to an Instagram post by director Bryan Singer.
Smit-McPhee first gained attention for his roles in gruelling post-apocalyptic drama The Road and young vampire romance Let Me In, and more recently he played the lead in John MacLean thriller Slow West. Like Turner and Sheridan he’s just 18 years old (Shipp is slightly more mature at 23 years old), so it looks like the face of the X-Men is going to be overwhelmingly youthful going forward. One benefit of that is that these actors could still be playing relatively young versions of their characters fifteen years from now.
In the X-Men movie canon, Nightcrawler A.K.A. Kurt Wagner was an orphan raised by a travelling circus in Germany. The X-Men met him for the first time in X-Men 2 after he attempts to assassinate the President, but with all the timeline reshuffling going on it’s possible that they could end up meeting him much earlier in X-Men: Apocalypse. When faced with an ancient, powerful mutant like Apocalypse, they’re going to need all the help they can get.
X-Men: Apocalypse arrives in U.S> theaters on May 27th, 2016.
Source: Bryan Singer