It didn’t take long for photos to surface online of the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse once production began in Montreal, Quebec in late April. The followup to last year’s successful X-Men: Days of Future Past aims to conclude another trilogy in the X-Men film universe while potentially setting up another. And to do the latter, director Bryan Singer is introducing younger versions of several of the original lead characters alongside a few entirely new ones yet to be seen on the big screen.
Outside of seeing these classic characters on set and in public wearing “plain clothes,” lifted straight from the real-life style and X-Men comics of the late ’80s and early ’90s, the actors have yet to appear in any sort of traditional superhero costume or field outfits. Concept art released by Singer previously did however, reveal the mechanical wings of Angel/Archangel (Ben Hardy), and it’s from new concept art we have a tease of what to expect from the other new mutant heroes.
Most of what’s been revealed so far in terms of casting and artwork for 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse has come solely from director Bryan Singer’s social media accounts – the same can be said about the other X-Men film in production right now in Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool spinoff, but the following interesting piece of artwork comes from the latest issue of Empire Magazine.
Update (May 28 2015): Higher resolution concept art:
In it we see Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) taking cover as young Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) lets loose and optic blast at Storm (Alexandra Shipp). The ruined setting appears to be from some apocalyptic event or perhaps could be a training exercise within the danger room. There was conflict in the books between Storm and Cyclops over leadership, but at this point in the cinematic universe, these three characters (introduced as pillars in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie) are still young and discovering who they are, as per the words of producer and X-Men franchise overseer Simon Kinberg:
“Scott is not yet the squeaky-clean leader. Storm is a troubled character who is going down the wrong path in life. And Jean is complex, interesting and not fully mature. It’s fun to see someone struggling with their powers when you know one day they’ll become the most powerful person in the world.”
Take note of Cyclops’ costume and compare to this comic book art (below). Where X-Men: First Class paid tribute to the original X-Men comics costumes and Days of Future Past put future mutants in dark, armored costumes, X-Men: Apocalypse may deliver a large team of X-Men suiting up in something more colorful and recognizable from the books and ’90s animated series. And while it’s not visible in the imagery so far, Empire claims Storm will rock her ’80s mohawk, something the character brought back in the comics a few years ago as well.
Where Storm’s style is inspired from select runs of Marvel Comics and Nightcrawler’s (Kodi Smit-McPhee) first reveal seemingly takes a cue from the X-Men: Evolution animated series, the other lead characters being re-introduced with younger actors may suit up in something similar to the modern “All New X-Men” comic series which began in 2012 as part of Marvel’s NOW! rebranding and relaunching of most of their titles.
In this relaunch of sorts, the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel) are brought from the past to the present to meet their modern day selves to see what they’ve become. And they end up sticking around. On the surface, this story seems as gimmicky as ever, using time travel to bring back the old school roster, but it’s one that saw the flagship X-Men series go back to doing something a little more traditional, and it let the characters trade in the old yellow and blue jumpsuits (above) for something a little more modern and practical (below).
And yes, like the overall story of their return, the writers perhaps didn’t give the best explanation for the new X-Men comics costumes (it’s magic!) either, but there they are above.
With the Deadpool film allowing Ryan Reynolds to sport the iconic red and black mercenary getup from the comics, without compromise, and X-Men franchise star Hugh Jackman frequently expressing his desire to wear his yellow and black outfit from the comics (which was shown briefly in a special feature on the home video release of The Wolverine), perhaps it’s time to let the X-Men appear as they did at their peak in the ’90s. The Avengers dress up as they do in the books, colors and all, so why can’t the X-Men? Forget the black leather, for real this time, Mr. Singer.
Update – June 8, 2015: Bryan Singer shares a photo which features Alexandra Shipp with a shaved head, adding more credence to Storm’s retro Mohawk look:
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12th, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, Gambit on October 7th, 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.