If Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t young enough to play the younger version of Mystique in X-Men: First Class, a character previously played by Rebecca Romijn in the X-Men trilogy, then how about 10 year-old Morgan Lily? Twentieth Century Fox has beefed up the already large cast of the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men prequel even more with a few new casting announcements today.
Over the last two days we reported that Jason Flemyng, Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt had joined the X-Men: First Class cast and today we can add January Jones (Mad Men) as Emma Frost, Zoe Kravitz (Assassination of a High School President) as Angel, Bill Milner (Son of Rambow) as young Magneto in addition to Lily’s young Mystique.
The additions of Bill Milner and Morgan Lily playing younger variants of Magneto and Mystique aren’t that surprising considering we know the story will be delving into the origins of Professor X, Magneto and likely a few other mutants.
The confusion about the casting comes from the additions of January Jones playing Emma Frost when it was previously reported that Alice Eve had nabbed the role, and that Angel will be in the movie. As it turns out, Eve was in negotiations but hadn’t signed yet so Jones has the gig instead. I was in love with the idea of Eve in the part but Jones is stellar in the ever popular Mad Men series and will be a great fit.
[Update: Alice Eve reportedly opted out of the gig - read the details here]
On to the topic of Angel, immediate fan response is that of confusion and rightfully so. Zoe Kravitz is a girl and the character is a guy played by Ben Foster in X3. Even more, Angel is a character we thought for sure had no chance of being in the film since he was introduced in X-Men 3 as someone with no prior knowledge or ties with the X-Men. If you’re keeping track, the X-Men: First Class movie currently only sits with two of the five actual original characters from Marvel Comics canon and one arguably shouldn’t be there. That being said, this clearly isn’t the same Angel we know but instead, the character known as Angel Salvadore.
I say Angel shouldn’t be there cautiously since in a previous interview, director Matthew Vaughn hinted at the film acting as a reboot of sorts while still being a prequel to the existing Fox X-Men films. He compared it to J.J. Abrams Star Trek which I think means this will still be in continuity but will feature a story which will allow them to utilize what seems to be a nonsensical selection of characters.
Angel Salvadore is a young mutant whose mutant genetics resulted in her growing wings when she was a teenager. In the books, her history intertwines with Emma Frost, Magneto and Proteus (son of Moira MacTaggert and possibly Professor X).
Here’s some fun trivia for why Kravitz (daughter of rock star Lenny Kravitz) is being reported as playing Angel. She’s dating Ben Foster in real life so perhaps that helped get her the gig playing the other Angel?
Could alternate realities/dimensions play a factor? Azazel, the demonic mutant father of Nightcrawler possesses the ability to teleport between dimensions so that is a possibility. His history also involves him battling against Angel-like mutants. How about time travel? We know the time-traveling future son of Cyclops from the comics, Cable, was (is?) a hot topic in Fox meetings about the X-Men franchise.
With production about to start and no word on who will be playing Jean Grey or Cyclops, are they still in the film? Some have questioned that they won’t be included but I highly doubt that’s the case. With Havok (Cyclops’ brother) being a part of X-Men: First Class, I think Jean Grey and Scott Summers need to be included. When the casting process began, we also heard reports of Bryan Singer using the auditions of his other project, Jack the Giant Killer to also search for actors to play Jean and Scott so it would shock me if they aren’t included in some form.
Keep in mind though that we still don’t know what villain Kevin Bacon is playing other than that he’ll be someone we don’t expect at all, according to Vaughn. We also heard some reports that some of the casting announcements being made could be intentionally misleading on the part of the studio so perhaps some of the unusual character selections may not be those characters at all. Or are really reaching by assuming that?
Any ideas or explanations of the cast so far? At this point, it doesn’t make much sense until we know more about the plot of First Class.
Here’s the rest of the cast of X-Men: First Class as we best understand it:
- James McAvoy – Professor X
- Michael Fassbender – Magneto
- Kevin Bacon – Undisclosed villain
- Nicholas Hoult – Beast
- Caleb Landry Jones – Banshee
- Lucas Till – Havok
- Jennifer Lawrence – Mystique
- Edi Gathegi – Darwin
- Jason Flemyng – Azazel
- Rose Byrne – Moira MacTaggert
- Oliver Platt – The Man in Black
Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer’s X-Men: First Class begins shooting in the next few weeks for a June 3, 2011 release.
Sources: XMF, Deadline