Over the weekend we discussed the issues surrounding the casting of a key character in Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming X-Men: First Class. Ben Walker had been one of the first actors signed for the project to play the character of Beast, but due to Fox exec Tom Rothman’s demands to recast him, Walker was recently let go for what appears to be concerns over his age.
After testing a few other candidates for the role, the offer went to… Ben Walker… again. Needless to say, with an already rushed production start to meet a rushed release date of early next summer, it’s not comforting to see studio execs meddling with key casting decisions by the filmmakers.
According to Showbiz 411, Walker made the decision to pass on the (second) offer and stick with his broadway gig as a stage performer in the upcoming musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
What does this mean? Fox has to go through the casting process again to figure out who can play one of their key X-Men characters in the franchise prequel within a very limited timeframe and secondly, they really need to sort out the age dilemma between the character of Beast and the rest of the characters in the film.
With casting Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as Magneto and Professor X respectively, we’d expect them to be aiming for a young principal cast of mutants and so far, the only real young mutant character cast has been Caleb Landry as Banshee (a character who is actually much older in the comics strangely enough).
For the record, I liked the idea of Walker as Beast. The character brings a higher level of wisdom and intelligence in not only his abilities, but his demeanor, and he works as a more mature X-Men character within Professor X’s first class of mutants. It also plays well into the rest of the series where we see him leave the team for politics, only to return in the dumb battle at the end of X-Men 3: The Last Stand.