Last year's X-Men: Days of Future Past may have successfully gotten the mutant-filled franchise back on solid ground after the franchise's last teamup film - X-Men: The Last Stand. However, by the sounds of it, its sequel appears to be just as ambitious.
Bryan Singer is returning to direct X-Men: Apocalypse, which aims to conclude the First Class arc as well as introduce such popular characters as Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm into the new timeline created after the world-altering events of the previous film. Now we have word of another actor who is joining the film's ever-growing cast.
According to Variety, Ben Hardy has joined the film in a mysterious role that is reportedly significant to the X-Men universe. Hardy is best known for his role as Peter Beale on British soap opera EastEnders. He first appeared on the series in 2013 and just concluded his role this month.
While it will likely be a while before we know the details on who Hardy will be playing, it's a fair guess that his character is not only a mutant but connected to other newcomers like Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp. Perhaps Hardy's playing another new student at Professor Xavier's school.
The young actor does share a similar look to Ben Foster, who played Angel in The Last Stand in 2006, and seeing as Angel was one of the early X-Men in the comics - fighting alongside characters like Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Beast, all of whom will factor into Apocalypse - it's certainly not outside the realm of possiblity for Hardy to be playing some variation of the character.
Granted, the timeline between the two films doesn't add up, but Fox's X-Men films, as fans have long noted, have always played fast and loose with continuity rules. No reason a slight adjustment can't address these questions away. Perhaps the father of Foster's character receives mutant powers in this new timeline?
All speculation aside, it's clear that Fox is determined to get Hardy in the film, since he was in the running for the part of Cyclops for a while there. The future of the X-Men franchise seems open to all sorts of possibilities, and with the massive scope and bringing Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse into the fray, this seems like a prime opportunity to involve as many mutants as possible, including Gambit and (maybe?) Deadpool.
Fox has every intention of continuing to draw connections between its X-Men films. Chances are, whoever Hardy is playing, it's either a character we've seen before or one that fans have long been clamoring for.
Who do you think Hardy is playing in X-Men: Apocalypse? Sound off with your guesses below.
X-Men:Apocalypse hits theaters on May 17, 2016.