Fans eagerly awaiting the release of X-Men: Apocalypse likely have a little more than a passing familiarity with the original comic book character and central antagonist William Stryker by now, provided they are dedicated readers of the Marvel Comics series or faithful viewers of the X-Men films. Different versions of Stryker were played by Brian Cox in 2003's X2: X-Men United and by Danny Huston in the not-so-popular X-Men Origins: Wolverine - the latter of which explored the Weapon X program storyline from the Marvel comics.
Following the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, yet another actor has stepped into the role of Colonel Stryker - in this case, Josh Helman. During our Apocalypse set visit, Helman reflected on the situation that viewers last saw his version of Stryker in, and how the character will be seen as coming into his own (and out of the shadow of his former mentor, Bolivar Trask), when director Bryan Singer's latest X-Men film picks up:
"The last time you saw Stryker he was under the employment of Trask and was very dedicated to what Trask was doing and interested in all of his studies and I think the ten years after that is just-I think he’s been developing his own plan for how he wants to proceed and, I think, learning from the mistakes of what happened with the situation with Trask and trying to formulate a plan that he thinks should be put in place for moving forward."
Such a predicament could certainly lend for plenty of room for Helman to move the character around in, and perhaps explore alternate narrative paths provided by the new X-Men trilogy's inherent, "license to play with our expectations of the future," as the actor himself put it. But as far as honoring past interpretations of Stryker go, Helman remarked:
"Obviously, I’m an enormous...enormous doesn’t even cover the amount of respect I have for Brian Cox and his iteration of the character and Danny Huston as well, I mean, they’re both incredible actors and I feel dwarfed by their presence in this character. But, I think that...it hews somewhat closely to, I think, the ideals that Stryker particularly in X2 has, but we are now playing with different permutations of that."
As for Stryker's eventual creation of the Weapon X program, Helman says Apocalypse will find the character in a key development phase, as far as Weapon X is concerned:
"This is a particularly important time, a formative time, for Stryker in the way that he’s going to move forward. I think the events of this film are definitely instrumental in creating the kind of capital “C” character that he will become. I think this is definitely the start of that journey. In Days of Future Past I think he was kind of taking notes and now he’s ready to kind of, like, open his own shop."
As for what sort of version of Stryker we can expect in Apocalypse, and whether or not it has a basis in the Marvel comics or any previous X-Men films, Helman said:
"I mean, in “God Loves, Man Kills,” where, y’know, you see him and his gang of purifiers and he’s…I know that was not a condemnation of religion and that, but there’s something about a person who has the ability...I think that’s why he’s such a good master manipulator, because he knows how to do it to himself in a way. I think a lot of the best villains have a switch for self-justification that is perpetually in the on position."
For more quotes and reveals from our X-Men: Apocalypse set visit, check out the links below:
- X-Men: Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen Explain Their Roles
- X-Men: Apocalypse – Storm’s New African Origin Details
- Bryan Singer Teases X-Men: Apocalypse’s Alien Connections & Future
- X-Men: Apocalypse - Psylocke's Origin Changes Explained
Deadpool hits theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.