The success of X-Men: Days of Future Past may have been quickly overshadowed by the colossal plans of both Marvel and DC, but its impact on the future of the franchise can't be understated. Whether audiences saw director Bryan Singer's means of essentially restarting his X-Men film series as brilliant or a cop out, the studio is wasting no time in doubling down, beginning with X-Men: Apocalypse.
Although secrecy is expected for superhero films, Singer wasted no time after Days of Future Past's release to confirm that Apocalypse would be an "80s period piece," a decision which brought with it a chance to re-cast a young Jean Grey and Cyclops. Although casting has yet to be made official, the shortlist of actors and actresses being eyed for the roles prove Singer is aiming high, to say the least.
In an exclusive from TheWrap, the young women being considered for the role of Jean Grey a.k.a. Phoenix include Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender's Game), and Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, The Equalizer). According to the outlet's sources, other actresses may still be in the running; unsurprising, given the rising stars of all three.
For the part of a young Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, Singer seems to be looking to cast a fresh face (to American audiences, at least). The three names revealed as potential frontrunners are Charlie Rowe (The Golden Compass, Red Band Society), Ben Hardy (EastEnders), and Timothee Chalamet (Homeland, Interstellar).
Although Bryan Singer playfully teased fans with confirmation that casting was underway weeks ago, the director appears to be taking his time in casting these two roles. Apparently both Moretz and Fanning have only met with Singer to discuss the role, meaning screen tests have still yet to take place. And given how much may be riding on the duo (both individually and as a central romance), patience on Singer's part will likely be appreciated by fans.
With Apocalypse expected to bring the First Class story to a close (and therefore centered largely on the Mystique/Magneto relationship), the time seems right to position Jean and Scott as the newer, younger 'power couple' of the film series - just as they are in the comic book. And even if Singer may not state it openly, a more faithful depiction of the pair is one opportunity that the Days of Future Past reboot makes possible.
The version of the heroes played by James Marsden and Famke Janssen served their purpose within the original trilogy, but once Hugh Jackman clearly emerged as the franchise's star, Scott Summers took his place in the background, and Jean Grey became (primarily) the object of Wolverine's affection. Essentially starting over, an unrivalled leader (with a deadly stare) and his dedicated love (with some telekinetic issues) now stand to anchor the film series for fans old and new.
If Cable really is on his way to the franchise, then investing in Jean and Scott's relationship is all but mandatory. And what better proving ground to show Scott and Jean's leadership potential than the "extinction-level event" promised for Apocalypse?
We'll keep you updated as more young actors enter the mix, or one of those mentioned here emerge as a clear frontrunner. Singer has been open with casting in the past, so a tease is safe to expect before long. Do any of the names on the list stand out for your own vision of these characters? Or are you just thrilled to see Cyclops and Phoenix returning to the movie universe in any way?
X-Men: Apocalypse will be in theaters May 27, 2016.
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