Many people credit 2002's Spider-Man with kicking off the current superhero movie craze, but X-Men came out two years before and was probably just as influential. At a time when comic book movies were not especially in vogue, it earned a very respectable $157 million at the domestic box office and another $139 million internationally. The film was also responsible for introducing these characters to general audiences who were not overly familiar with them.
Two sequels -- X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand -- followed. They, too, were box office blockbusters. After a hiatus of a few years, the widely-ridiculed spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was released. Although it made money, few people viewed it as a creative success. In a major attempt to course-correct, the franchise was rebooted in 2011 as a prequel trilogy. X-Men: First Class followed Professor X and Magneto as younger men. X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse came shortly after. Yet another new installment, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, is slated for release in 2019.
All in all, those are eight cinematic releases bearing the words X-Men in their titles. With so many films and two sets of actors combining in the most recent installments, there were bound to be crazy behind-the-scenes stories. We've assembled twenty-five of the best. Each of these true tales sheds light onto the making of a cinematic series that has captured the imagination of moviegoers around the world. They will help you to understand why some of the X-Men movies were great, while others were lacking.
Here are 25 Crazy Facts Behind The Making Of The X-Men Movies.
25 Hugh Jackman was a last-minute replacement
Wolverine is the role that made Hugh Jackman a star. Had circumstances been different, he might still be largely unknown and another actor might have become a household name. That's because someone else was originally supposed to play the part.
Actor Dougray Scott was cast as Wolverine, but had to step down after another movie he was making, Mission: Impossible 2, ran over schedule. For a time, it looked like things could still be arranged to get Scott to the X-Men set, but then he hurt his shoulder, slowing production down even more.
A replacement actor was required, with Jackman hired last minute. The rest is history.
24 Michael Fassbender was embarrassed by his performance
Most fans agree that Michael Fassbender was an outstanding choice to play the young Erik Lensherr, better known as Magneto. In all three of the films in which he portrayed the character, his performance was praised.
In the case of Days of Future Past, the only person not happy with Michael Fassbender's work was the man himself.
During a fundraising event held at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, the audience was shown a clip from the movie in which Magneto goes into a rage. “I don’t actually like that performance there, to be honest,” Fassbender told the crowd. “I just think it’s me shouting.”
23 The original was rushed into production
X-Men was a hit with both critics and audiences. Truth be told, it's kind of a miracle that it turned out so well, given that the production was extremely rushed.
The movie was initially supposed to come out at Christmas in 2000. Then another big-budget Fox movie, the Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise sci-fi adventure Minority Report, pushed its start date back, meaning it would never be done in time for its summer release date. Needing a summer blockbuster, the studio decided to move X-Men up to July, leaving only nine months to shoot the movie and do all the complicated post-production work.
22 Halle Berry's romance secret
During a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Halle Berry dropped a nugget of information that left X-Men fans reeling.
"Storm and Logan used to be lovers," she revealed. "It’s true. Storm and Logan had a thing."
She was referring to a deleted scene from Days of Future Past in which Logan kisses Storm goodbye right before traveling back into the past. Wanting to put some context to the moment, Berry and Hugh Jackman decided that their characters had once engaged in a fling that was "wonderful" until "Jean [Gray] came and messed that up."
21 Hugh Jackman injured a stunt performer
Wolverine is famous for his dangerous claws, which he uses to slice and dice his enemies. During production of the first movie, real metal claws were used-- until someone got hurt.
Hugh Jackman was filming a choreographed fight sequence with Rebecca Romijn's stunt double. The actor was supposed to pretend to stab her in the arm, which she would move away as he swung. The stuntwoman's timing was off, causing the claws to strike her arm, cutting her and freaking out Jackman in the process. Fake claws were used thereafter.
20 The Last Stand was finished just two weeks before it hit theaters
There's nothing like coming in right under the wire to raise everybody's stress level, as the makers of X-Men: The Last Stand can attest to. They came scarily close to not getting done on time.
The attack on the Golden Gate Bridge -- which is one of the key scenes in the film -- required a lot of complicated special effects. 20th Century Fox scheduled the movie for release on the lucrative Memorial Day weekend, and had no intentions of changing that date. Under intense time pressures, the FX crew worked tirelessly, completing the final shot a mere two weeks before the film opened.
19 Jennifer Lawrence's makeup ordeal
Jennifer Lawrence took over the role of Mystique from Rebecca Romijn for the second X-Men trilogy. She may not have realized what a grueling experience she was in for. Because of the character's distinct look, Lawrence had to have blue makeup applied to virtually her entire body.
It's a process that could take up to eight hours to accomplish.
In other words, it was a full work day before she ever even stepped in front of the camera. Adding to the discomfort was the need to stand around underdressed while the makeup was applied.
18 Olivia Munn passed on Deadpool to play Psylocke
Two very popular Marvel superhero movies almost looked a lot different. Olivia Munn had been under serious consideration for the role of Vanessa in Deadpool, but withdrew herself because she wanted to play a character who would get action scenes, as opposed to just being a love interest. Morena Baccarin played Vanessa instead.
Simon Kinberg, who produced both movies, told Collider that he was impressed with Munn and felt she'd be perfect in the X-Men universe. He recommended her two weeks later, and she was cast as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse.
17 Wolverine replaced Kitty Pryde
Any time a book is adapted into a feature film, changes need to be made because movies work on slightly different principles. Sometimes the changes are small. In the case of X-Men: Days of Future Past, there was a major one.
In the book, Kitty Pryde is the one who goes back in time. For the film, it's Wolverine. Part of that was because Wolverine is the signature character in the cinematic franchise. Another reason is that Ellen Page had been cast as Kitty Pryde, and sending her back to the 1970s would, as producer Simon Kinberg put it, have made her "negative 20 years old." Wolverine is ageless, which got them around that problem.
16 Sophie Turner's Dark Phoenix preparations
The forthcoming X-Men adventure Dark Phoenix promises to be, as the title suggests, a little darker than previous installments in the franchise. To play the corrupted version of Jean Gray, actress Sophie Turner was given very specific reading material from director Simon Kinberg. She read up on mental health issues, specifically schizophrenia, to understand how they can affect an individual's state of mind and alter their behavior.
Turner utilized an online video designed to simulate what a schizophrenic person hears inside their head.
These tools helped shape her performance.
15 Famke Janssen wanted to play Jean Gray again
Watching some of the original X-Men cast members mix it up with the newer ones in the second wave of movies was a lot of fun. Not everyone was invited to the party, though.
Upon learning that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were going to be featured in Days of Future Past, alongside their younger counterparts, Famke Janssen reached out to the filmmakers to see if there was any way the older Jean Gray could also be included. Janssen told Entertainment Weekly that the suggestion was, to her dismay, met with "total radio silence."
14 Anna Paquin didn't care that she was deleted from Days of Future Past
Anna Paquin returned to play Rogue in X-Men: Days of Future Past, so it was surprising when word got out that her performance hadn't made the final cut.
Many actors would be furious about such a fate.
Paquin really didn't care. The actress told Yahoo! Entertainment that she prefers to focus on her experience making movies rather than worrying how they'll come out. In the case of DOFP, "I got to hang out with my friends for five days in Montreal, and see people I’ve known for two decades and go play. Did it end up in the movie? No. Well, it was fun anyway.”
13 Hugh Jackman's cameo demands
Wolverine wasn't a character in X-Men: First Class, but the filmmakers wanted to find a way to squeeze him in, since Hugh Jackman had, by this point, become synonymous with the franchise. They devised a brief cameo in which Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr meet him in bar, and he utters a profanity at them.
Jackman had two conditions under which he would agree to do the cameo, both of which were met. He wanted to be the only character to curse, and he wanted the studio to make a charitable contribution to his childrens' school.
12 James McAvoy shaved his head too early
James McAvoy was familiar enough with Professor X to know that the leader of the X-Men is bald. When he was offered the role for X-Men: First Class, he did what he thought was the obvious thing to do -- he went and had his head shaved. That proved to be a bad idea.
Upon arriving to begin production on the movie, director Matthew Vaughn informed him that Professor X wouldn't be bald right away.
That was going to come later on. McAvoy therefore had to wear a wig in order to play the character in that film.
11 Oscar Isaac hated the promotional picture of Apocalypse
When the first set photo of Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse was released, the public immediately began making fun of it. They thought he looked silly. Isaac himself was one of those who were unhappy, because he felt it was misleading.
The actor told Entertainment Weekly, "When you look at those things, you think that’s the representation of the character, and it was a shot from when we were coming out of a portal, and the portal light is purple and so suddenly everyone thinks that the character is purple which is not the case.”
10 X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked online before its release
Hollywood studios take a lot of precautions to prevent the piracy of their movies these days. That's due, in part, to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. An unfinished work print, with ten extra minutes of footage and unfinished special effects, was leaked online a month before it opened in theaters, presumably by someone with post-production access to it.
Experts estimated that the online availability of Wolverine cost it tens of millions of dollars at the box office.
The leak created panic in the halls of 20th Century Fox, because people could now essentially see the big summer blockbuster for free.
9 Jennifer Lawrence changed her mind about playing Mystique again
Jennifer Lawrence had to endure an arduous makeup process every time she played Mystique. Since she portrayed the character in three different films, that meant a lot of time in the makeup chair. For that reason, it really wasn't a surprise when she announced that she was done with it all after X-Men: Apocalypse.
The departure didn't last long. After some time away, Lawrence made an about-face, agreeing to resume the role once more for the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The actress explained her decision to Digital Spy, saying, "I felt like I owed it to the fans, and I owed it to the character to follow her journey."
8 Halle Berry never replied to the new Storm
Halle Berry played Storm in the original X-Men movies. By the second wave of films, a younger actress was needed for the role. Alexandra Shipp, who was best known from the Nickelodeon show House of Anubis, took it over.
Since she was inheriting the part from an Oscar-winning star, Shipp emailed Berry for advice, but never got a reply.
Despite the snub, Shipp was unfazed. “I reached out to her,” she stated in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. “You know, Halle’s got her show [Extant] and her family and stuff. So I understand, she’s got her thing going on."
7 Lady Gaga as Dazzler?
Whenever a new actor was announced to play one of the X-Men, it made news in the entertainment media. For that reason, director Bryan Singer thought it would be funny to play a little April Fool's joke on the fans.
In 2013, he used his social media accounts to say that Lady Gaga would be joining the team to play the Dazzler.
For those uninitiated, Dazzler was created in 1980 as a collaboration between Marvel Comics and Casablanca Records to capitalize on the disco craze. Her mutant ability was being able to turn musical vibrations into powerful beams of energy. She is largely considered cheesy by the majority of fans.
6 Trouble in New Zealand
X-Men Origins: Wolverine filmed in New Zealand, and it didn't take long for the production to get in trouble with local authorities. The financially-struggling Queenstown Fun Center, which included a large ice rink, granted them permission to use the facility to store equipment.
Among the things being stored there, however, were explosives. This went against the center's lease with the local district council, the members of which were not happy about the potential danger of this situation. The Wolverine team had to promptly find a new place to keep the explosives.
5 Kelsey Grammer lobbied for a cameo
Kelsey Grammer played Hank McCoy, also known as Beast, in X-Men: The Last Stand. Apparently, he enjoyed the experience, as he wanted to continue with the character even after his time was over.
When he heard about how old and new casts would be combined for Days of Future Past, he lobbied for a cameo.
Grammer told Collider that he called the director to see if there might be room for him. "I made a couple of inquiries," he explained. "I said, ‘Listen, I really want to be involved,’ so Bryan arranged for it and I had a lovely time.”
4 Bob Hoskins could have been the original Wolverine
X-Men hit theaters in 2000, but it almost came to fruition a decade earlier. In 1990, comics writer Chris Claremont and Marvel maestro Stan Lee tried to launch a big screen story featuring the famous mutants. They approached director James Cameron about producing it and having his then-wife, Kathryn Bigalow, direct.
James Cameron was much more interested in talking about Spider-Man, so the deal never happened.
In 2012, Claremont took part in a panel discussion at Columbia University, revealing that his dream casting for this version would have been Bob Hoskins as Wolverine and Angela Bassett as Storm.
3 Hugh Jackman had director approval
X-Men: The Last Stand had some problems landing a director. Bryan Singer, who helmed the first two installments, didn't return for the third because he wanted to make Superman Returns instead, and initial replacement Matthew Vaughn left due to what were termed “family reasons.”
Because Hugh Jackman was so vital to the series, it was important to keep him happy. Fox therefore gave him the ability to approve any potential post-Singer director. When the studio floated Brett Ratner as a choice, Jackman met with him and listened to his ideas, then gave the thumbs-up for him to be hired.
2 Ellen Page was outed by director Brett Ratner
Right before her breakthrough role in 2007's Juno, Ellen Page landed a key supporting part in X-Men: The Last Stand. She played Kitty Pryde.
Although taking part in a superhero blockbuster was a great boost to her career, her experience on the set wasn't happy.
Page recalled director Brett Ratner outing her to another actress, in full view of the cast and crew, on the first day of production. “I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened,” Page wrote in an essay that she posted on Facebook.
1 Michael and Janet Jackson both wanted to be X-Men
A huge list of well-known stars wanted to take part in the first X-Men movie when it was announced. Viggo Mortensen, Rachael Leigh Cook, Shaquille O'Neal, and Mariah Carey all reportedly came in to audition.
The most fascinating bit of never-was casting, though, involves the famous singing siblings Michael and Janet Jackson. Writer David Hayter told the Hollywood Reporter that Michael came in because he really wanted to play Professor X. Janet, meanwhile, was keen on the idea of playing Storm. Obviously, neither of them were cast, but it's fun to imagine what X-Men would have been like if they had.
Which of the X-Men movies is your favorite, and why? Give us your thoughts in the comments.