Yesterday, X-Men director Bryan Singer took to Twitter to not only announce that certain members of X-Men: First Class would be returning for the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, but also the announcement that both Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan from the original X-Men films would be returning to their roles as Charles Xavier and Magneto. This all but confirmed what fans have been speculating about ever since Days of Future Past was announced, that the forthcoming movie would be taking place in two timelines–the one featuring characters from First Class, and another “future” (or present) timeline featuring the actors from the original films. As Singer remarked on his twitter feed, “more to come.” This means it is very likely that more actors from the original films will be suiting up soon for mutant action once more. But who? Here are my guesses as to who will be coming back (and who won’t) and why.
Oh, and before anyone chimes in with “but Cyclops and Jean and Prof. X died in X-Men 3, and Magneto lost his powers, yadda yadda yadda” it seems very, very likely that the time traveling storyline of Days of Future Past will end up erasing the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. The fact that both the older Charles Xavier and Magneto are in this one kind of already seems to be pointing towards that, considering their fates at the end of that third film. It seems Bryan Singer is eager to erase the one chapter of the original X-Men trilogy he had no part in. So I don’t think any character deaths or de-powerings in that movie should factor as to whether a certain actor or character returns. With that out of the way, let’s get started on the guessing game, shall we?
I’d say this is one is a no-brainer. Wolverine is the poster boy for not only the comic book franchise, but the movie franchise as well. He’s not my favorite X-Man by any means, but facts are facts…. for the masses, Wolverine = X-Men. Unlike so many actors who distance themselves from the part that made them famous, Jackman seems to love being Wolverine, and doesn’t seem to ever tire of playing him. He is currently filming his second solo outing The Wolverine, and could easily stay in Logan-mode (and in Logan shape) for a few extra months and segue into filming Days of Future Past. Of all the characters from the original films, I expect to see his face in the line-up more than anyone else, barring any unforseen circumstances.
Odds for Returning: 9/10
EDIT: Make that 10/10…no sooner than an hour or so from posting this piece, the Hollywood Reporter makes it official: Hugh Jackman is coming back as Wolverine. That sure didn’t take long.
Of all the A-List X-Men characters, no one got the shorter end of the stick in the film series than poor Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops. This is not a negative reflection on actor James Marsden, who did the best he could in what little he was given to do. When he was unceremoniously killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand, fans were furious, as they were hoping the third X-Men movie would finally be his moment to shine. And from everything I’ve been told, that WAS his original plan, back when Singer was still working on X3, as James Marsden and Bryan Singer are good friends. In fact, Marsden even had a part in Singer’s Superman Returns, which is why he was said to be killed off in such a stupid offhand way in The Last Stand; Marsden made the mistake of being in a competing super hero movie with the fired director of X-Men, and Fox made sure he paid the price. I could see Singer making Days of Future Past partially as “the redemption of Cyclops” and restoring the character to a prominent position in the X-Men universe again.
Odds for Returning: 7/10
Jean Grey/Famke Janssen
Another main character from the franchise who totally got the shaft story-wise in X-Men: The Last Stand was Jean Grey. The less said about how that movie handled the classic X-Men story The Dark Phoenix Saga the better, but it seems Famke is at least open to returning, as she made some comments about coming back to the series as recently as a month ago. When being asked if she had been offered a role already in Days of Future Past, she replied “One never knows. Jean Grey, the Phoenix … she finds a way to reincarnate herself constantly, so one never knows… but I’m in no position to say anything,” And then coyly added “Stay tuned.” Sounds like maybe spelled Y-E-S to me.
Odds for Returning: 8/10
Actress Anna Paquin has been pretty vocal about how much she hated the plotline where Rogue takes the mutant cure in X-Men The Last Stand, seeing it as a betrayal of everything the mutant metaphor is supposed to represent (Anna, all of fandom agrees with you) If this movie corrects some of those mistakes, she might jump at the chance to come back. On the downside, Paquin just gave birth to twins and still has at least one more season of True Blood to start shooting very soon, which might conflict with being able to make an appearance in Days of Future Past. But who knows, she might be able to squeeze in a cameo if she wants to bad enough. Maybe Anna could bring some of the sassy southern attitude she gives her True Blood character Sookie Stackhouse to Rogue, a character that in the comics has plenty of that to spare.
Odds for Returning: 6/10
It has been well documented how much Halle Berry and Bryan Singer did NOT get along on the set of X2. I believe the phrase “you can kiss my black ass” was uttered on set by her at least once in reference to Singer. (For reals, look it up.) She never even wanted to be in the X-Men series in the first place, as during press before the movie came out she mentioned how there were so little roles for black actresses she was “forced to do a comic book movie.” Of course,then the X-Men franchise became the biggest thing she was ever involved with and she shut her mouth pretty quick. But point blank: Halle doesn’t really like playing Storm, the fans don’t like her playing Storm, and Bryan Singer doesn’t like her playing Storm (his original choice was Angela Bassett) So I’d be genuinely shocked if we saw her in this movie. And no one will care if she’s replaced, which has to sting a little for Miss Berry. My honest to goodness feeling is we’ll see a younger Storm in the First Class timeline, but that adult Storm will be dead in the future timeline. But Fox may want her back in, seeing as she’s still a name actress, so I guess anything is possible. But I’m not holding my breath.
Odds for Returning: 2/10
Add another to the list of “probably nots” – Much like Halle Berry, Alan Cumming has been pretty vocal about how horrible a time he had shooting X2, and how he and Singer did not get along on set. A couple of years back, when asked about Singer, he had this to say: “I can’t deny I think he’s really talented, and I’m really proud of the film (X2) – I think it’s a great film – but I didn’t enjoy working with him on it.” Considering how Nightcrawler was just in the one X-Men film, he’s not crucial to the overall story. It is possible that the character of Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler might make an appearance, but I highly doubt it will be Cumming wearing the blue make-up if he does.
Odds for Returning: 1/10
We already know that Jennifer Lawrence is coming back as Mystique, a character she could easily play in both the past and future timelines. (She is a shape-shifter after all.) Add to that, Rebecca Romijn has been pretty candid about not really wanting to be naked and painted blue anymore. She has a good relationship with Singer and the producers, so I could see her making a cameo as her normal looking self much like the one she had in First Class, but that would be about it.
Odds for Returning: 7/10 (but only as a non made-up cameo)
We also already know that the character of Hank McCoy in the First Class timeline will make an appearance in the form of Nicolas Hoult, but what about his future adult self? I personally think that it is not very likely, if only for all the personal problems and bad headlines that Kelsey Grammer has had recently. Fox might want to avoid that particular celebrity train-wreck. Also, as with Ellen Page and Ben Foster, he only appeared in The Last Stand, so has no previous working relationship with Singer. So I see adult Beast as being pretty unlikely to show up.
Odds for Returning: 2/10
Kitty Pryde/Ellen Page
When Ellen Page shot X-Men the Last Stand, she had only one notable role to her name, the thriller Hard Candy. Not too long after The Last Stand came out, she hit it big with Juno, then came roles in Inception etc. She probably doesn’t want to come back to a relatively smallish role in the X-verse at this point in her career, and having only been in the third X-Men movie, she doesn’t have a pre-established working relationship with director Bryan Singer either, similar to Kelsey Grammer. So much like Nightcrawler, we might see the character of Kitty in some form, but I’m not counting on it being Page. Which would be a shame, as she was one of the few highlights from the third X-Men movie.
Odds for Returning: 3/10
Shawn Ashmore went from cameo role as Bobby Drake/Ice-Man in the original X-Men to a pretty sizable role in X2, and I believe he is also personal friends with Bryan Singer. For this reason alone I could see him coming back in some capacity, even if it is just a cameo.
Odds for Returning: 6/10
Angel was another major X-Men character who was totally squandered by X-Men The Last Stand. Played by Ben Foster, he’s another one that continues to have a career as a working actor and doesn’t need to come back to the franchise just to pay bills. And, also like Ellen Page and Kelsey Grammer, he was only in the third film so therefore doesn’t have any prior working relationship, good or bad, with Bryan Singer. Expect him to be among the missing or dead in the dystopian Sentinel-run world of the future X-Men.
Odds for Returning: 2/10
Taylor Kitsch had a part in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and as awful as that flick was, I thought he was more or less ok in it as Cajun mutant Gambit. Unfortunately, since then Taylor Kitsch has had two very high profile flops to his name, John Carter and Battleship. I think the producers of Days of Future Past will wish to avoid this bad luck charm.
Odds for Returning: 1/10
Yeah….nope. Don’t think so. That’s all I gotta say about that one.
Odds for Returning: 0/10
The next few weeks and months should be very telling on just how right or wrong I was with these guesses. Anyone else want to chime in with who you think is a sure thing to come back, and who doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell? Leave a comment below.