Friday, January 30, 2015

X-Men Casting Questions, Part Deux

As you may have heard, there were three additions to the cast of the next X-Men film, Age of Apocalypse.  While Michael Fasbender, James MacAvoy and Jennnifer Lawrence will return as Magneto, Prof. Xavier, and Mystique, the roles of Jean Grey, Storm, and Cyclops are being filled with new faces. Grey will be played by Sophie Turner. Storm by Alexandra Shipp, and Cyclops by Tye Sheridan.  The casting of Storm has been met with the most consternation.  For one Shipp looks like this:

and is being cast to play Storm, who looks like this:


 Now the obvious logic here is that director Bryan Singer is going for a younger Halle Berry by casting Shipp, but that of course brings back the original disdain people had with Berry being cast originally.  Berry, of course, looks nothing like the character as she's drawn in the comic books.  The other problem a lot of people have is that Shipp isn't considered a good actress right now.  Her most recent role was starring in a universally panned biopic of the late pop star Aaliyah, in which her own performance was dumped on as much as the movie itself.  If you're a fan of Storm, which most people who are X-Men fans are, then this was an extra punch to the gut to go along with the one you got 15 years ago.  Do I understand?  Sure.  But........a few things:

  • These movies are their own thing.  The famed Claremont/Byrne print run is not going to be represented on film, and neither is the 1990s cartoon series.  Those are probably the two most beloved runs for the X-Men in either medium, and barring some major changes we're not going to get those on the big screen.  (The irony of ironies of course is that the cartoon series took a boatload of liberties from the print material and yet there are people who love them both)  These movies are almost more like science fiction films that feature the X-Men characters than actual X-Men films.  Singer and company have chosen to go their own way.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  If you've stuck with the movies this long, then you've probably accepted that.

  • Storm, Cyclops, and Jean aren't going to factor into the story much.  The X-Men movies are four character shows and those characters are Xavier, Magneto, Mystique, and Wolverine.  That won't ben changing either seeing as how three of the four actors are big time A-listers now.  You can count on each movie focusing on the Xavier/Magneto relationship with a major plot thread for both Mystique and Wolverine.  Everyone else is a role player.  Now of course that's going to cause a disjointed story seeing as how Cyclops is the leader of the X-Men and all, but that's what they're going to do.  With that in mind it makes sense to not put much diligence into casting anyone outside the big four.  They'll probably have a few lines each and a bunch of special effects laden action scenes.  Whether or not that's a good or bad thing probably won't be known until we actually see the movie.
So why do they continue to take such big detours from either of the forms that fans would accept the most?  Well, that's pretty easy to explain.  Here it is:

That's the worldwide gross of X-Men: Days of Future Past.  It also has an 8.1 rating on  And that's following a $353 worldwide gross for X-Men: First Class.  So they doubled up from one movie to the next, which means that people like what they're doing so they're going to keep doing it.  It's no different than the Transformers films; they have a formula and it's working so they're going to ride it until it doesn't .  If you don't like what they're doing the only thing you can really do it tap out and stay away.  Your move.

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