Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb….
Flickering Myth‘s Gary Collinson covered the recent news from the X-Men camp, and the changes to be made within X-Men: Apocalypse:
“Writer-producer Simon Kinberg has spoken about having to recast the likes of James Marsden, Halle Berry and Famke Janssen with younger incarnations of the original X-Men trilogy characters: “It’d be very hard to do, because Halle, Famke, and Jimmy and others have done such wonderful jobs of bringing those characters to life.”
Read the full article here.
Unlike The Avengers and DC’s incarnations of The Dark Knight, Bryan Singer’s X-Men has the enviable position of being the longest-running cinematic comic book universe. Of course, Superman could be considered longer (spanning the Richard Donner original in 1978 and, one could argue, continuing until Singer’s own Superman Returns in 2006). But the unexplained erasing of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace destroys the link to the original series, despite his efforts to make Superman Returns canon. The rebooting of Batman and Spider-Man through the years have actively ignored their predecessors – and missing a trick.
As this is the beauty of sequels and series at the moment. Simon Kinberg and Singer knew how excited we were for X-Men: Days of Future Past and, for all intents and purposes, delivered on their promise. Now they have the difficult task of continuing the series so that it holds longevity. At the same time, they need to respect the previous films and balance the ‘X-Men universe’ so that a viewer can watch each film chronologically and still enjoy the series.
Recasting Cyclops, Jean-Grey and Storm, with this in mind, was inevitable. Luckily for the production, surely James Marsden, Famke Janssen and Halle Berry signed a contract that extended their brief roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past. A small appearance and considerable sum per actor is inevitably attached, but keeping the series connected is what the studio pays for.
An opening moment or single-scene is all that’s needed to establish the new order, but by passing the baton within the screen-adaptations, we are more invested. We are keen to see the next ‘chapter’ in the story. Though the X-Men have the strange Wolverine series running alongside, at the moment it is domino-filmmaking as each movie connects to the next. The genius behind the recent X-Men team-movies (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past) is how they have raised the profile of the initial trilogy released between 2000 and 2006. Suddenly the X-Men universe is bigger and exciting again. Will Nightcrawler return? Is Sabre tooth still alive? How will the Deadpool character develop in this new era? A nod here and a cameo there will be the glue that keeps us coming back for more. If they don’t want Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in 2016, at least have an opening sequence whereby his skills are passed to another.
I’ve said it before, and opposed to the auto-pilot filmmaking in the Marvel system and the anything-for-a-quick-buck DC style of adaptations (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, just so you know exactly what you’re getting), the X-Men series seems to be the most exciting franchise of them all.