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In X-Men: Apocalypse, the stars of the last two X-Men films (First Class and Days of Future Past) are joined by several actors playing younger versions of mutants like Storm, Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Jean Grey.
It’s a packed lineup, so how did writer Simon Kinberg, who composed the Apocalypse script with director Bryan Singer and others, decide which characters to introduce?
“Once we made the decision to make it an Apocalypse movie, some of the characters started to fall into place because we had to figure out who the horsemen would be,” Kinberg explained, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at a screening of the film in New York earlier this week. “There’s a lot of different iterations of the horsemen in the comics, but there’s ones for Bryan Singer and I that are our favorites: Angel, Psylocke became natural choices. And we knew going in that we wanted it to be an origins story for the new, young [characters]. From the beginning, we just felt like it was time to bring in Storm, Cyclops and Jean just because of the way we knew these movies were progressing, [with First Class set in the ‘60s and Apocalypse set in the ‘80s], if we didn’t introduce those characters soon, they would be older than our main characters. This was, we sort of felt like, the end of one trilogy and an origin story for these new characters.”
Apocalypse is the third X-Men film in a row for James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique). And fans of the trio’s work in the trilogy are wondering if they’ll return to the X-Men world after this film. The introduction of the new mutants seems to plant the seeds for those newcomers to continue the franchise.
Kinberg, though, said if it were up to him, he’d love to have the whole cast back.
“I definitely see [the new characters introduced in Apocalypse] as being a huge part of the franchise. I’d love to keep making movies with the cast we have now because I love working with these actors and I think they love making these movies,” said Kinberg. “They’ve really become a little family: McAvoy, Fassbender, Jen, Nick Hoult, Evan Peters. I’m not the person who writes the checks, but if it were up to me, we would have them back.”
While Lawrence has indicated that it will take a lot to get her back in blue, McAvoy suggested that he’d be happy to reprise his role.
“Every time I’ve played Charles, I’ve gotten to do a slightly different thing, which has been satisfying and challenging for me. So if that continues to happen and I continue to have the opportunity to do interesting things as an actor, I’ll jump at the chance,” McAvoy told THR. “If it gets stale, if it gets to be the same thing as I did last movie, I’d think twice about it. We’ll wait and see what Simon comes up with. He always writes interesting stuff for me. I’m guessing I’ll come back.”
Peters, who joined the franchise in Days of Future Past, was even more committed to another turn as Quicksilver.
“Oh my God, absolutely, yeah, 100 percent,” the actor said about continuing with the franchise. “I’d like to see Quicksilver go a little dark. Get on that dark Magneto side. Like father, like son.”
Yes, as fans saw in one of the trailers, Quicksilver says he’s Magneto’s son, a revelation Peters said he knew was coming when he signed on and is glad he now gets to explore.
“I read some of the comics and I knew that from that and then we kind of hinted at it in the first film,” he said. “But now in this one, it’s really sort of out there and fans can see him trying to establish some sort of relationship with his estranged father.”
Rose Byrne has already returned to the X-Men franchise with Apocalypse, reprising her First Class role as CIA agent Moira Mactaggert. But the actress remained coy when asked whether Moira and Charles rekindle their romance in Apocalypse.
“Well, I’m not allowed to reveal anything, but we had a lot of fun kind of working with some of those things,” Byrne told THR. “It’s an emotional journey for Moira in the movie.”
And she, too, indicated she’d be up for another X-Men film.
“I think these X-Men movies are so special because they’re very operatic and sort of more emotional in terms of the comic book franchises out there,” said Byrne. “I loved being a part of it.”
Also making the scene at the Apocalypse screening at Lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place were Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Storm) and Carolina Bartczak, who plays Magneto’s wife, Magda, knowing him as Erik.
Bartczak said she understood how her onscreen husband could be persuaded to turn to the dark side.
“I think Magneto, or Erik, as my character knows him, lived such a horrible and terrible life and he’s got such anger towards humanity and my character kind of assuages him, kind of soothes him toward becoming a better person and when that’s taken away from him, he’s got nothing left. All of his humanity is taken away from him,” she explained.
[Warning: Spoiler ahead for X-Men: Apocalypse.]
Apocalypse villain En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) ignites Magneto’s rage with a visit to Auschwitz, a narrative device that’s been criticized in a few reviews of the film.
But Kinberg defended the scene as part of Magneto’s backstory and insisted both he and Singer were careful not to offend.
“It’s been a part of Magneto’s backstory both in the comics and in the movies since the first scene of X1, which is where Bryan started, the first X-Men movie, and then we did it again in First Class, seeing him as a child in Auschwitz,” said Kinberg. “It’s just a defining part of his character. So we just felt it would be most dramatic to take that character back to the scene of his worst trauma, and we were definitely very aware of the complexity of it, for every reason, but also Bryan Singer and I are both Jews and are sensitive to what that means.”
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