A Guide To X-MEN: APOCALYPSE With New Casting Rumors & Character Bios

A Guide To X-MEN: APOCALYPSE With New Casting Rumors & Character Bios

Need to know more about the next X-Men movie? This report is sure to satisfy even the most impatient x-fan, with all there is to know about 5 new teammates, as well as some rumors regarding the cast. Hit the jump to learn more about the origins of these characters in a comprehensive guide to everyone's favorite band of outsiders.

Dr.  JEAN GREY: an Omega-level mutant telekinetic/telepath and a founding member of the team's original lineup, first appearing under the code name Marvel Girl in 1963's X-Men #1. Charles Xavier was contacted by a history professor from upstate New York whose daughter began to display an extrasensory clairvoyance after seeing her friend struck by a car in front of her. This traumatic close encounter with death left Jean in a withdrawn and depressed state, forming a psychic link to a dying mind had awakened a dormant telepathic mutation and she entered a state of self-imposed isolation. John Grey would consult one of his colleagues who was secretly a mutant with telepathic abilities of his own, during her evaluation Xavier discovered an involuntary form of astral projection made her highly susceptible to becoming a vessel for cosmic entities, to being corrupted by one of the prime forces of the universe.
TELEPATHY: When Jean's psychic abilities first manifested, Xavier suppressed her access to those powers altogether and instead trained her in the use of telekinesis while allowing her telepathy to grow at its natural rate before reintroducing it. When her case was reopened they discovered Jean can read, influence, control, and communicate with the minds of others, project her mind into the astral plane, and generate telepathic force blasts that stun or even paralyze with no visible damage. She can also take away or control people's natural bodily functions, dull the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, or even suppress other mutant powers. Jean is one of the few telepaths skilled enough to communicate with animals of high intelligence such as dolphins, dogs, and ravens.
TELEKINESIS: Jean can use her telekinetic abilities on herself and others, to fly and levitate objects of considerable mass, she can stimulate molecules increasing friction to the point of conjuring flames, project large force fields, make concussive blasts, and during heightened states of emotion she's able to disintegrate matter at a molecular level. PHOENIX FORCE: is an omnipotent cosmic entity and the source of all telepathic energy in the universe. By finding a mutant telekinetic with psychic powers as its host, the Dark Phoenix can physically manifest itself as a psionic firebird whose claws inflict both physical and mental damage, and allows the host to survive in space. 

"I carry such guilt over [The Last Stand]. The way we killed Jean in X3 haunts me because I love 'The Dark Phoenix Saga' so much. That and Days of Future Past are my 2 favorite X-Men runs. So, I feel like what we did was not make it the 'Dark Phoenix' movie. We made 'The Cure' movie with 'Dark Phoenix' as a subplot. If I was going to do it now, and if we were doing it now because comic book movies are different, the darkness and the drama of that story would be differently supported." -Simon Kinberg

Bella Thorne expressed interest in the X-Men films in an interview with Nylon Magazine from last September, this was three months before they announced #Xmen #Apocalypse and eight months before plans to recast Jean Grey as a teenager were first revealed, the actress had this to say:

Q: Are there any acting roles that you'd like to do in the future?

BT: "You know a dream of mine would be X-Men. I know that's never going to happen, but I don't even know what I would do if I got it. I would probably have a heart attack!"

She went from the Disney sitcom Shake It Up to the Sandler romcom Blended, to now having starring roles in an Amityville Horror sequel and two other horror pictures Home Invasion and Big Sky due out later this year - could this scream queen put the 'dark' back in Dark Phoenix? Her career does have a lot in common with Jennifer Lawrence circa 2010, before Jenn put the dark back in Darkholme she was only known as the breakout character in a sitcom (The Bill Engvall Show) before moving on to darker feature films (Winter's Bone) and X-men was her first major franchise. Now that doesn't mean in a few short years Thorne could become the highest-grossing female action star of her generation as Lawrence did, but it does mean the studio might be looking for the same kind of potential.

Bella's interest in the role is actually widely known throughout her fanbase, Twitter followers likened her to the version of Marvel Girl seen in X-Men: Evolution an animated series that portrayed the team as kids in high school. And if you do the math on this, Famke Janssen graduated in what, 1983? and Bella Thorne graduates in 2016, which makes her (proportionately) the correct age to portray the younger counterpart of Janssen - believable enough, but different enough to give the character her own spin. The last person to play a young Jean Grey was Haley Ramm in a flashback to 1985, the year she'd originally been recruited by Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen's characters, in a scene that might cause some confusion when different actors assume those roles in 1983, but here the filmmakers explain why these separate timelines won't conflict with each other:

"[The movie] won't necessarily create an alternate universe, but there may be some swapping of things. I want to start introducing familiar characters at different ages and also explore the '80s." -Bryan Singer

"We sort of reset the clock on Days Of Future Past. And so a lot could have changed from that point in 1973 forward. Meaning, people could have been born earlier. The whole world changed after those events. So things that were represented in X1, X2 and X3 wouldn’t have happened in quite the same way.” -Simon Kinberg

What that means is even though Jean was a younger kid in the 1985 opening scene of X-Men: The Last Stand, and Apocalypse happens two years before, continuity errors don't apply to an alternate timeline, as most of these 'familiar characters' will be written as young adults by default setting. What Bella Thorne can do is evoke the decade, having been called retro and 80s glam, and compared to redhead icons Molly Ringwald or the mall pop singer Tiffany, and at the TMNT premiere she was lauded as "vintage 80s, grungy, retro, comic book chic." This is important because the clothes that defined that era will dictate costume design, and now it's possible for even the classic neon colored costumes to be adapted directly from the page! The reason each prequel episode succeeds as a period film is because of visual nods to the source material combined with historically accurate fashion trends, which in Jean's case was that of an 80s mallrat, similar to characters like Jubilee and Dazzler.

"We’re having a lot of fun with the idea of the 80s. It’s a decade that Bryan and I both grew up in and so the music, the style, the aesthetic, the legacy of 80s movies is something we’re really having fun with."

SCOTT SUMMERS: the field leader of the X-Men, often portrayed as the archetypal hero of traditional American popular culture—opposite of the tough, anti-authority, antiheroes that emerged in pop culture after the Vietnam War (e.g. Wolverine). Scott emits a concussive force from his eyes controlled only by a battle visor containing ruby-quartz lenses running eye-to-eye; resulting in the codename "Cyclops" after the one-eyed giants of Greek mythology. Brought up on the Elmendorf Air Force Base with his brother Alex, both their powers manifested uncontrollably amidst a plane crash over the north pacific.

The Summers' family aircraft went down in flames after a surprise attack by an alien Shi'ar spaceship, their parents fastened them into the only available parachute and pushed them off the plane hoping they would survive. Soon after they were retrieved as property of the state of Alaska, the brothers had to be separated into different facilities. Scott was determined to break out to go find his brother, but without much success in locating Alex, he is eventually taken in by Charles Xavier. Through extreme loyalty and headstrong competency, Scott "Slim" Summers was the professor's most valued pupil, handpicked to become the X-Men's undisputed leader.

OPTIC BLASTS: Cyclops emits beams of energy from his eyes, described as "optic blasts", which have the appearance of red light and deliver massive concussive force. The beams cause no recoil or heat, but are tremendously powerful, and can be used to rupture steel plates and pulverize rock. The beams constantly emanate from his eyes involuntarily, and can generally only be stopped by his own eyelids, or by shielding his eyes with sunglasses made of "ruby-quartz", a rare translucent mineral. BATTLE VISOR: To prevent the destruction of every object in his field of view, Cyclops uses a ruby quartz battle visor developed by Professor X and Hank McCoy to contain these devastating rays. Built into his X-Men uniform are firing studs in his gloves that allow the beams to fire through their shielding at variable levels. Through the use of adjustable apertures on his eyewear (a turnable knob on the earcup) the arch can be focused tight enough to punch a pin hole through a coin, and wide enough to blast through the walls of a brick building.
REFLECTIVE BEAM: Cyclops has an uncanny sense of spatial geometry, an intutive observation of objects around himself and the angles found between surfaces of these objects. Cyclops has the ability to ricochet his optic beams off any metallic surface at superhumanly precise trajectories to hit the intended target accurately. Cyclops has been fast enough to blindly predict the position of Quicksilver moving at supersonic speeds with enough accuracy to knock him out unconscious, the effective range of this optic beam is 2,000 ft. TACTICAL EXPERT: Selfless, self-disciplined, and ethical, Cyclops also possesses greater tactical and strategic skills than any of his teammates. He spent most of his superhero career as leader of either the X-Factor or the X-Men and has developed exceptional skills of leadership. Scott's abilities are at their best in tense situations, against unwinnable odds, the less time he has to think about a decision the better that decision pays off. 
Dylan Sprayberry is believed to be joining the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse for his close resemblance to the character (and James Marsden), but also for his prior experience with the superhero genre, having played the young Clark in Man of Steel. He can be seen on MTV's Teen Wolf as a season 5 regular and had a brief stint on FOX's hit show Glee, the first being an example of his versatile new addition to a longrunning and popular series, the second being a trend of Cyclops actors who'd been on music-oriented shows (James Marsden had a singing part on Ally McBeal, and X-Men: Origins' Tim Pocock was from Dance Academy) Although the actor is best known for Superman, coincidentally both the director and the original Scott Summers already put their stamp on the Son of Krypton back in '06.

"People love Cyclops in the comics. Jimmy [Marsden] does an admirable job. Not to make this about X3, but in X3 we did what we did with Cyclops was partly because we had a schedule nightmare. He was making, ironically, Superman [Returns] with Bryan. We had a week with him and we needed to make a decision to integrate him into the film then lose him." -Simon Kinberg

Dylan won't reprise his Clark Kent role in any future DC installments, so the idea that Marvel can just borrow an actor from the DC universe is not unheard of. Batman v Superman borrows from the casts of The Winter Soldier and The Wolverine, and Ryan Reynolds' one-off as Green Lantern will be forgotten about once he returns to the world of mutants. Dylan Sprayberry even pushed for the Deadpool movie to be made, in this interview promoting Teen Wolf at Comic-Con, he said the merc with a mouth is one character he'd like to play - hell, he even liked the X-Men Origins rendition. Under the direction of Zach Snyder, this young actor actually succeeded where Bryan Singer didn't (Superman was "not an easy character" according to Bryan) but what better way to prove he can direct a "mass destruction" movie than to one-up Snyder with his own Apocalyptic superhero event?

'According to the executive producer, Havok was not portrayed as Cyclops' brother on film: ["Alex Summers] is somehow related [to Scott] in a way that works for the film."' -Bryan Singer

Given the massive time-jumps between each episode, Havok from the movies can't possibly be the sibling of Cyclops -- but what if they're father & son? This would make a lot more sense, by the year 1983 Havok would be in his mid-40s with a teenage son becoming the next generation of X-Man, and his background in the US military ties directly into Scott's Air Force upbringing isolated on a base in Anchorage. Remember how we first met Alex, when he preferred solitary confinement over harming someone with one of his lethal red hula-hoops? Well the same precautions would have to be taken if Scott Summers were to inherit similar (or maybe identical) mutant powers, then his origin from the comics would play out as known history: He's brought up inside military barracks, trained as a pilot, then some traumatic airborne event within the story disables his ability to turn off the optic beam.
So they won't be portrayed as brothers on film - nothing is ever an exact translation of what happens in the comics - but the director saying "there may be some swapping of things" indicates that everything falls right into place. Havok would replace their father in the comics, USAF Major Christopher Summers AKA 'Corsair' the star-faring leader of a group of space pirates called the Starjammers (owned by Fox) The Summers' plane won't be shot down by a Shi'ar starship, but by a time-travelling Celestial space station (not owned by Fox) looking like the ones seen in Age of Apocalypse. But the biggest switch-up would be the whole nature of Scott's powers, if Alex could absorb ambient cosmic energy and discharge it as bright red eliptical rings, wouldn't his son have inherited the same powers, or powers that bare a ton of visual similarities?
Say Havok, with decades of experience restraining his mutation, now has the sapphire-colored rings from the comics; but Cyclops, the wayward son whose powers just recently manifested, can only fire off an unrefined crimson. It'd be an incredible fan-service to see these two as both combatively and visually dynamic up on the big screen. 

Ever notice how in the original movies Scott didn't come across as much of a soldier, maybe because in that timeline he never knew his father. Alex would've died in the Vietnam mutant program as part of Stryker's sentinel testing - hadn't Mystique shown up, it seems the chain-of-events seen in Days of Future Past managed to send Alex back home. He'd have trained Scott for years to control the same mutation he once struggled with, but without McCoy's chest plates, the remote Alaskan wilderness would have been their training grounds. Almost all of the origin comics wrote Scott Summers as an 'army brat' which is a US subculture of children stationed in war-zones with their soldier-parents; people defined by a mobile upbringing, a disciplined lifestyle and a strong adherence to military values, and to see Cyclops's origin done that way would turn him back into a fan-favorite.

"Cyclops was misunderstood, miswritten, misdirected and generally mismanaged in this series. Sure, he's the leader of the team, they got that much right. The Cyclops we wanted to see is basically a force unto himself." -IGN

We expect to see Scott's pivotal origin moment happen in cinemas, the moment where all power concentrates to his eyes - and he can't switch it off. The on-button gets stuck, so all of that austerity and commitment to years of training is completely reset. But if Scott is anything he's adaptable to new situations, having to re-learn everything he knows about his dangerous abilities, to start seeing life through ruby quartz lenses. As one of their newest yet least unstable recruits, Cyclops still sits among the most potentially dangerous, and it takes a master psychic to properly assess the neural damage, and a blue-furred scientist to retrofit a prototype battle-visor. All of the formative relationships between members of the 'true First Class' happen differently, but the attitude you'd expect from Cykes remains intact, because even as a member of the junior squad he can still lead a B-team to victory. 
"One of the things we talked about with Apocalypse, is doing the origin of the traditional X-Men team. And so… we're not necessarily sure what story we want to tell. But I think it would be great to follow the next generation of X-Men characters". -Simon Kinberg
ORORO MUNROE: the last in an ancient bloodline of white-haired African priestesses, her mother N'Daré was the princess of a Kenyan tribe who married the American photojournalist David Munroe and moved with him to Manhattan where Ororo was born. At six months old her parents moved again to the Egyptian capital of Cairo five years before the Suez Crisis, during this historical event an Israeli fighter plane crashed into their house, instantly killing two of them. The orphaned Ororo was left with intense claustrophobia from being buried under tons of rubble, she was taken in by pickpockets and raised on the mean streets of Egypt.

Cairo authorities put her in a holding cell which triggered an anxiety attack, the mutant gene activated inside this enclosed space and a city-wide evacuation forced them to release her as an astronomical phenomenon flooded the Nile Delta. Ororo would then wander into the Serengeti to be worshiped as an African rain goddess, she commanded rain for tribes experiencing drought but by doing this upset the natural balance, droughts formed over other villages and numerous herds of wild animals died of thirst. Xavier took notice of the water crisis in Kenya and recruited Munroe into his mutant academy in New York so that she could one day restore meteorological order to the African plane.

WEATHER MANIPULATION: Storm possesses the psionic ability to control all forms of weather over vast areas, to modify the atmospheric pressure and temperature of any given environment, to control all forms of precipitation, humidity and moisture at a molecular level, and generate lightning and other electromagnetic atmospheric phenomena. She can incite all forms of meteorological tempests, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards, hurricanes, and desert sandstorms, but she can dissipate such weather to form clear skies as well. NATURE AS A WEAPON: Storm can channel ambient electromagnetism through her body to generate electrical blasts, to flash freeze objects and people, coalesce atmospheric pollutants into acid rain or toxic fog, and along with her natural ability of flight, summon wind currents strong enough to support her weight to elevate herself (and others) to fly at high altitudes and speeds. Ororo can reconfigure natural forces like solar wind, ocean currents, and the electromagnetic spectrum that surrounds the Earth.

"The elements marshal their infinite might at my beckoning! Power seethes in the rolling clouds! Now, at my command -- STRIKE!"

PICKPOCKET: Storm is a trained thief from her years as a street punk in Cairo. As part of any thieves' paraphernalia she carries a set of lock-picks, is proficient in the use of knives and can speak fluent Russian, Arabic and Swahili. In tandem with the electrical fields she creates around herself, Storm is highly resistant to psychic attacks as telepaths have found it difficult to track her down. Several of these traits are independent of her mutant status and are a result of her ancestry. MAGIC POTENTIAL: Ororo's ancestry supports the use of magic as many of her ancestors are sorceresses and priestesses, part of an ancient matrilineal X-gene linked to the real-world Rain Queens of Balobedu. Storm can alter her visual perceptions to view the universe as pure energy patterns, her eyes turn solid white as she detects the flow of kinetic, thermal and electrostatic energy inside of weather phenomena and bends this energy to her will. Storm was shown to be sensitive to the dynamics of the natural world, and her psionic powers over weather are often affected by her emotional state, the gravitational stress on the tides by the Moon and Sun, as well as the distortion of a planet's magnetosphere.

Ororo's lesser known abilities include; separating water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen via electrolysis allowing her to breathe underwater, to affect and manipulate the interstellar and intergalactic media of outer space, detecting objects within various atmospheric mediums—including underwater—and to precisely recognize her geographic position. We don't have a guess for casting, but Storm and Jean are nearly the same age in the movies, so while Ms. Lupita Nyong'o may be a visual match for a lot of comic book iterations and fan art, at 30 she may not fit the series like a glove. Nothing can be ruled out though, Munroe is only half-Kenyan and the actress can come from any country and technically be any age. For this character we forecast a high of 18, a low of 13, with a slight risk of Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow and 2012-style imagery, mixed with some Chronicle-esque mutant battles. And if you expected to see the next Ororo Munroe amidst her 80s punk rock phase - you might just be correct! - as Bryan Singer may have confirmed to Nerdist that we'll see the mohawk'd Storm Storm-fans have long been asking for!

KURT VAGNER: is a German mutant with a demon-like appearance, the ability to teleport short distances, and whose physical mutations include: indigo-colored skin which allows him to blend into shadows, adhesive two-toed feet and three-fingered hands to stick to walls, yellow eyes, pointed ears and a prehensile tail. Born into a small Austro-Bavarian village called Witzeldorf and raised by the Bavarian circus, baby Kurt was found abandoned in the Black Forest and taken in by the ram-horned fortuneteller Margali Szardos, she adopted him into a family of mutants disguised as travelling circus freaks. Nightcrawler was originally depicted as a light comic relief and an optimist, a fan of practical jokes and swashbuckling pirate fiction. However, as a teenager he began to get caught up in a religious angst, believing that his father Azazel was actually some sort of interdimensional devil, he became a devout Roman Catholic and to this day remains very vocal about his faith en mein Gott.

TELEPORTATION: Nightcrawler can teleport himself, the clothes he is wearing, and within limits a certain amount of additional mass in contact with him. He does this by displacing himself via biochemical reaction triggered mentally, wherein he disappears and reappears somewhere else, and leaves behind a smoke signature with a stench reminiscent of burning brimstone. His teleportation is invariably accompanied by the muffled sound of imploding air rushing to fill the vacuum left where Nightcrawler's body was -- BAMF! -- his powers automatically displace purple and blue liquids and gases when and where he arrives in the course of molecule dispersion. SWORDSMAN: In the Age of Apocalypse reality, "Kurt Darkholme" used a more pirate-like and vicious fighting style inherited from his parents Mystique and Azazel. This version of Nightcrawler is not a religious person, he doesn't pray, quote scripture, or hang out in abandoned cathedrals (unless to steal something.) He carries two gold-hilted sabres stolen from the Vatican catacombs.
UPDATE: Moisés Arias (Ender's Game, The Kings of Summer) is rumored for young Nightcrawler

Kurt Darkholme is a very different person from Kurt Vagner, his last name implies he was raised by Mystique under her principles of human animosity. In addition to the many spiritual tattoos he'd carved into himself (one for every person he's killed) the AoA Kurt has a red marking over his eye given to him by Crimson Dawn, a mystical life-giving elixir that once resurrected Psylocke and gave her shadow-teleporting abilities. The most noticable divergence of this timeline is that AoA Nightcrawler can wield twin katanas, which you might remember was a massive gameplay upgrade in X-Men Legends 2 and a neat cinematic in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.
Now in 2016, Nightcrawler will (allegedly) be brought to life through CGI/motion capture rather than by a child actor in blue-face, so his design might look more like the Hellboy WW2 flashback, and less like the Hellboy II: The Golden Army flashback, (if you get the reference.) Presumed to have been born sometime before 1973, Kurt Vagner/Darkholme won't be much older than ten here, unaccustomed to bipedal movement but more agile than ever and trained with katanas. For this little guy we forecast a 60% chance of scene-stealing, a flurry of German swear words, and a cool night in the 80s.

"I'm considering a Gambit and potentially a young Nightcrawler for Apocalypse, [I was] going to have Nightcrawler appear [in X-Men: Days of Future Past] and even wrote a scene, but I felt that we were forcing too many mutants' known history." -Bryan Kinberg
REMY LEBEAU: the Cajun sensation, a charming mutant theif who can infuse inanimate objects with explosive energy, trained for the better half of his life to become the leader of the New Orleans Thieves Guild. Due to his burning red eyes, the child was believed to be El Diablo during the height of Voodoo hysteria. Remy was taken out of the hospital ward and raised by members of the Lebeau guild, who believed he was 'Le diable blanc' an eruptive force of liberation prophesized to unite the warring enemy Guilds, they placed him in the care of street gangs so he could learn the ways of thievery. Life for him was, as they say down in N'yawlins, a bowl of gumbo until his arranged marriage to the granddaughter of a rival Assassin general ended in bloodshed after her brother objected to the union and challenged Lebeau to a duel.

Remy, who'd only acted in self-defense, was excommunicated and banished from New Orleans in an attempt to maintain the non-aggression pact between the two guilds. He traversed the bayou as 'Gambit' a masterful thief and vigilante, aided by his followers called the Marauders, and unwittingly led the infamous massacre on a tunnel-dwelling mutant community known as the Morlocks. Upon realizing his mistake, Remy tried to rescue a young Morlock girl who would one day grow into an X-Man named Marrow. Upon his fated return to the city of N'awlins, he became patriarch of the newly unified Thieves' Guild, stole paintings from an art gallery with the mutant Storm, and fought enemies like Sabretooth, Mister Sinister, and The Shadow King.
KINETIC ENERGY: Remy has the power to convert potential energy stored in an object into a light pink-colored kinetic energy thus “charging” that item with explosive results. He normally prefers smaller objects, a deck of playing cards is always present and they're much easier to throw, the only real limitation being the time required to charge an object is proportionate to its size. The explosions' power doesn't depend on the mass of the object, for example, a charged playing card explodes with the force of a grenade. He's a highly skilled card-thrower and constantly generates enough bio-kinetic energy suited for constant motion. FIGHTING STYLE: Gambit can also accelerate his staff with enough power to level a street balcony. He has superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, agility, dexterity, coordination balance and endurance with an added edge of his unique acrobatic fighting style. He's trained extensively in martial arts, particularly French kick-boxing or Savat, and the staff art Bojutsu, plus a few known street-fighting techniques always enter the mix. Gambit customarily wears a suit of highly articulated light body armor, and uses an extendable metal staff for a deadlier form of combat.

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