‘X-MEN’ WHO’S WHO
Quick! Name the X-men still on the team after the events of the last movie, “Days of Future Past”!
If you can’t do it, you’re in good company. In the eight X-movies so far, we’ve seen the series rebooted (“X-men: First Class”), the timeline rewritten (“X-men: Days of Future Past”), one movie consigned to the memory hole (“X-men Origins: Wolverine”) and another that breaks the fourth wall (“Deadpool”). Even the comics are no help: The X-movies, from their inception in 2000, have thrown X-men history into a blender.
So, in the dreaded words of professors everywhere, let’s review. Here are the Dramatis XPersonae who will appear in “X-men: Apocalypse,” opening today:
Charles “Prof. X” Xavier, Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr: These t wo characters have been in all six movies with “X-men” in the title, although James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender play them in the past, while Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellan play them in the present. (“First Class” takes place in the 1960s, “Future Past” in the ’70s and “Apocalypse” in the ’80s.) The two are usually played as former friends now at odds over conflicting philosophies, who must sometimes work together against a greater threat (when not trying to kill each other).
Raven “Mystique” Darkholme: An out-andout villain in the comics, this shapeshifter had the good fortune to be played by Jennifer Lawrence in “First Class” in 2011, before J-law became a superstar. Now Mystique is a lead character with Chaotic Good impulses and a romantic past with both male leads, because, hey, nobody puts babyface Jennifer in the background.
Hank “Beast” Mccoy: An original X-man in the comics, The Beast has made only sporadic appearances in the movies. He was played by Steve Bacic as human in “X2: X-men United,” and by Kelsey Grammer in full blue fur in “X-men: The Last Stand.” “First Class” introduced a younger version (played by Nicholas Hoult) who became Professor X’s assistant in “Future Past.” You may recognize Hoult from Jaguar’s “British villains” series of commercials that also star Tom Hiddleston (who played Loki), Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin) and Mark Strong (Sinestro).
Alex “Havok” Summers: Introduced in “First Class,” Alex also appeared in “Future Past.” He’s the brother of Scott “Cyclops” Summers, and his power works in much the same way; the Summers brothers absorb solar or cosmic rays, and then expel the energy — Cyclops through his eyes, Havok from just about anywhere.
Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff: In the comics, Pietro and his fraternal twin sister Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) were introduced in 1963 as mutants allied (reluctantly) with Magneto, but then changed their spots and became Avengers in 1965. They appeared so frequently together in the 1960s and ’70s that they were almost one word — “quicksilverandscarletwitch” — although as time went on, Quicksilver From the top: Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the original and most powerful mutant; Psylocke (Olivia Munn) is a powerful telepath and trained ninja assassin; Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean (Sophie Turner) are in the midst of an epic battle.
became more independent and less heroic, while Wanda remained a mainstay of the Avengers. Well, until she went crazy. (Long story.) Anyway, both were revealed to be the children of Magneto in 1982 …
Which is no longer true. When Twentieth Century Fox acquired the X-men movie rights, they claimed the twins because they are mutants. Marvel Films also calls dibs, as the siblings are more closely associated with the Avengers than the X-men.
On the screen, Twentieth Century Fox is keeping Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters, and introduced in “Future Past”) as an illegitimate son of Magneto, while Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen, introduced in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a product of Hydra experimentation. Wanda is simply missing in the Fox movies, while Pietro is stone dead in the Marvel ones.
Don’t think about it too hard.
Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Jean “Phoenix” Grey: Scott and Jean, played by James Marsden and Famke Janssen, were players in the first three X-movies and very similar to their comics counterparts. Both died in “X-men: The Last Stand,” but cameos in various post-reboot movies have already indicated their lives are playing out differently. Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark in “Game of Thrones”) play them as teenage-ish in “Apocalypse.”
Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner: The teleporting German, played by Alan Cumming, had a star turn in “X2.” But that was then. His first post-reboot appearance will be as a younger man (but still a blue one) in “Apocalypse,” played by Kodi Smit-mcphee.
Warren “A n g e l ” Worthington III: Ben Foster played the winged X-man in “X-men: The Last Stand,” although he was never actually called “Angel” on screen. In the comics, Angel was a founding X-man who was later brainwashed into being Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death and transformed into the murderous, metal-winged Archangel. The character has never recovered from the trauma, and it looks like something similar will happen to the postreboot Angel in “Apocalypse,” played by Ben Hardy.
Ororo “Storm” Monroe: Famously played by the famously reluctant Halle Berry in the first three X-men movies, the weather-controlling mutant has only made a few cameos after the reboot. But in “Apocalypse,” a young Storm (Alexandra Shipp) gets recruited as a Horseman.