‘X-Men’ Vets Bryan Singer Hasn’t Brought Back … Yet

by Brett White

With Bryan Singer snatching up actors from his previous tenure as X-director, it seems more reasonable to ask who won’t be in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” when it hits theaters in 2014.

With Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Anna Paquin and Ellen Page all suiting up one more time, it’s worthwhile to take a closer look at the actors Singer has yet to re-enlist. Is there room for them in a movie that’s starting to make the sizeable Avengers team seem quaint? Let’s find out!

Famke Janssen as Jean Grey
Couple the rumors that Janssen has filmed a cameo for this summer’s “The Wolverine” with newly appointed continuity-master Mark Millar stating that he wants to bring cohesion to Fox’s Marvel properties, and Jean Grey’s return seems like a no-brainer for “Days of Future Past.” Janssen’s fearless portrayal of Jean Grey was a highlight of the original trilogy, and one of the few bright spots in “The Last Stand.” However, the original “Days of Future Past” comic story took place right after her apparent death as the Dark Phoenix, so it’s hard to place her in the film, especially with Professor X most likely handling the telepathy duties.

James Marsden as Cyclops
Similar to Jean Grey, Cyclops had no role in the original “Days of Future Past” storyline. But considering how horribly this essential X-Man was discarded in “The Last Stand,” Singer should bend over backwards to retcon his lazy death and give the charismatic Marsden another chance to lead. If Fox hopes to make more present-day X-Men films set in their established continuity, it’d be near impossible to pull that off without Cyclops. Also, most of the returning X-Men are members of the junior squad from the previous trilogy. Those X-Men need some guidance, and Cyclops can provide just that.

Halle Berry as Storm
Whereas Cyclops and Jean Grey were absent from the original text, Storm pulled double duty in “Days of Future Past.” Not only was she the leader of the X-Men in the story’s present, but also she was among the last survivors in the story’s dystopian, future-set other half. This would give Berry a meaty character to portray, something the actress desired throughout the original trilogy. That being said, Singer and Berry didn’t do Storm justice the first time through. They either need to nail the character and make her significant, something that the size of the cast may not allow for, or leave her on the sidelines.

Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler
Fans were incredibly disappointed that Nightcrawler was absent from “The Last Stand,” and then somewhat joyful once they realized his only appearance was relegated to the best X-Men film. Cumming himself has expressed interest in returning, which is somewhat shocking considering that just getting into Kurt Wagner’s shade of indigo was a full-time-job. “Days of Future Past” is one of the more important Nightcrawler stories; it’s there when he first meets Mystique and senses a kinship between the two of them. That meeting already took place in “X2,” but there’s more important work to be done with this fan-favorite character.

Tyler Mane as Sabretooth, Ray Park as Toad
If the structure of the film holds true to that of the comic book, then the villains of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” will most likely be native to the film’s setting of 1973. That means the bad guys will most likely be whatever ragtag lot Michael Fassbender’s Magneto has hooked up with, thus leaving little room for the triumphant returns of Mane and Park. That’s probably for the better. When comparing them to the rest of the original trilogy’s villains, these two are definitely overshadowed.

Rebecca Romijn as Mystique, Kelsey Grammer as Beast
Romijn did a quick cameo in “X-Men: First Class,” one that served as a reminder for how cool the preceding Hugh Jackman cameo was. That being said, with Jennifer Lawrence fast becoming an A-lister, it makes sense to place her at the center of “Days of Future Past.” In the comics, that character was Kitty Pryde, who acted as the bridge between the present and the future. This role could easily be filled by Mystique, with future-Mystique (Romijn) warning past-Mystique (Lawrence) of the impending doom. It’s highly unlikely the same could be done for Beast, the other X-Man with a foot in both franchises. With a cast this crowded, there’s no room for Frasier.

Aaron Stanford as Pyro
Mystique’s classic incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants makes their debut in the “Days of Future Past” comic, and I think every diehard fan would flip out at the prospect of seeing Pyro, Avalanche and Blob bro-out on the big screen. Logistically, though, that’d be a stretch considering the source material and the established film continuity. Stanford was a solid Pyro, but that iteration of the character was not born in time for the film’s 1973 setting. It’s entirely possible that he could be alongside Ian McKellen’s future Magneto, but a part like that would amount to a cameo at best.

Daniel Cudmore as Colossus
The guy sure looked the part, but his two lines of dialogue spread out across two films indicates that acting wasn’t Cudmore’s biggest strength. Colossus, like Storm and Wolverine, pulled double duty in the comic book story. Like Storm and Cyclops, Colossus is an essential X-Man who has yet to receive fair treatment on the big screen. While Cudmore’s return is highly unlikely, having this metal-skinned giant on the cast would be a huge addition to “Days of Future Past.” Recast the part and give the fans all the Fastball Specials we’ve been asking for.

Who do you want to see Singer bring back for the next “X-Men” film? Tell us in the comments section below or let us know on Twitter!