"X-Men" fan favorites Colossus, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Siryn, Pyro, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Beast and Gambit will all show up in next year's movie sequel, a spokesperson at 20th Century Fox said.
While those colorful names may sound relatively obscure to the casual observer, for comic book fans it's a wish list of unparalleled proportions. Since the making of the 2000 original, all of the high-budget sequel's principal players have been set, from Hugh Jackman as the ever-popular Wolverine to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen's dueling ideologues and Oscar-winner Halle Berry's newly extended role as Storm.
But to the legion of comic folks hotly anticipating "X-Men 2," it's the small things that matter most. As production continues to move forward in Canada, news has been trickling out about the flick's ever-growing list of mutants, many of them jumping from the comics to the big screen for the first time.
For more than 20 years the "X-Men" have existed on the printed page in the "Marvel Universe." It's a place that shares our cities (there's a New York but no Metropolis or Gotham), though it's also a fantasy world where the mutants of X-Men often run into heroes like Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. The "X-Universe" itself easily includes 100 characters, each with their own obsessively developed, convoluted histories and intertwining, highly involved relationships.
All of this extensive mythos was distilled by director Bryan Singer in 2000's fan-pleasing "X-Men" flick, which discarded many of the complications that would have alienated newer audiences while getting all of the basics more or less right. It set the stage for "Spider-Man," which went on to shatter box-office records (see " 'Spider-Man' Breaks Box-Office Record").
Now fans are giddy with expectation to see the latest crop of their favorite heroes set to join up in "X-Men 2." Here's a rundown of who we can expect to see:
Colossus is a large Russian-born mutant capable of turning himself into tough organic steel, who despite his huge muscles is also a skilled artist. Romantically linked to Kitty Pryde, Colossus was a onetime defector to Magneto's side of the fence, though he ultimately returned to Xavier's team. He'll be played by Daniel Cudmore.
Sometime sidekick to Wolverine, Jubilee is an Asian-American teen capable of conjuring explosive, blinding bursts of energy. She'll be played by Kea Wong, who has appeared on TV's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and "Millennium" as well as in the 2000 movie "Snow Day."
- Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde is a teenager from Illinois whose power allows her to pass through objects. She adopted the name Sprite and was later called Shadowcat. Though Canadian actress Sumela Kay appeared briefly as Kitty in "X-Men," Katie Stuart of the TV miniseries "A Wrinkle in Time" will play her in the sequel.
Siryn is a young Irish woman who inherited her sonic scream from her X-Men father, Banshee. The sonic scream wields a destructive force and allows her to fly. She'll be played by Shauna Kain.
- Iceman, Beast, Gambit and more
Shawn Ashmore will return as Bobby "Iceman" Drake, and there will be small cameos, as part of a montage scene, from the blue-furred Beast and the card-throwing Gambit. And as has been previously reported, Aaron Stanford will appear as Pyro, and Alan Cumming will be Nightcrawler (see "New Mutants Added To 'X-Men 2' "). As Stanford rightly pointed out, it's important to remember that these characters will all vary at least slightly from their comic counterparts.
Fox has also confirmed that two of the first film's mutants will not be returning: Magneto henchman Toad ("Star Wars Episode I"'s Ray Park) and wrestler Tyler Mane's Sabretooth.
"X-Men 2" will see the X-Men facing a new threat that may require Magneto's help to combat. It's slated for release on May 2.