Oy. Director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kick-Ass) is giving me a beast of a headache that’s not helping my hangover. While I’ve so far thoroughly enjoyed Vaughn’s work, his casting for X-Men: First Class is getting a little (OK, a lot) out of control. It’s meant to be an early origin story, telling about how Professor X and Magneto were once friends and what led them to become enemies. Yes, it’s an origin story. Apparently, Vaughn didn’t learn from the Ratnerfucking of X3, and is making it an origin story about every goddamn mutant in the Marvel universe.
The most recent news is that Rose Byrne (Troy, “Damages”) is in talks to play Moira MacTaggert, a geneticist, lover of Xavier and one of the few non-mutant protagonists. She’s Scottish, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that part gets retconned out, and spends much of her time doing research on genetic mutation in her laboratory on the fictional Muir Island. She was briefly played by Olivia Williams in X-Men 3: The Ratnerfucking, most notably in the cringe-worthy final scene. Regardless, I like Byrne — she’s a capable actress and damn adorable to boot. So, you know, why not.
The other casting news is that British actor Jason Flemyng (Clash of the Titans, “Primeval”) has been cast to play Azazel, the maybe mutant, maybe demon father of notable X-Man Nightcrawler (played by Alan Cumming in X-Men II, uncast and unmentioned so far in Vaughn’s film). This one’s an interesting one — Azazel is one of the lesser-known characters in the canon, and has a pretty weird history. In the comics, he’s a demonic-looking mutant who can teleport and shoot energy from his hands, and claims to be one of an ancient race of demon-mutants called the Neyaphem. He was at one point banished to another dimension. Eventually he broke free and met up with the mutant Mystique (to be played by Winter’s Bone actress Jennifer Lawrence), who ends up preggo with Nightcrawler as a result. I don’t know how much of the more supernatural/transdimensional history Vaughn will use. I don’t even know if it’ll be a big part.
The point is, it’s Mutantpalooza all over again, and it’s starting to feel like too much — which was exactly part of the problem with X3 and Wolverine. Of course, the larger problems in those films were shoddy plotting, hideously bad dialogue, and overall horrendous writing. Vaughn’s Jane Goldberg helping out on the writing front, so that certainly helps his cause, but… maybe it’s just hard to get excited for a new Marvel mutant movie after the last two abominations.
Yeah. That’s what I’m sticking to. Not getting my hopes up. Nope. Not me.
Anyway, courtesy of the kind lads at Slashfilm, here’s the full cast so far:
James McAvoy — Charles Xavier aka Professor X
Nicholas Hoult — Dr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy aka Beast
Michael Fassbender — Eric Lensherr aka Magneto
Alice Eve — Emma Frost (in talks)
Caleb Landry Jones — Sean Cassidy aka Banshee.
Lucas Till - Alexander “Alex” Summers aka Havok
Kevin Bacon — as yet-unnamed the villain, rumored to be Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club
Jennifer Lawrence — Mystique
Edi Gathegi — Darwin
Jason Flemyng — Azazel