Retcon This! The ‘X-Men: First Class’ Movie Production

In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.

Clue: The movie will look nothing like this. This is it. This is the lowest point of my writing career and not-so-secret life as a fanboy: Hating a movie way before I’ve seen any frame or production stills picture from. I blame the people of Fox, Executive Producer Bryan Singer and Director Matthew Vaughn. Marvel Entertainment too, for letting Fox continue with this debacle.

Where shall I begin? Okay, the premise of the film is great: Focus on the early days of the X-Men and prior to that, the friendship between young, future rivals Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. A possible reboot with a big focus on the first five students to join Prof. Xavier’s merry little squad? The loves, tragedies and disputes to break the two idealistic personas? Yes, please. The casting of James McAvoy (Wanted, The Last King of Scotland) as Xavier and Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Inglourious Basterds) was brilliant. The thing I didn’t like was the casting race with every Hollywood teen heartthrob as a young X-Man, mostly for the role of Cyclops. But I could live with that as long as the casting would’ve been satisfying, and most of all — the film; but that I will only know in a year or so. Sadly, as things turned out by now, I’m too pissed off to be able to enjoy it.

Awhile ago Rosamund Pike (Surrogates) was rumored to be playing Emma Frost. Later it was changed to Xavier’s former Scottish lover and mutant expert, Dr. Moira MacTaggert. Now it is rumored that Rose Byrne (Damages) will take the role of Moira. I won’t mind seeing of the actresses in that role. Alice Eve (Crossing Over), whom I’ve never heard about before, was then linked to the role of Emma. Until two days ago, when January Jones (Mad Men) was announced as the woman to take on that role.

Now, most of you know of my love for Mad Men. I even had a crush on Jones (or rather, her character Betty Draper). By Season 4 (now on AMC, Sundays) I loathe Betty. Jones proved to be a one note actress (if at all) by giving one of the worst performances ever on Saturday Night Live last year. Sure, she’s no comedian, but it shed some light on her acting skills at large. At least… she looks perfect for the part.

However, this is just one minor gripe. What would you say about the casting of Jason Flemyng (Stardust) – a great performer in my opinion – as Azazel, Nightcrawler’s satanic father according to the “classic” story arc, “The Draco“? Sounds like a waste of an actor on a lame character. It’s like hiring John Makovich to play Jar Jar Binks.

So farm it seems that other than Hank McCoy/Beast no other original students (or at least the ones we know as the original students) will be featured in the movie. Take Angel (Warren Worthington III) for example; according to the casting list announced so far, the blond, I'm shocked that Azazel has not been used beyond "The Draco." Nah, that's a complete lie.tormented rich boy with wings will be played by Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, Zoe. Yep, Angel is now a black girl.

Okay, I’m kidding (not about the casting part). For those who’re not familiar with X-Men history, Angel Salvdore was created in late 2001 by Grant Morrison in his finest run. She was a black/hispanic girl who developed the abilities of a butterfly (along with the nasty cocoon period) and was abused by her father, until Wolverine saved her. What she has to do with Xavier’s first team of gifted kids? Beats me.

Same question could be asked about Darwin, to be played by Edi Gathegi (House, M.D.). Or Banshee. Right now, the only possibility I can think of is that all these characters – originally introduced way later in the X-Men continuity – will form Xavier and Erik’s first team, a project that will go downhill when most of the kids will find their deaths, just like Xavier’s secret team from Deadly Genesis. That’s not really a bad idea, if not for two problems:
1. The use of characters that shouldn’t be part of the story by that point.
2. Looks like they’re about to put Alex Summers/Havok in the role of his third, unknown brother Gabriel/Vulcan, as one of two survivors (alongside Darwin) of the X-Men’s first, horrible mission. From there, he’ll probably emerge as an antagonist to Xavier’s second team. Or maybe I’m wrong and he’ll die, thus making Xavier feel he’s obliged to use Alex’s brother Scott in his next team, in order to put him in danger too protect the boy.

Still, Azazel?! What the frak??

oh, wait, the retcon… Hmmm… How about Fox give up on the rights to this franchise and let Marvel do with the X-Men something good? We can’t forget the past and this installment is already in progress, so we can only hope it sucks so badly, the rights will revert back to the property’s rightful owners. Also, let’s make Azazel the new CEO of Fox. Even he won’t let this apparent debacle happen.

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Who ARE these people!?

Comments (8)

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  1. Batman25JM says:

    I’m in fully agreement about everything you said.

  2. Spider_Fan14 says:

    Same here.

  3. dpool666 says:

    Yep.

  4. Bigtymin504 says:

    I’m all for your last part about Fox giving up the rights (or selling them or something) back to Marvel Studios, sadly that’ll probably happen when hell freezes over.

    But I do think people are losing their shit on this movie a little too early. A lot of your gripes seem like trivial fanboy complaints to be honest. Just because characters like Angel Salvadore, Darwin, etc weren’t created till fairly recently, doesn’t mean they can’t be used in the movie. Movies are their own continuity, they don’t have to strictly adhere to comics history. Same goes for Havok. If they want to make Alex Summers the older brother of Scott then I don’t see the big deal really. It could work. Also, I love the idea of Jason Flemyng playing Nightcrawler’s father. That could lead to some very interesting stuff between him and Xavier/Magneto.

    I’m still cautiously optimistic about this, mainly because the two actors playing Xavier and Magneto are fantastic. And considering the movie is focused on them, its definitely promising.

  5. Batman25JM says:

    I’m usually one to let things slide, but I don’t like the sounds of this movie.

    I think the biggest problem with the characters they are choosing to use, at least for me, is that they aren’t the best X-Men characters out there. There are so many other, better characters they could use. I certainly am not excited about a X-Men movie starring mostly C and D list characters.

    Also, I just don’t want to watch a X-Men movie set in the 60s. For one, it messes up the movie continuity even more. Two, I just don’t want an X-Men period piece.

    On a side note: The typo in my first comment is bugging the hell out of me. I’m weird.

  6. ELI! says:

    So on one hand, if they wanted to make First Class fit with the continuity of the other X films there are characters that belong in the original but were already used incorrectly. Angel and Iceman were both introduced as ‘new’ mutants in the original movies.

    This theory breaks down with the Emma casting though, because they already introduced her as a (late) teenager in Wolverine. January Jones would have a hard time playing less than about 28 in my mind, which means Cyclops (based on his age in Wolverine) will already be the same age or OLDER than he was in the first movie.

    They should have stuck with Scott, Jean, Ororo and Henry plus some other characters who they had not used already if they wanted to stick with the canon that is established.

    Basically, if it is a reboot why aren’t they doing it proper and using the actual First Class, and if it isn’t a reboot why are they ignoring (seemingly) characters like Jean who should be there?

  7. tool486 says:

    Azazel is in this movie too!! Wow, I thought he(she?) had a big role in the upcoming Smurfs movie.

    Seriously though, I will form my opinion once I’ve seen some footage of the film. I’m not bashing your comments, just waiting to see the final product before forking over money to see it in theaters.

  8. Tomer Soiker says:

    May I be the first to admit I was wrong?

    (Not about Jones and Azazel, though.)

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