YOUNG GUNS & OLD GUY WITH A GUN1 of 12Recent reportsindicate that 20th Century Fox is hard at work reworking its venerable X-Men film franchise to compensate for the departure of some of its biggest stars and the prolonged absence of Bryan Singer – and their new plans reportedly hinge heavily on New Mutants and X-Force (though the latter may function as Deadpool 3).
Details about both productions are scarce, as they're both currently in the writing phase, but we do know a few things - including some likely castmembers. For starters, it's a safe bet that Deadpool will show up in X-Force, while his castmate Negasonic Teenage Warhead was billed as a "New Mutant" by recently-departed director Tim Miller. Furthermore, we'll go ahead and assume that Booboo Stewart will reprise his role as Warpath from X-Men: Days of Future Past.
There's also the matter of the rumored casting that's already taken place for New Mutants. It was previously rumored that Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams signed join the cast as Wolfsbane, while Anna Taylor-Joy, star of The Witch, had landed the role of Magick. While 20th Century Fox denied those rumors, later comments by Maisie Williams could open the door to something happening after all – good news, since those two would be perfectly cast.
But who else would round out the two teams? Some of the remaining characters are a given, or have already been announced, but there are still major holes to fill. Here are our picks for the rest of the X-Force and New Mutants line-ups, along with our picks for who should play them.
LINO FACIOLI as SUNSPOT2 of 12Yes, Roberto da Costa was played by 33 year-old Adan Canto in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, but since we’re skewing young for New Mutants (and why not, based on the two rumored choices that are already out there?) we’re recasting Lino Facioli as the solar-fueled powerhouse Sunspot. Facioli is best known for his minor role as Robin Arryn on Game of Thrones, a show it’s clear the producers of New Mutants are willing to mine.
Facioli hasn’t had a lot of chances to show his range on Game, but the young actor has made a name for himself in short films both in his native Brazil, and his home of England. As Sunspot, he’d be a perfect “kid brother” type foil to Sam Guthrie, A.K.A. Cannonball.
JEAN DUJARDIN as FANTOMEX3 of 12The most “green” of our X-Force squadmembers, Fantomex is a French mercenary who was a product of the same “Weapon Plus” program that birthed Wolverine. Based on Fantomas, the literary French thief, he carries a sci-fi twist in the X-Men titles, operating out of a high-tech ship that is actually an extension of his central nervous system. Brash and impulsive, but also deadly competent – he's perfect third leg to the pairing of Cable and Deadpool (who will presumably make it into X-Force).
When it comes to casting Fantomex, we’re thinking French actor Jean Dujardin is a spot-on choice. Dujardin is a little older and more hardened than some of the actors we’ve nabbed for X-Force, but that perfectly suits the character’s history and role as a kind of “wild card” in the pack. Dujardin has made a name among American audiences for his Oscar-winning turn in The Artist, but he’s also a comedian in his native France – something that would lend itself well to the acerbic and enigmatic Fantomex.
DEV PATEL as CYPHER4 of 12Here’s the rub: Dev Patel is a little older than the other actors we’ve recruited for New Mutants - but we’d argue Cypher’s unique powerset (he can understand, speak, and interpret any language) makes him well suited for a mentorship role. Placing him there could skew his character arc – assuming New Mutants would go the traditional route and kill him off after establishing him as the most innocent/naïve of the bunch – but that might actually give his potential death more impact, if the team loses a leader as well as a friend.
With that in mind, Patel would be pitch-perfect casting. He showed remarkable heart in Slumdog Millionaire, a quality that’s essential to Doug Ramsey’s place among his mutant allies, and has experience in a teen ensemble from the BBC's Skins. He’d be able to portray a sense of nerdy detachment without going campy or unsympathetic.
ALEX PETTYFER as SHATTERSTAR5 of 12Shatterstar is a weird character. There, we said it He’s somehow both a clone and a predecessor of his “father” Longshot, from the alternate MojoWorld. But… We’re guessing Fox is gonna eschew some of that baggage if they choose the blade-wielding warrior as part of X-Force. And weird though he may be, he’s also one of the more iconic members of the team’s original line-up.
When looking for someone who could balance the “genetic perfection” of Shatterstar’s physique with the rough-and-tumble gladiatorial attitude that drives him, we landed on Alex Pettyfer. Pettyfer may be well-known for his role in Magic Mike, but he’s also got an action pedigree, landing his first prominent role as teen spy Alex Rider in Stormbreaker.
DEVERY JACOBS as DANI MOONSTAR6 of 12There’s no doubt that Dani Moonstar is a fan favorite. She doesn’t have the profile of some of her co-stars, but her fans are fervent, to say the least. Moonstar is also one of the most deeply entrenched New Mutants characters in the Marvel Universe, even becoming a, Asgardian Valkyrie at one point.
While it’s unlikely Fox would (or could) go that route with Dani, she’s still the heart and soul of the team, and has often vied with Cannonball for the leadership slot. Dani needs someone who can win over audiences – and her teammates – and that’s Devery Jacobs. While she’s primarily known in her native Canada, Jacobs has a resume that’s perfect to balance an action oriented role with the teen melodrama of the X-Men’s rookie squad.
RILEY KEOUGH as BOOM BOOM7 of 12Tabitha Smith isn’t exactly a mutant all-star, but she is one of the most prominent female members of the original X-Force team. Wielding explosive powers, Tabitha has gone by a few different codenames, most notably Boom Boom and Meltdown. First recruited as a trainee by X-Factor, she found her way onto the New Mutants and survived the transition to X-Force. Boom Boom has traditionally brought a kind of “punk rock” energy to the team – something important to break the mold of a paramilitary strike force.
As far as casting her goes, our pick for Boom Boom is Riley Keough. The granddaughter of Elvis Presley, Keough’s rock’n’roll pedigree is undeniable. On top of that, she’s got action chops owing to her supporting role in Mad Max: Fury Road.
She recently made a name for herself in a breakout lead role in the Starz original series The Girlfriend Experience, so Fox should strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.
SEAN GIAMBRONE as WARLOCK8 of 12New Mutants director Josh Boone has said that Warlock, the techno-organic cyber alien that used to pal around with the team, is a part of his script. Now, in all likelihood, Warlock will be a hulking CGI creation, a la Groot, but he still needs a voice actor to bring him to life.
And our pick for that voice is Sean Giambrone, the main character of ABC’s The Goldbergs. Giambrone has an incredibly distinct, squeaky voice, which may make him an unexpected choice for a giant alien robot, but on a team full of teenagers and tweens, he’d fit right in.
Giambrone even has extensive voice acting experience, having voiced the character Jeff Randall on the cartoon Clarence for several years. And really, who better to play the ultimate comic book version of the alien robot sidekick archetype than the kid who brings to life a pop culture loving wunderkind every week? Put him alongside the team’s lovable, awkward, underpowered translator Cypher, and you’ve got Fox’s answer to Rocket & Groot.
Bonus: Warlock’s alien race is the origin of the techno-organic virus that invades Cable’s body in comic books, providing some connective tissue between X-Force & New Mutants.
TATIANA MASLANY as DOMINO9 of 12Considering the range she’s portrayed on Orphan Black, there’s almost no one in the X-Force cast that Tatiana Maslany couldn’t handle. But with a heavy-hitting actress like Maslany, she warrants the top billed female member of the team, the luck-bending Domino.
As one of Cable’s most trusted allies and occasional paramour, Domino is the scalpel to Cable’s hammer, using her tactical expertise and black-ops flair to back him up. Maslany would be spot on as Domino – she could even show off her incredible range if the script sends her on any infiltration missions.
Her eventually graduating to a superhero film seems almost inevitable, so why not X-Force?
JACOB LOFLAND as CANNONBALL10 of 12Cannonball is an interesting case. He’s a quintessential character to both the New Mutants and X-Force, but since New Mutants may be skewing towards the original team, we’re placing ol’ Sam Guthrie right in their midst.
And to portray him, we’ve got our eye on young Jacob Lofland. Lofland broke out in Mud, the Matthew McConaughey led drama (that also starred Tye Sheridan, a.k.a, the new Cyclops), before landing a role on the TV series Justified. He’s also got some action chops, having appeared in The Scorch Trials. The Arkansas-born Lofland’s got the “aw shucks” Southern charm coupled with farm boy good looks to perfectly embody the most prominent member of the mutant-heavy Guthrie family from Kentucky.
RUSSELL CROWE as CABLE11 of 12When it comes to Cable, the leader and founder of X-Force, we’re going with none other than Russell Crowe. This may be old news for some of you, as we’ve landed on this choice elsewhere, but a good idea is a good idea, and we’re sticking with it.
Crowe would bring a level of experience – much like Cable brings to his squad – that would give the film a focal point, and the rest of the cast someone to rally around. He’s got monster screen presence, and let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to see Crowe’s gruff “hard man” act collide with Ryan Reynolds’s irreverent Deadpool?
Fox has to prepare for the post-Hugh Jackman X-Men world, and Jackman’s fellow Aussie and Les Misérables co-star would replace the star wattage lost and then some.
As a plus, he can also play a good villain should the need for Stryfe come along...
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