This past weekend at Comic-Con, all the buzz was about “The Avengers 2” and the Batman vs. Superman movie announcements. But playing second fiddle, the cast of next year’s huge project “X-Men: Days of the Future Past” turned up on stage for a panel discussion. Each of the cast members had already been announced with players from “X-Men: First Class” merging with those from the original X-Men films, but something about seeing them all together in one place has revealed just how amazing this cast is. This is the answer to the success of “The Avengers” for 20th Century Fox, who owns the X-Men film rights. To be honest, this ensemble might be more impressive. Here’s a closer look at the X-Men.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
Jackman is the face of the X-Men franchise, so having him back for his sixth run (seventh if you include the “First Class” cameo) as Wolverine was important. He’s starring in “The Wolverine,” which comes out this week. So we’ll be seeing a lot of the character, not that anyone is complaining. Oh and just in case you thought the Australian wasn’t busy enough, he earned an Oscar nomination last year for his performance as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.”
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique
Speaking of busy, “The Hunger Games” star has transformed from rising talent to global superstar since “X-Men: First Class.” That can be attributed to her portrayal of Katniss, but her two Oscar nominations could also play a part. She won this past year for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook,” where her character was a steep departure from those in District 12 and the Danger Room.
Ian McKellen as Magneto
The fact that the distinguished actor has recreated himself as a pop culture icon since the turn of the century has made McKellen one of the most beloved actors around. “Days of the Future Past” will be his fourth time playing Magneto after plans for an “X-Men Origins: Magneto” film fell through years back. Oh and in case you haven’t heard, he just wrapped filming “The Hobbit” trilogy. That’s six films as Gandalf.
Michael Fassbender as Magneto
The younger Magneto has kept busy since “First Class” also. When you play a mutant and Rochester in “Jane Eyre” during the same year, you know you have range. His performance as the android David in “Prometheus” is both creepy and awesome. Plus, will we ever forget how he killed the villain at the end of “X-Men: First Class.” Hide your coin collections.
Anna Paquin as Rogue
It’s almost forgotten in the public consciousness that Paquin played the central character in the first “X-Men.” The actress, who won an Oscar at age 11 for “The Piano,” is now best known as Sookie Stackhouse, the main character in the long-running HBO Series, “True Blood.” For those who have watched the show, the character is a bit different from the more innocent Rogue.
Ellen Page as Kitty Pride
Page was one of the new class of X-Men presented in the 2006 installment, “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Since then, her star has risen dramatically as the titular character in the 2007 indie hit, “Juno.” After playing the pregnant teen, her best known role is in Chris Nolan’s mind-bending “Inception.” It’s been a long time, but it will be interesting to see if the Rogue-Kitty rivalry is written into the film.
Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask
The most notable of the series newcomers, Dinklage is playing the villain behind the Sentinels. Director Bryan Singer has said Trask is the main antagonist for the film. Dinklage has been a star ever since he began playing Tyrion Lannister on “Game of Thrones.” He just received an Emmy nomination for the role, his third. He won in 2011, for season one of the show.
Patrick Stewart as Professor X | Halle Berry as Storm
It seems crazy that Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry don’t warrant their own entries, but their biggest roles occurred during or before their time as X-Men. Berry is an Oscar winner and Bond girl, Stewart has a distinguished list of acting credits including his popular turn as Captain Jean-Luc Picard for the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” series and movies.
James McAvoy as Professor X | Nicholas Hoult as Beast
Both are established actors with starring roles on their résumés. McAvoy’s most recent hit had him voicing the title character in “Arthur Christmas.” He also boasts “Wanted” and “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” in his filmography. Hoult may be more famous for dating Jennifer Lawrence than anything he’s done on screen, but this year alone he’s played the lead in a hit (“Warm Bodies”) and a miss (“Jack the Giant Slayer”) at the box-office.
Shawn Ashmore as Iceman | Daniel Cudmore as Colossus
Shawn Ashmore returns after a pretty central role in the original trilogy. He is currently a cast member on former X-Men villain, Kevin Bacon’s series, “The Following.” Colossus was a relatively small part in “X2” and “The Last Stand,” but Daniel Cudmore has kept busy as Volturi member Felix in the “Twilight” films.
James Marsden as Cyclops | Lucas Till as Havok
Okay, so Marsden isn’t confirmed for the film, but wishful thinking has me putting the “Enchanted” and “Hop” star on this list. Sure Cyclops died in “The Last Stand,” but so did Professor X. Fans would love to see the brotherly love/feud play out with Havok if the plot allows it. Till, who plays Havok, has been confirmed, so we’ll at least get one Summers brother.
Omar Sy as Bishop | Evan Peters as Quicksilver
Of the newcomers to the cast in addition to Dinklage, the presence of Bishop and Quicksilver on the call sheet has definitely caught the attention of comic book fans. Even with the weird confusion about Quicksilver also appearing in “The Avengers” played by someone different, he’ll always be an X-Men character to many fans. Peters is known for his roles in “American Horror Story.” And because there can’t be a time-travelling X-Men movie without Bishop in it, Sy joins the crew. The French actor has many international credits including the 2011 film, “The Intouchables.”
This isn’t even the full cast of “X-Men: Days of the Future Past,” but it’s enough to whet your appetite. The film is scheduled to hit theaters in May next year. Eat your heart out Avengers.