Concluding my fan-recasting for past-versions of the X-men, I would love to see Holland Roden cast as Young Jean Grey in the upcoming X-film, X-men: Apocalypse.
Roden has had a quiet career so far with her most well known role being a supporting character, Lydia Martin, in the teen drama Teen Wolf, and yet I can honestly see her blossoming into one of the defining actresses of my generation. Her role as Lydia alone, starting off as a shallow, popular princess and evolving into a complex, loyal heroine demonstrates the vast range and growth in her acting skills. I find it uniquely impressive that after portraying such an annoying and seemingly useless character in season one, Roden was able to quickly become my favorite character by the beginning of season three. Although many may view a show like Teen Wolf as trivial or immature, I have seen the career of co-star Dylan O’Brien grow from the show to the point that he will soon be starring in a movie, Maze Runner, later this month. I expect and hope to see Holland Roden gain the same recognition.
Much of the acting skills that Roden uses to channel the confusion, fear, drive, passion, and insight attributed to Lydia Martin would translate really well into the complexities, strength, and anxiety that would be required to portray a young Jean Grey. Famke Janssen did an marvelous job as Jean Grey in the original X-trilogy, portraying her vast intelligence, her leadership skills as a senior X-woman, and the intense fatigue she endured living with her psychic abilities. Despite my issues with the plot, I even think Janssen did an impressive job translating Jean Grey’s personality and powers at their most extreme in the form of the “Phoenix” in X-men: The Last Stand. With the role pretty well-defined already, I believe that Holland Roden would be the perfect actress to explore the origins of this complicated woman, and how she was able to transform her intense pain and turmoil into power and resilience.
Should Jean Grey return for X-men: Apocalypse, I would love the writers to focus heavily on her relationship with Charles Xavier. I did mention yesterday that I would love for the origins of Scott and Jean’s relationship to be explored, which is definitely still true, however for Jean Grey specifically, I would put more stress on how she came to be so close with Xavier. My friend did point out that we basically saw a glimpse of their past in X-men: the Last Stand already, but as I acknowledged before, the time-shift from X-men: Days of Future Past basically wiped the slate clean. Jean and Charles could have had a completely different history and relationship from before, which with both of their resurrections by the end of the last X-film, we can be pretty sure did happen.
I also think this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight Charles Xavier’s abilities as teacher, specifically for a psychic student. We saw Xavier consult the X-men through their abilities in X-men First Class, but Jean Grey would be a brand new challenge. Jean’s powers, if not initially, eventually come to match those of Xavier, and so it would be fun to see how James McAvoy would interact with and direct a psychic mutant like Roden’s Jean Grey, who possesses such raw, untapped power. These scenes would not only make some great interactions between characters, but also some epic battles or moments of destruction, especially if Apocalypse is also at the center of the conflict. Jean Grey and Charles Xavier against Apocalypse would be insanely awesome.
I AM DONE! With the additions of my “All New X-men”, here is how I’d dream the X-men: Apocalypse cast to break down:
James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Holt (Beast), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Holland Roden (Jean Grey), Brenton Thwaites (Cyclops), Samira Wiley (Storm), Asa Butterfield (Nightcrawler), Lucas Till (Havok), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Bingbing Fan (Blink), and possibly, Channing Tatum (Gambit). *I have no idea who should play Apocalypse…yet.
What did you think?
Thank you for stopping by, and although I know I rant a lot, I hope you enjoyed my exploration into the possibilities of introducing “All New X-men”. Although I realize these actors are likely not even on the radar of the writers, I do hope that at the very least they reintroduce a couple of young versions of these established X-men in X-men: Apocalypse! I guess we will have to wait and see!