Is EastEnders’ Ben Hardy in X-Men: Apocalypse after all?

Huw Fullerton ruminates on the latest rumours surrounding Walford's potential superhero...

So what’s the scoop? More superhero confusion?
Yep. It looks like EastEnders’ Ben Hardy – aka the Beale boy who’s not a murderer – is going to be in the next X-Men film. It’s pretty X-citing.

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Wait, didn’t I hear this story before?
Yes, sort of; there were reports that Hardy was in the running to play a younger version of eye beam-firing mutant Cyclops, played by James Marsden in the original X-Men films, but that part eventually went to Tye Sheridan instead.

So why has the story resurfaced?
The Wrap apparently have inside sources that tap Hardy for “a key, as-yet-undisclosed role” that’s NOT Cyclops. It’s possible they liked him enough from the first audition to put him in for another role, or that he was never in the running for Cyclops and was circling this part the whole time.

Sounds cool. Who might he be playing?
The fact that his role is described as “key” gives us a few ideas. One storyline in the comics saw titular X-Men villain Apocalypse (played by Oscar Isaac in the upcoming film) try to possess Nate Grey (above), the biological son of Cyclops and telekinetic Jean Grey (played by Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner in the new film). Maybe he’s him!

Isn’t he a little old to be Sansa Stark’s son?
True, but there might be time travel involved as in the last X-Men film.  Then again, we could be completely wrong. He’d also be a good choice for Cyclops’ brother Alex (aka Havok, a noted blonde), but the films already have an older version of that character played by Lucas Till.

Alternatively, he could be Professor X’s son David Haller (below. In the comics, David is a powerful but mentally unstable mutant with an exciting haircut who travels in time to kill X-Men foe Magneto (played by Michael Fassbender in the upcoming film). Unfortunately, he accidentally kills his father instead resulting in a dystopic future which nasty mutant Apocalypse controls.

Also, in that particular comics storyline Magneto ends up leading the X-Men in the new world, which would explain the rumours of Ian McKellen returning to play the older Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse while Patrick Stewart isn’t doing the same for Professor X – he was killed as a young man by Peter Beale!

Then again, the films haven’t shown James McAvoy’s Professor X with a son so far, so…

So basically you don’t know then.
Well, we can’t all be psychic – we’re too attached to our full heads of hair, for one thing. They’re bringing back Professor X’s girlfriend Moira (Rose Byrne) from 2011’s X-Men: First Class so maybe she had a child and kept him secret, making it possible for him to appear. But that’s just our speculation.

Is there anything you DO know about this story?
Only one thing’s for sure – if he is cast in the movie, we’re expecting a sizable cameo for those patented Beale abs. They’re one of his most X-alted attributes, after all.

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X-Men: Apocalypse will be released in May 2016