Why X-Men: Apocalypse has too many X-Men

Bryan Singer's superhero sequel keeps casting new characters – but is there room for them all, asks Huw Fullerton?

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Yesterday Olivia Munn was revealed as the latest addition to upcoming superhero sequel X-Men Apocalypse, with The Newsroom actress set to play telekinetic and telepathic (and British) mutant Psylocke, aka Betsy Braddock. Great news for any nerdy fan of superheroes (and specifically the X-men) like me, right?

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Well, no – because I’m finding the constant additions to the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse absolutely exhausting. Every week or so another character is added to the already groaning roster, whether it’s the re-casting of a character who hasn’t been in the films for a while (e.g. Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner taking over the role of Jean Grey from Famke Janssen) or bringing a new mutant to the screen (Lana Condor as Jubilee).

In addition to returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Rose Byrne, I count eight new additions to the cast so far, all with their own powers, code names and back stories that will be ill-served by cameos. And that’s not including the rumoured involvement of Ian McKellen and Channing Tatum as the older Magento and Cajun mutant Gambit respectively, or anyone else they’ll cast in the coming months.

This isn’t a new phenomenon – the last X-Men film, Days of Future Past, had a pretty big character list as well (see main image) – but this ever-increasing cast of merry mutants are in danger of following in the footsteps of Brett Ratner’s generally unpopular 2006 movie X-Men: The Last Stand, which lost sight of the comics’ story-driven strengths in favour of spectacle and the shoehorning in of new characters.

Notably, two of the characters crammed into the Last Stand were Psylocke and winged mutant Angel, with neither given enough screen time. Now, they’re recast and coming back for Apocalypse (with EastEnders’ Ben Hardy as Angel joining Munn’s Psylocke) – surely not a great omen?

Sure, it’ll be interesting to see all these characters getting another shot at the big screen, but I’d much rather they held a few back for future films rather than throwing them all into a story unable to showcase them properly.

If the series really wants to X-cel, it needs to X-clude. 

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X-Men: Apocalypse will be released in May 2016