<i>First Class</i> Rumors: Pennington In As Madrox, Walker Out As Beast?

Countless movie and gossip sites got it wrong with Spider-Man -- Logan Lerman, Jamie Bell and Josh Hutcherson were all sure things at one point or another -- but that does nothing to slow the superhero-movie casting rumors.

The latest all involve Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, the franchise reboot that Fox is speeding into production.

The first comes from ComicBookMovie, which cites "a Marvel Studios source" as saying that the character Jamie Madrox (aka the Multiple Man) will appear in the film, which returns to the beginning of the X-Men saga. A mutant who can make instant duplicates of himself, Madrox debuted in February 1975's Giant Size Fantastic Four #4. He toiled as a minor supporting character until the early 1990s, when he rose to prominence in Peter David's X-Factor and, more recently, his Madrox miniseries and subsequent X-Factor relaunch. Madrox was played in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand by Eric Dane.

No sooner had that rumor appeared than another emerged that 90210 actor Kevin Pennington is being considered for the role. The 24-year-old is no stranger to casting rumors: He's been mentioned over the past several months in connection with Hank Pym, the Human Torch, Captain Marvel and Iron Fist -- and probably a few others.

Of course, the latest round of chatter may have been sparked by Pennington himself, who tweeted on June 24: "Just met with a studio about a cool comic book film. Best part is I can talk about it fairly soon." So perhaps it's understandable if someone connects the dots to First Class, and to the role of Jamie Madrox. But even Pennington seems a little exhausted by the unending speculation.

"Holy fuck," he wrote early this morning. "Please stop with all the fucking articles & rumors. Wait for some confirmation. It will come before you know. Patience friends." When one of his Twitter followers reacted to the tone of his post, Pennington responded, "Please don't take offense... I appreciate all the interest, but when something new is up almost weekly? It's too much crap."

The other new First Class rumor isn't about Banshee or even that Spider-reject Hutcherson could play Cyclops. No, it's that Benjamin Walker, whose reported casting as Hank McCoy (aka Beast) has yet to be confirmed, was contracted by Fox, then dropped, then possibly rehired -- all over concerns that the 26-year-old is too close in age to leads James McAvoy (31) and Michael Fassbender (33).

What we know for sure is that X-Men: First Class, which stars McAvoy, Fassbender and Alice Eve, is set to open on June 3, 2011.

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