With “X-Men: Apocalypse” out of the way, it’s time for 20th Century Fox to up the mutant ante with “New Mutants.” The studio has already signed director Josh Boone, who helmed the teen drama “The Fault In Our Stars” to lead the New Mutant charge; and with a couple drafts done prior with names like James McAvoy (as Professor Xavier) and Alexandra Shipp (as Storm) rumored to be attached, it’s pretty clear that the studio and fans both are chomping at the bit to see a new faction in the mutant universe.
RELATED: New Mutants Movie Lineup Revealed
Originally created by revered writer Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod in 1982, the New Mutants were conceived to add more depth to Marvel’s mutants outside of the ever-popular X-Men as an ethnically-diverse bunch of angsty teens focused on world/universe-hopping to battle aliens and magical threats. With that rich and compelling history in mind, CBR takes a look at who we’d love Boone and co. to cast as the new Children of the Atom.
10. Dani Moonstar: Q’orianka Kilcher
Danielle “Dani” Moonstar, who ran by the codenames Psyche and later Mirage, is a Cheyenne badass who originally possessed the telepathic ability to create illusions and projections of what was manifesting in her opponents’ minds. She later developed a wide range of psionic and energy manipulation powers. She also developed magical abilities after becoming a Valkyrie of Asgard, further enhancing her prowess as a tactician and mental strategist.
26 year-old German-born Q’orianka Kilcher showed her acting chops matched her exotic looks as Pocahontas in 2005’s “The New World,” “Princess Kaiulani” four years later, and on television in “Sons of Anarchy” and “Longmire.” Kilcher displayed a lot of maturity as a 15 year-old Pocahontas opposite Colin Farrell and has shown in her television performances that she’s a caged beast waiting to be unleashed. As she’s broken away from more reserved roles over the last few years, we think putting her in a lead position could skyrocket her directly into the limelight.
9. Wolfsbane: Rose Leslie
A Scottish mutant, Wolfsbane has the ability to transform into a wolf, or into a transitional state somewhere between human and wolf. As she established herself more in the Marvel universe, Wolfsbane honed her feral powers to shift between human and wolf, making her a firecracker who often caused commotion with X-Factor; that’s something that would absolutely have to be present in the performance of anyone who is cast for the role.
While the girl known as Arya Stark was once rumored to play her, Rose Leslie has the red hair, is from Scotland and messed up Jon Snow! Seriously though, just look at “Downton Abbey” and the recent sci-fi flick “Morgan” for more of her range. Wolfsbane’s upbringing is pretty dark with a checkered history involving religion and abuse which led to her being shy and repressed. Seen as one of the team’s most complex members, she’s also a major asset and soldier in the field for Dani, which eventually landed her a murderous X-Force gig. For all of these reasons, Leslie is just the wildling that the professor ordered.
8. Sunspot: Miguel Silvestre
When it comes to the man known as Roberto “Bobby” da Costa, well… let’s just say that this Brazilian mutant is a lover and a fighter. Sunspot possesses the ability to absorb and channel solar power, which matches his personality — impulsive and positively bristling with flair. He’s always been one of the major driving forces of the team and even ended up becoming an Avenger in the books due to his grit and will to help others.
Before getting into acting, Silvestre entertained a lifelong professional tennis dream, which an unfortunate injury unceremoniously ended. Still powered by the heart and drive of an athlete, it’s his performance in Netflix’s recent original series “Sense8,” as well as in Pedro Almodóvar’s comedy “I’m So Excited,” that shows just why this drama and theater student is our pick for the key role of Sunspot. Suave, fit and with a penchant for showing off, Miguel Silvestre has the physical aspect down, not to mention the acting skill, to breathe true life into the character.
7. Cannonball: Lucas Black
Sam Guthrie is Sunspot’s mouthy BFF, who uses the ability to fly at jet speeds while encased in an impenetrable force field. He’s one of few X-Men that bring so much of his southern, rural perspective to the fore, maintaining a sense of civility and humility that we’ve often seen in one other character: Rogue. With a rich family heritage in the X-Men universe, his good-willed nature also landed him an Avengers gig, but when he cuts loose… well, let’s just say that he was all X-Force material.
In many ways, Cannonball is very similar to Lucas Black’s character Sean Boswell in “The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” 10 years ago. Black’s accent and sense of humor all match up to Cannonball’s, and he’s covered quite a bit of cinematic ground from sci-fi flick “Legion” to sports-drama “42.” He also has that innocent, endearing charm that quickly sheds its skin, shifting to kickass mode. That makes him a hot bet to play Sam in our books.
6. Magik: Imogen Poots
Magik (AKA, Illyana Rasputin) is Colossus’ sister, folks. Say no more, right? Okay, maybe we’ll say a little more. Fans of the comics know the trouble Magik has caused, navigating the supernatural catacombs of the 616 and even possessing a portion of the Phoenix Force at one point. She’s an emotionally-complex character with a strong legacy and striking personality. Along with her role as team teleporter, Magik is also the sorceress tasked with wielding a certain soulsword. That little narrative wrinkle could unleash a whole new dimension for Fox, which we’ve only seen hinted at with Azazel (“X-Men: First Class”) and Nightcrawler.
If they go the Enchantress route, Fox should be eyeing Imogen Poots. “Green Room” and “Filth” are pretty good recommendations to start with from her body of work. She’s also taken on many more dynamic roles, proving she has the poise and look to play a classic character who has been the star of many a popular X-Men arc. Poots would be great as Magik, a character who could be a great link to Singer’s franchise as well. Seeing her deal with, say, the villainous Belasco in Illyana’s pseudo-demonic Darkchilde form could make for a fantastic visual experience.
5. Warlock: Sharlto Copley
Warlock is a member of the alien Technarchy — a race of mechanical organisms that survive by infecting living creatures with the “techno-organic” transmode virus, before draining the life energy of the infected. Cable much? Unlike others of his race, Warlock has a distinctive degree of compassion and is eventually deemed a mutant in spirit — only to be confirmed as a mutant of his race years later.
After befriending his teammate Cypher, he is often seen as the New Mutants’ most unflinching moral compass. In varying degrees innocent, naive and impressionable, Warlock just wants what’s best for all; an altruistic verve that could be portrayed perfectly by “Chappie” star, Sharlto Copley. Copley’s idiosyncrasies, also on display in things like “District 9” and “Powers,” should silence doubters who would otherwise challenge his résumé for this job. Funny when he needs to be, but a warrior when called upon, Warlock would be in great hands with Copley, whose diverse Hollywood career, big-name draw and infectious personality on-screen make him the perfect guy for the job.
4. Cypher: Noah Gray-Cabey
Thank you “Heroes: Reborn” for showing us that Micah grew up. How poetic would it be if Cabey got another crack at being a technopath? Doug Ramsey wasn’t a beloved character, but when he died, he got that Jason Todd love and eventually made it back during the “Necrosha” storyline. He was also part of Excalibur and merged with Warlock once to become a character who, while you may not put him on the front lines, you’d still love having around for various nifty (and somewhat random) purposes.
Cypher translates languages, spoken or written, human or alien. He’s great for deciphering codes and computer languages, something Noah Gray-Cabey has loads of experience portraying. Even without the character similarities between Cypher and Micah Sanders, Noah has the warmth that became so integral with the character, which he could command in a way that would offset Cypher’s generally derided weaknesses. This may be an underdog pick, but its one that is entirely geek-worthy, and would bring a lot of pathos to the movie’s cast.
3. Selene: Olga Kurylenko
Move over, Kate Beckinsale. If Fox decides to go unhinged and take it all to the supernatural realm, then Selene is the perfect foil for the New Mutants. “Necrosha” alone is reason why this mutant psychic-vampire sorceress should be involved. Her origins run as old as Apocalypse and she has a ton of lore behind her, so if we’re looking for that seductive temptress to drive stakes in the hearts of our heroes, Kurylenko’s got the action chops for it.
Just ask her “Oblivion” and “Quantum of Solace” co-stars. She’s also been in the under-the-radar satire “Vampire Academy” which has to be some sort of sign too, right? She has that mysterious European flair and scare tactics that would surely intimidate as Selene, who has often found herself at odds with mutants. Having someone so experienced combat a bunch of young misfits could make for fun cinema and one-up what “Suicide Squad” attempted to accomplish (but many viewers feel failed to successfully achieve).
2. Belasco: Robert Knepper
In terms of an evil sorcerer, Robert Knepper has the right look. He’s been a geek villain before (in “Heroes”) and is often fan-cast for many evil roles. Why not let him try to pull Magik’s strings here? Belasco is an ancient, mystical evil who has often plagued the X-Men. He’s also a very strong warrior, wielding an axe like few others. Having him lure the New Mutants to Limbo could be everything we wanted from a “Dante’s Inferno” film, which we’re confident would do gangbusters on the big screen.
Knepper has that sly nature about him and that slithery way of delivering his threats, which we believe would paint Belasco’s canvas in a deliciously nefarious light that would be absolutely perfect for the character. Just watch him in “Prison Break” (hey Fox, he’s worked for you before) and “R.I.P.D.” Some actors are simply meant to be antagonists, and Knepper is definitely one of them. Belasco’s in safe hands with this guy. Hot, sure, but definitely safe.
1. Exodus: David Oweyolo
Born in the 12th century, Bennet du Paris has had an illustrious and historic awakening as a mutant; one which would eventually tie him to Magneto, the Acolytes and the Marauders. He has a complicated past but when he manages to pop up, his telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation, as well as his superhuman durability and healing, all make for a tough battle. His astronomically high power levels may also be a result of tampering from Apocalypse, which could be yet another link to the “X-Men” cinematic universe.
Now, you need an immaculate actor to play Exodus, and David Oyewolo fits the bill with suitable aplomb. “Selma,” “A Most Violent Year” and HBO’s “Nightingale” are just a few reasons why he’s sure to win an Oscar in the next few years, so Fox would do well to snap him up as hot property to avoid being undercut by Marvel Studios. He’d make an amazing villain, given how diverse and arresting his performances have been thus far, and would be able to bring a great amount of gravitas to the stoic Exodus. This could be the role of a life time and a fantastic cap on what we think will be a great addition to the X-Men movie franchise.
Agree with our picks? Got other ones? Let us know in the comments!
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