Introducing the X-Men: First Class

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Details from Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class casting line-up are coming out just in time for the new school year. With shooting set to start this week, expect to hear more and more reveals about who and what will compose the latest cinematic edition to the X-Men franchise.

The X-Men prequel is said to focus mostly on the origins of the mutants, specifically the beginnings of Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr, also known as Professor X and Magneto, respectively. The official plot synopsis is as follows:

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.  Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

For those of you unfamiliar with the X-Men comics or films, the stories contain a large list of mutants and humans, and with the popularity and hype surrounding this latest project, Vaughn is sure assemble a noteworthy cast.

Leading the mutant militia are none other than James McAvoy as Professor X, the telepathic leader and founder of the X-Men, alongside Michael Fassbender as Magneto, the magnetism-manipulating founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants

Mystique, the shape-shifting supervillain previously portrayed by Rebecca Romijn in the first three X-Men films, will be played by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence. 20-year-old English actor Nicholas Hoult is set to play another familiar mutant face from the previous films, Beast/Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy, the intellectual furry blue creature with superhuman strength previously played by Kelsey Grammer in X3:The Last Stand Since the movie calls for a look into formative years of the famed mutants, several child actors have been cast as some of the characters as kids. The younger Mystique, also known as Raven Darkholme, is set to be played by child actress Morgan Lily, while Bill Milner (Is Anybody There?) will be young Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto.

She’s Out of My League eye candy Alice Eve had originally been tied to the role of the White Queen a.k.a. Emma Frost, a telepathic mutant with the ability to transform into a diamond state for enhanced strength and durability. However, recent reports have confirmed Mad Men star January Jones has replaced Eve after she dropped out from supposed displeasure with script changes.

Another recent addition to the cast list is Zoe Kravitz, daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz with actress Lisa Bonet. The 21-year-old actress and singer will take on the role of Angel Salvatore, a mutant with acidic spit and insect-like wings that produce a deafening ultrasonic sound.
The role of villain Sebastian Shaw, a mutant possessing the power to metabolize kinetic energy into other forms of energy, has been given to SAG award-nominated actor Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man).

Other mutants you should expect to see making an appearance are Havok, Cyclops’  plasma-blasting younger brother played by Lucas Till (Hannah Montana:The Movie); Darwin, who has reactive evolution abilities, portrayed by Twilight‘s Edi Gathegi; sonic screamer Banshee depicted by newcomer Caleb Landry Jones; and Nightcrawler’s father Azazel, played Jason Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

As for the humans, Oliver Platt has signed on as “The Man in Black,” while Rose Byrne (Marie Antoinette) is in negotiations for the role of Moira Mactaggert, leading authority in genetic and at one point leading lady of Charles Xavier’s heart. There is no word yet denying or confirming whether or not Cyclops or Storm will be making cameos in the film, but rumor has it that the former may possibly be played by Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson as he has denied his involvement yet divulged quite a few details of the production process.

Director Matthew Vaughn is assembling a pretty strong cast of new faces as well as seasoned thespians.  If Vaughn’s surprisingly twisted and refreshingly vulgar superhero film Kick-Ass from earlier this year is any evidence, then Marvel Comics has nothing to worry about as X-Men: First Class is shaping up to be quite the must-see next year. X-Men: First Class is set for wide release on June 3, 2011.

Photos courtesy of and nicogenin from Wikimedia Commons; also from watchwithkristin, david_shankbone and Runs With Scissors viz Flickr.

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