WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse rivals Captain America: Civil War for the number of superheroes and supervillains that it features – although it can’t hold a candle to the latter film’s quality - but one iconic member of the X-Men roster almost didn’t make it into the film at all.
A major part of X-Men: Apocalypse‘s first act revolves around the titular villain recruiting his Four Horsemen: Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (Ben Hardy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) – but in earlier drafts of the script, Psylocke was nowhere to be found. Instead, after kidnapping Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), Apocalypse would try to convince him to abandon the X-Men, effectively making him the fourth disciple.
Speaking with Cinema Blend, producer Simon Kinberg talked about the decision to scrap this idea:
“I don’t know why we made this decision, but we knew that Professor X was abducted in the middle of the movie, and we thought that almost counted as a fourth Horseman. And so that’s the way we constructed the original draft of the script. There wasn’t going to be a fourth one. The ‘surprise’ was that Xavier was the fourth Horseman. And then when we were working on the script, Bryan [Singer] and I at one particular point – pretty late in the process – said, ‘He’s not really a Horseman – he’s not doing anything in the third act of the movie.”
The decision to take Xavier out of the equation and bring in another character sounds like it was definitely the better option here. Kinberg continues:
“We started talking about who that would be, and just literally looked at the list of different Horsemen over the history of the comics, and Psylocke was the one we thought was the most intriguing. And, ironically, or as fate would have it, I had just met with Olivia Munn about Deadpool – like a week or two before. And Bryan and I were up in Montreal, and I said, ‘You know, Olivia Munn could be an interesting Psylocke,’ so we went on the internet and Googled her images. And one of the first things that popped up was a piece of fan art of Olivia as Psylocke.”
Munn reportedly signed on just a few weeks before filming began. This late addition might explain why Psylocke is given so little to do in the film – if memory serves me correctly, I don’t think she has more than five lines of dialogue. But I’ll give credit where it’s due, she does have a couple of pretty solid action sequences.
X-Men: Apocalypse opens on May 27.
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