This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
The release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix this summer signals the end of the X-Men franchise as we know it – with Disney now in charge of Fox and no more X-Men movies in active development, the mutants will finally be returning to Marvel at some point in the future. For now, though, with Dark Phoenix aiming to offer the 19-year-old franchise one last hurrah, we’ve taken a look back at the series and picked out 19 uncanny facts for your delectation…
1. The first X-Men movie script was written in 1984
With the X-Men franchise growing in popularity throughout the 1980s, Marvel Comics writers Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas penned the first ever X-Men screenplay for Orion Pictures. The film would have seen Professor X (pre-wheelchair), Kitty Pryde, Cyclops, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus fighting an organization named Proteus. Ultimately this script was thrown out when Orion ran into financial difficulties, but if you want to imagine what it would have looked like, well, its only superhero contemporary would have been the Christopher Reeve Superman series.
2. Kevin Feige filmed a cameo for X-Men.
Now best-known as President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige started out as an associate producer on X-Men and even filmed a cameo as a Weapon X technician – though he only agreed to it because he was completely unrecognizable. “I was a Weapon X tech guy pulling Wolverine’s claws out of the oven,” Feige told the Maltin On Movies podcast. “But I had a hood and mask… gloves. Every inch of me was covered.”
3. Hugh Jackman almost wasn’t Wolverine
Jackman is so closely associated with the character of Logan, it’s hard to imagine that it almost went to someone else. Nonetheless, actor Dougray Scott was initially cast as Wolverine for 2000’s X-Men but was forced to pull out when the filming of John Woo’s Mission: Impossible 2, in which he played the villain, overran. Jackman was cast as Wolverine three weeks into filming on the recommendation of Russell Crowe, who had also been previously approached for the role.
4. Joss Whedon wrote the worst line in X-Men – and the best
Already famed for his Hollywood script polishes, lifelong X-Men fan Joss Whedon did a rewrite on the first movie in the franchise. Almost all of his work was thrown out, but the film’s most widely-mocked line (Storm saying to Toad: “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else”) somehow stayed in. Whedon insists Berry’s delivery ruined the joke, and to his credit one of the movie’s funniest moments – Wolverine telling Cyclops “You’re a dick” to prove that he’s not Mystique – was also one of Whedon’s.
5. Both Justice League directors turned down X-Men: The Last Stand
People may complain that comic-book movies overrun the film industry today, but even 15 years ago there were enough of them in circulation that they were causing conflicts with one another. Joss Whedon was approached to direct 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, but turned it down because he was developing Wonder Woman for Warner Bros. Similarly, Zack Snyder declined to direct because he was already committed to the adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300. The pair’s careers would cross more closely in the future when Whedon completed the filming of 2017’s Justice League following Zack Snyder’s departure.
6. X-Men: The Last Stand had the first superhero post-credits scene
Those tantalizing post-credits scenes might be closely associated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe today, but the first modern example of a tag scene on a superhero movie actually happened in X-Men: The Last Stand. Here, a post-credits scene reveals that Professor X has survived his apparent death at the hands of Phoenix by transferring his mind into the vegetative body seen earlier in Moira’s lab. This was in 2006, and just two years later, the buzz created by Iron Man’s post-credits scene helped ensure that no cinema worker would ever get a theater cleared up early following a superhero movie ever again.
7. January Jones didn’t know X-Men: First Class was a period piece at first
X-Men: First Class saw January Jones take on the role of Emma Frost. Jones, then best known for playing the long-suffering Betty Draper on TV’s Mad Men, claimed to have taken the role because it seemed so different from her regular one – only to discover that, like Mad Men, First Class was set in the ’60s.
8. X-Men: First Class misspells Magneto’s real name
An onscreen credit gives Magneto’s surname as “Lensherr,” even though all previous official sources for the movie (and comic book) versions have spelt it “Lehnsherr.” Still, in the comics, Erik Lehnsherr is itself a cover identity that Magneto uses to obscure his real name of Max Eisenhardt, so maybe it doesn’t matter that much.
9. There has already been an X-Men and Spider-Man crossover – sort of
If you saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the theater, you may remember being confused by the appearance of an X-Men: Days Of Future Past scene right in the middle of the credits, even though the franchises have no relation to one another. This happened because Spidey director Marc Webb had a deal to direct a film for Fox Searchlight that was held up because of his commitment to Sony, who wanted its Spider-Man sequel. In return for Fox allowing Webb to direct that movie, Sony promoted the rival studio’s X-Men movie.
10. X-Men: Days Of Future Past had its own spin-off train
One of the weirder examples of a tie-in, the UK’s Virgin Trains rail franchise christened an 11-car Pendolino train “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” to promote the film. Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy attended the ceremony and today the train can still be found running on the West Coast Main Line out of London Euston. You can look this up on social media using the hashtag #xmentrain.
11. James McAvoy shaved his head to play Xavier – but he didn’t have to
So enthusiastic was McAvoy about getting the chance to play one of pop culture’s most iconic domes in First Class that he shaved his own head prior to filming – only to discover that this film was set during Xavier’s more hirsute years. Far from being required to shave his head, McAvoy ended up wearing extensions for the role.
12. Olivia Munn’s appearance as Psylocke was her second shot at the franchise
Before she appeared as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse, Olivia Munn had actually been considered for the role of Vanessa in franchise spinoff Deadpool. However, Munn withdrew from the process because she wanted to play a character who would get her own action scenes. Simon Kinberg, a producer on both Deadpool and Apocalypse, recommended her for Psylocke, and she ended up in the role as a result.
13. Hugh Jackman had two conditions for his X-Men: First Class cameo
How do you get the most popular X-Man of them all into your movie for a one-scene gag? You give the actor anything he wants, is how. In this case, Jackman reportedly reprised his role on the twin conditions that A) the studio donated money to his child’s school, and B) he was allowed to swear. If you’ve ever seen X-Men: First Class, you’ll know he got exactly that, to hilarious effect.
14. Lawrence, McAvoy, and Fassbender made a pact after X-Men: Apocalypse
The three main actors of X-Men’s First Class iteration agreed, following X-Men: Apocalypse, that they would only return to the series if all three of them returned. For a time, Lawrence even indicated that she was done with X-Men movies, but the appearance of all three actors in the forthcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix suggests that this pact stood and that they were all convinced to come back for what is presumably one last hurrah.
15. Lady Gaga was announced to play a long-standing member of the X-Men
In 2013, director Bryan Singer tweeted that Lady Gaga would be joining the cast of X-Men: Days Of Future Past as the disco-dancing popstar mutant, Dazzler. Unfortunately for fans (or possibly fortunately depending on your opinion of Dazzler) it was quickly noted that the date was April 1. Lady Gaga did not appear in the film, although given the critical acclaim she received for A Star is Born, the joke here is arguably on Fox.
16. The original Sabretooth actor was upgraded from stuntman
Tyler Mane, sometimes known as the wrestler Big Sky, was originally hired as a stunt performer for X-Men. Singer, however, was so impressed that he bumped him up to a main cast member. Mane did not reprise the role in any future movies, although he did provide Sabretooth’s voice in X-Men: The Official Game, which was released in 2006 between X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand.
17. Professor X drives a rental wheelchair
As with many movie props, the wheelchair built for Patrick Stewart’s Professor X in X-Men was auctioned off after production. When the time came for X-Men 2, the prop department realized that it would be cheaper to rent the wheelchair from its current owner than it would be to create a new one from scratch.
18. The Indian Government requested an edit to X-Men: Apocalypse
Prior to release, a trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse featured dialogue where the eponymous En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) claimed that “I have been called many things over many lifetimes – Ra, Krishna, Yahweh.” Indian statesman Rajan Zed called for this reference to be removed so as to not trivialise the Hindu religion, and the studio – perhaps wary of bad publicity in an emerging market – did so. Apocalypse instead claimed to have been known as “Elohim, Pushan, Ra.”
19. Hugh Jackman ad-libbed Wolverine’s catchphrase to ensure it got into the movie
Ever since his introduction, Wolverine has been known for calling people “bub.” In fact, he first uttered the line in 1975’s Uncanny X-Men #94, inwhat was only his fourth published appearance. However, the script for the first X-Men movie didn’t include the word at all. Jackman threw them in during filming and luckily for fans, one did make the cut. No Wolverine pun intended.