This past week was a firestorm of major comic book movie news, with both Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. announcing big revelations about their shared cinematic universes, which means the other companies in this great game need to do something themselves in order to catch up and stay ahead of the competition.
On the heels of Disney’s Civil War and WB’s confirmed slate, Fox is making sure people don’t forget about their (once again) lucrative X-Men franchise. Days of Future Past earned its spot as one of the biggest films of the year, and for its followup, Apocalypse, director Bryan Singer has his aim set for something greater than the sprawling epic of a time travel narrative he covered in May.
That may not just refer to the overarching plot of the sequel, but the talent Singer recruits to join to ranks of Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender this time around. He’s already begun the casting process for his next film, and he could be looking at even more A-listers for this impressive ensemble. In their write-up on the new frontrunners to play Marvel’s Doctor Strange, The Wrap revealed that Tom Hardy is being considered for the title role in Apocalypse.
Hardy, of course, is no stranger to these kinds of big budget productions. The actor made a name for himself in his collaborations with Christopher Nolan during the early years of this decade, playing the smooth-talking Eames in Inception before taking on the part of the brutish villain Bane for The Dark Knight Rises. Given that the character of Apocalypse represents one of the greatest threats the X-Men team faced and the movie will supposedly be full of “very big” action sequences, Singer’s probably looking at the latter rather than the former to inform his decision.
While the prospect of Hardy portraying another comic book movie evildoer is a scintillating one for fans, it should be noted that the actor is very much in demand at this juncture. A few days ago, Hardy was one of the big names being tossed around for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad adaptation. Since both Apocalypse and that DC Comics film are set to hit theaters in the summer of 2016, he’ll probably have to choose between one or the other.
Hardy was also one of the first names to come up when Marvel Studios began their lengthy Doctor Strange casting process a few months back, but given these latest developments, it appears he is out of the running for that superhero role.
At this point, it’s unknown how many of Apocalypse’s abilities (which include shape-shifting and regenerative healing) Singer will translate from page to screen, but if the post-credits scene in Days of Future Past is any indication, the character will have his telekinesis at the very least, meaning that everything else is fair game right now. Apocalypse does most of his damage by absorbing and projecting energy at his opponents, so if Hardy should be cast, it probably won’t be a direct replica of his Bane performance from a few years back.
Still, that doesn’t make Hardy any less suitable for the role. While Bane was extremely physical, his brains (one of Apocalypse’s greatest assets, as well) made him a formidable opponent and the actor’s built physique allowed him to command a room by merely standing in it (recall the line: “Do you feel in charge?“). If Hardy bulks up once again, he’s shown in the past he has more than enough chops to do Apocalypse justice.
If Hardy passes on Suicide Squad, the question will now become whether or not he has the time to fit Apocalypse into his schedule. Production on the project will begin in April 2015, and Hardy’s planner could be all clear by then.
He’s currently filming Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, but that revenge drama should be all wrapped up by the time Singer starts to roll his cameras. A while back, he was reportedly on board for Kathryn Bigelow’s The True American, but there hasn’t been any movement on that project for several months.
The only other potential roadblock for Hardy wrecking havoc on the X-Men is his involvement with the Splinter Cell video game film adaptation. He has been locked into that movie for a couple of years now, and while it does have a director in Doug Liman, it remains without a release date. If there isn’t any progress on that front soon, it will open the door for Hardy to join Singer’s film – since Apocalypse is clearly further along right now.
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X-Men: Apocalypse will be in theaters May 27, 2016.
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