EastEnders star Ben Hardy announced for X-Men: Apocalypse

EastEnders star Ben Hardy announced for X-Men: Apocalypse

Bryan Singer’s X-Men sequel gets a new addition to the cast, while Fox’s own cinematic superhero universe continues to expand with Deadpool and Gambit

After a week of shocking revelations and argy-bargy on Albert Square as part of EastEnders’ 30th anniversary celebrations, Ben Hardy (aka Peter Beale), a key player in the ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale?’ storyline, should be well prepared for future film work. After his announcement that he will be leaving the long running soap, Hardy has landed a prime job in Hollywood.

At the moment his exact role in superhero sequel X-Men: Apocalypse is being kept under wraps, but it's been described as ‘significant.’ Internet rumours have flagged up Angel, Colossus and even Captain Britain as possible characters he might play.

Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier/Professor X), Nicholas Hoult (Beast) and Peter Evans (Quicksilver) all return for Bryan Singer’s 80s-set sequel/prequel (it gets a bit confusing with the latest X-films jumping backwards and forwards through time), while rumours suggest that Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Ian McKellen (Magneto) will also be back. Oscar Isaac plays the titular bad guy, who in the universe of the comics is believed to be the first ever mutant, having developed his powers over the last 5000 years.

Other casting news includes Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) as a young Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Storm and Tye Sheridan as Cyclops. Singer himself has been stoking the fires of anticipation on Twitter, not only tweeting a production shot but also the news that Kodi Smit-McPhee will play Nightcrawler.

Excited to welcome @kodismitmcphee to the cast of #XmenApocalypse as young #Nightcrawler. @alexvaughanphoto

A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on

Sony may have recently given up their exclusivity deal on Spider-Man, but 20th Century Fox are hanging onto their rights to the X-Men, rapidly expanding their interconnected cinematic world. Deadpool will be the first non-Wolverine spin off, hitting cinemas in February 2016, with Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as the ‘merc with a mouth’ alongside TJ Miller, Gina Carano and a recently announced Morena Baccarin (Domino?).

And 2016 is going to be the year of X with Channing Tatum’s Gambit (taking over from Taylor Kitsch who played the same character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine) arriving in October following the main event, X-Men: Apocalypse, in May.

There are so many diverse and interesting characters within the ranks of the X-Men that there’s almost too much material to choose from. In fact the big screen might not be quite big enough to contain them all; a live action X-Men TV show is currently in the early stages of development.

Fox also own the rights to Fantastic Four, with Josh Trank’s reboot hitting cinemas this August. Whether they make any moves to link these two franchises remains to be seen, but it would be a logical move. Could the untitled Fox Marvel movie slated for summer 2018 be an X-Men vs Fantastic Four team up?

Fox’s superhero release schedule in full:

August 7, 2015: Fantastic Four
February 12, 2016: Deadpool
May 27, 2016: X-Men: Apocalypse
October 7, 2016: Gambit
March 3, 2017: Wolverine sequel
June 2, 2017: Fantastic Four 2
July 13, 2018: Untitled Fox Marvel movie

X-Men: Apocalypse

  • 3 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 2h 24min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Bryan Singer
  • Written by: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, Simon Kinberg, Bryan Singer
  • UK release: 19 May 2016

Waking from a ten-year slumber, Apocalypse (Isaac) enlists Erik/Magneto (Fassbender) in his evil plans. Plenty of superficial excitement but a distinct lack of narrative ambition; with an extraordinary ensemble wasted in a franchise that's run dry of ideas.