Who says you need a publicity firm, a corporate-owned sister outlet or even a snotty online blogger to dispense some breaking casting news on your upcoming blockbuster comic book movie? If you're Bryan Singer, the director of said blockbuster, in this case, X-Men: Apocalypse, you go straight to Twitter and make the announcement yourself:
Meet our new and brilliant young mutants: @Alexshipppp as #Storm @SophieT as #JeanGrey and @TyeSheridan as #Cyclops. #XmenApocalypse
— Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) January 23, 2015
As previously reported, several young hot actors were vying for the coveted roles of the legendary X-Men; Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm. Singer posted that Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and Alexandra Shipp respectively had won those roles. All fine young talent but as with any geek genre film casting it will be scrutinized.
So far, online reaction to Game of Throne's Sophie Turner as Jean Grey has been mostly positive. Bolstered by the rabid fandom of the show, Turner looks to be received quite well by crossover fans of the X-Men.
Tye Sheridan's casting as Cyclops has received good reaction from people who have actually seen his work. The indie-star had a standout performance in Mud but the general public's reaction so far is "who?"
The most controversial casting so far has been that of Alexandra Shipp. The young actress may have the unfortunate residue left behind from the widely panned Aaliyah biopic on TV that left fans of the beloved singer furious. Also, the American actress follows another very American actress, Halle Berry, who first embodied the role in the X-Men films as the weather manipulating daughter of an African witch-priestess.
And therein lies the criticism. Storm (real name: Ororo Munroe) is half African, half American. The depictions thus far have leaned decidedly to the American side. Names like Tiffany Boone, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Yaya DaCosta and Gugu Mbatha-Raw were bandied about online as suitable replacements for Singer's choice. Fans point to the powerful nature of Storm's stature as a goddess and a warrior. Something that for many Shipp doesn't represent. And to be fair, neither did runner-up, Zendaya, who also auditioned.
Shooting begins on X-Men: Apocalypse in Montreal this April for a sceduled May 27, 2016, release.