The ‘X-Men’ movie franchise is a series of superhero films. They are based on the fictional superhero team of the same name from the Marvel Comics that were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The film rights to the characters from these comics were originally obtained in 1994 by 20th Century Fox. So far, eleven films have been released in this series. While some of these are based on the whole superhero team, others focus on one particular superhero but have appearances from some of the other characters in the team. This movie franchise has been hugely successful since the release of the first film in the series in 2000 and there are great plans for it to continue. Here are 20 interesting things that you probably didn’t know about the ‘X-Men’ movie franchise.
1. Four Writers Worked on the Original Draft of the First Movie
A draft screenplay for the first movie was already in place and a total of four writers were hired to create the screenplay that was actually used. One of these was Joss Whedon. However, most of his work on the script was not used as the producers did not like the pop culture, quick-witted tone that he used. They kept just a few lines of what had been written by Whedon, including Storm asking Toad if he knew what would happen when his kind gets struck by lightning and an exchange between Wolverine and Cyclops. The screenwriter who finished the scrip and is credited as the screenwriter of the film is David Hayter.
2. Hugh Jackman Took Inspiration from Mike Tyson’s Training Regime
When Hugh Jackman landed the role of Wolverine, he took the character development very seriously. He watched videos of Mike Tyson training as inspiration for the role. While watching the footage, he would shadow box. He also took cold showers to make him angry. Jackman dehydrated himself before filming to achieve the defined muscular look with his veins standing out from his body.
3. Tyler Mane Was Originally a Stuntman
Tyler ‘Nitro’ Mane was a former professional wrestler who was hired as a stuntman for ‘X-Men’. However, he attracted the attention of director Bryan Singer who decided to promote him to a cast member and gave him the role of Sabretooth. This was a role that Mane resumed for the film ‘X-Men: The Official Game’.
4. Patrick Stewart Didn’t Know What He Was Taking On
It is fair to say that when Patrick Stewart landed the role of Charles Xavier/ Professor X in the ‘X-Men’ series, he did not know what he was taking on. When he was asked in an interview about the ‘X-Men’ he did not know they were characters from a comic book series and his response related to the science-fiction series ‘The X Files’, which is completely unrelated. Stewart also had to learn some new skills for his role. There is a famous scene where he is playing a game of chess with Ian McKellen, who plays Erik Lehnsherr/ Magneto. Neither men knew how to play the game, so they were treated to a master class by an expert.
5. The Make-Up for Mystique Took Nine Hours to Apply
When Rebecca Romijn was playing the role of Mystique, she had to be painted blue. In the first film in the series, it took nine hours to apply this make-up each time. When the first film ended, she got drunk to celebrate not having the make-up process done anymore. Unfortunately, the alcohol reacted with the paint and she threw up blue vomit. By the second film in the series, the make-up artists had got the process down to six hours.
6. Some Scenes Were Improvized
While most of the scenes were well planned in advance, there are some scenes that are in the series of films that were improvised, and the directors decided to keep them in for various reasons. One such example of an improvised scene is the one with a young boy in the train station smiling at Cyclops. The young actor was simply delighted to see his favorite comic character and couldn’t stop smiling.
7. Bryan Singer Sat in a Field to Think
Bryan Singer took the creative aspect of his role as director very seriously. During the filming of ‘X2′, he once went and sat in a field so that he could think. He was debating how to resolve a scene where Jean Grey and Wolverine are talking about a relationship almost had but never happened. While Singer was sat thinking in the field, the cast and crew were left to twiddle their fingers the much-needed light was fading dramatically. When he finally returned from his lone creative thought process, he simply asked the crew if they thought the two characters should kiss. Every person raised their hands in agreement. One cheeky crew member even suggested the two characters should take things further.
8. Famke Jannsen Did Not Know Her Character Would Die
When Famke Janssen took on the role of Jean Grey/ Phoenix in ‘X2′, she was unaware of the fate of her character as the writers and director had kept this quiet. In fact, it was halfway through filming before she became aware that she would die. The only copy of the script that revealed her death scene was the studio president’s copy. Although she was not in the Oval Office scene at the end of the film, Jannsen did appear in her costume in the publicity shots taken there.
9. The Most Commercially Successful Film Was Deadpool
The most commercially successful of all the films was the 2016 film ‘Deadpool’. This movie grossed $783,112,979 at the worldwide box office. The least commercially successful of the film was the first movie in the franchise ‘X-Men’, which was released in 2000. At the worldwide box office, this film grossed $296,339,527. The total worldwide gross for all the movies in the ‘X-Men’ franchise to date is $5,518,233,034.
10. Deadpool Also Had the Smallest Production Budget
Despite having the highest ticket sales figure of all the films in the franchise, ‘Deadpool’ is also the one made with the lowest budget. The production budget to create this movie was just $58 million. Even the first movie in the series had a higher budget as this was made using $75 million. The film in the series with the highest production budget was the third movie in the franchise, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. This had a production budget of $210 million and grossed $459,359,555 at the worldwide box office.
11. Logan is the Best-Rated of the Movies on Rotten Tomatoes
The overall reviews of the movies in the ‘X-Men’ franchise have been mixed with some being poorly received by critics and others receiving excellent reviews. However, it is not just the opinions of the film critics that counts when deciding how good a film truly is as public opinion is also important. One way to check this is to read reviews and ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. According to this website, the film in the franchise that it the best is ‘Logan’ as this has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93%. Using the same measure, the worst film is ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, as this has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 37%.
12. Bryan Singer Has Directed Four of the Films
There has not been a single director responsible for all the films in the series. The director who has been used the most is Bryan Singer as he has directed four of the films in the franchise. The movies in the series directed by Singer are ‘X-Men’, ‘X2′, ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. He was also one of the producers on ‘X-Men: First Class’ which he did not direct.
13. Hugh Jackman Was Not the First Choice for Wolverine
One of Hugh Jackman’s best-known roles is playing Wolverine. However, he almost did not play this character as he was not the first choice. People who were originally considered for the role included Russel Crowe, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Keanu Reeves. Eventually, the role of Wolverine was given to Dougray Scott. Unfortunately, Scott had to drop out of the film because of a scheduling conflict with another film he was already involved with and the casting directors faced a dilemma. Russel Crowe suggested fellow Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who was little-known outside of Australia at that time. They decided he was perfect for the job. Jackman has been praised for his portrayal of the character, so it is a casting decision they will not regret.
14. They Rented a Wheelchair for the Second Film
One of the props used in the first film in the series was the wheelchair used by Professor X. This was not just any old wheelchair as it had been specifically designed and created for the film. When shooting for the film finished, the wheelchair was purchased by an entertainment lawyer. A second film then went into production and they realized they would need the wheelchair again. Fortunately, the entertainment lawyer agreed to rent them the wheelchair. Renting the prop was something that the producers were willing to do for the sake of continuity and it was probably less expensive than having a new one created for the movie.
15. ‘X-2′ Saved Halle Berry from a Flop
Janet Jackson was the actress originally cast in the role of Storm. However, she dropped out of the film as shooting was disrupting her concert tour. The role was then given to Halle Berry. She had originally intended to take on a role in a film called ‘Gigli’ but dropped out to take on the role of Storm. Berry was probably glad she did as ‘Gigli’ was both a critical and commercial flop. In fact, it is widely regarded as one of the worst films of all-time and could potentially have ruined her career.
16. Brett Ratner was the Third Director of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’
Bryan Singer was the original director of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. However, he had to drop out as he had made a prior commitment tot the film ‘Superman Returns’. He was replaced by Matthew Vaughn who cast Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut and Kelsey Grammer as Beast. Vaughn then also left the film and the role of the director was given to Brett Ratner, who managed to stay and complete the rest of the film.
17. Liev Schreiber Gained 40 Pounds for His Role
When Live Schreiber took on the role of Sabretooth, he initially wore a costume that bulked him up and made him appear more muscular. He was horrified at having to wear it and felt humiliated, so he found his own solution to the problem. He deliberately gained 40 pounds to play the role. What you see in the film is all Schreiber’s own physique without the need for a prosthetic body.
18. Quicksilver is One of the Only Characters to Appear in Both the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Avengers’ Franchises
The character Quicksilver can originally be spotted in a scene from ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ in 2009. This character then had a bigger role in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’. In this film, Quicksilver was played by Evan Peters. Quicksilver is also in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and is played in that film by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Quicksilver is one of the few characters that has appeared in both franchises. This is because of complex rights and legal issues that prevent characters from appearing in the two franchises at the same time.
19. There Are Two Films Set for Release in 2019
This movie franchise has been so successful that they already have the next two films in the series lined up and both are set for release in 2019. The first is ‘Dark Phoenix’, which will be written and directed by Sion Kinberg. The second is ‘The New Mutants’, which is directed by Josh Boone who is also co-writing the film with Knate Lee.
20. There Are Multiple Films in Development
There is a lot of hope riding on the trend for superhero movies continuing as those involved with the ‘X-Men’ movie franchise has made plans well into the future. There are already definite plans for a further seven films with plenty of other ideas being talked about. The seven films that are in development are ‘Gambit’, an untitled ‘X-Force’ film, ‘an untitled third ‘Deadpool’ film, an untitled sequel for ‘The New Mutants’, an untitled ‘X-23′ film, an untitled ‘Multiple Man’ film, and an untitled ‘Kitty Pryde’ film.