by Brett White
The casting of Peter Dinklage in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" came out of nowhere this week. The fan-favorite actor has proven he has serious chops as Tyrion Lannister on "Game of Thrones," and now he's joining the ranks of Bryan Singer's ever-expanding, sure-to-be-epic X-Men sequel.
There's nothing bad about this news, except for the identity of Dinklage's character: it appears that Dinklage is playing the bad guy in this time-spanning sequel.
This comes as a serious surprise, since this casting seems to confirm that the film's villain will in no way tie into the original comic story. Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were the heavies then, but Dinklage's casting and Mystique's essential role as a protagonist in "X-Men: First Class" means that this villain will be totally unexpected… unless Singer really wants to up Avalanche's profile.
Here are the X-Villains we could see The Dinklage tackling.
The internet immediately assumed that Dinklage would play Puck, the diminuitive, tough-as-nails, cigar-chomping, beer-guzzling ol' buddy of Wolverine. Dinklage could nail this role, effortlessly, and the X-Men films have a history of turning heroes into villains for plot convenience (Madrox, Psylocke, Angel Salvadore and Maverick come to mind). While this is a longshot, and Puck really bears no connection to the assumed plot of this film or the existing characters outside of Wolverine, I wouldn't advise Alpha Flight fanatics to give up hope yet.
It's already been teased that the giant, mutant-hunting robots that play a pivotal role in the classic "Days of Future Past" comic book story will pop up in the film adaptation. If that's the case, then those robots will need a charismatic creator, one who can put a frightening force of pure, human hatred behind the emotionless drones. As Bolivar Trask, creator of a genocidal army of robots, Dinklage would get to chew up scenery like never before. Just picture a heated, sweaty, 1970s televised debate between Dinklage and James McAvoy's Xavier about the future of the mutant race. It'd be perfect.
With Marvel's film franchise looking towards the cosmos, Fox could be angling to go the same way. If that's true, then there's no better villain to take them there (while simultaneously threatening two timelines) than the mad emperor of the Shi'ar Empire. Emperor D'Ken's lust for a reality-altering gem called the M'Kraan Crystal is his most defining character trait, and that crystal could easily be the macguffin used to travel through time.
There aren't many villains associated with the actual "Days of Future Past" comic book story, but there are villains associated with its fallout. Trevor Fitzroy is one of them. He has the mutant ability to travel through time using the absorbed life energy of his victims, a power that will surely come in handy in a film about time travel. In addition to the whole energy-sucking thing, Fitzroy outfits himself in a crystalline battle armor that augments his physical abilities and makes him a real headache for good guys to deal with; Fitzroy took out two whole teams of mutants in his first appearance. This would put Dinklage at a serious advantage against the two squads of X-Men.
Singer has expressed interest in creating an all CGI character for the X-Men films, and Proteus would be exactly the type of character that would need the all-out Gollum-style approach. Proteus is the mutant son of Moira MacTaggert, a character we all met in "X-Men: First Class." That ties this villain to the X-Men on a personal level. But then there's the fact that only a couple of mutants have given the X-Men a bigger run for their money. With his reality warping powers and ability to possess the minds of others, Proteus would pose a big enough threat to necessitate two whole teams of X-Men banding together to stop his carnage.
It's time for the X-Men films to stop teasing us and just give us the goods. Aside from Magneto and an attempt at Dark Phoenix, the X-Men films have habitually taken C-List villains and tried to make them threats. For X-Men fans, Lady Deathstrike, William Stryker and Sebastian Shaw are not A-List. It's time for the films to up the stakes and up the scale and give us Apocalypse.
An immortal mutant with his roots in ancient Egypt, Apocalypse has total control over his molecular structure and is more than a little obsessed with evolution. He's so evil he makes Proteus look like a straight-up goofball, and Dinklage has the intensity and the voice to bring this maniacal, alpha super villain to life. Dinklage would play this role in a way similar to Mark Ruffalo's turn as the Hulk in "Marvel's The Avengers," where animators would match every one of Dinklage's facial expressions and movements to the massive villain. Dinklage would destroy as Apocalypse, so much so that the audience may start to root for him over the X-Men.
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