The sliding timelines of comics make for certain difficulties when translated into live action.  Fifteen years along, the X-Men franchise is now dealing with a 35-year-old Rogue, a Cyclops who was demonstrably a child in 1979 and a Beast in his 60s.  Not only that, the characters who represent the comic book founding X-Men are all different ages, joining the team at different times and fundamentally altering the history of the team in the movie incarnation.  With the upcoming ‘X-Men: Age Of Apocalypse” poised to make things even more convoluted, I keep wondering if we’re not better just recasting everyone (especially Halle Berry).  Still, while it can be confusing to me, I understand that such concerns are very low on filmmaker’s list of worries, and I admit that not everyone is going to be bothered by an Iceman who is too young, or a Havok who is several decades older than expected, which leads us to today’s asynchronous query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is a bit concerned that Professor Xavier was apparently around ten in 1944, meaning that he would have to be nearly 80 years old in the modern-day, asking: Would you rather see characters recast as the actors age, or deal with the timeline and/or aging issues via suspension of disbelief?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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4 Comments

  1. Alisha
    January 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm — Reply

    It depends on the setting and various other factors. It is really a case by case basis sort of deal.

    Supposedly immortal characters might be better off recast once the actor ages past a certain point. Some actors feel the same way, as James Marsters had said he would only return to the role of Spike within so many years after the end of Buffy/Angel as he thought he would show visible signs of aging and that fans would have a harder time suspending belief. While it does make me sad that this likely means he won’t be returning to the role if there were ever a Buffy spinoff or TV movie, I can understand why he thinks this way. He still has some time before it would be too much of a stretch, but eventually it would just be too hard to suspend belief that he’s an immortal that doesn’t age.

    Similarly, while I hated that “Highlander: Endgame” killed off Connor MacLeod, I can understand that it was probably a good idea to close the door for Connor as Christopher Lambert was much older than he was when he first starred as the character. Should they ever create a new entry in the existing Highlander setting, I seriously hope that rather than recast the actors, they take the same path of “Highlander: The Series” and “Highlander: The Search for Vengeance” (thats the anime movie, not to be confused with the animated series) and just focus on a completely new character rather than an existing one.

    In some cases, though, the aging of actors isn’t that big of a factor, and others where it could actually be reasonably explained within the confines of the setting (like some previous Doctor Who stories that explained why a previous Doctor looked older than they had before).

    So really, it all depends.

  2. Malone_hasco
    January 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm — Reply

    I can deal with actors aging up to a point, but eventually there has to be recast. I would prefer prominent characters strongly tied to certain actors (like Robert Downey jr as Iron Man) to be left alone for several years until replaced. If its done poorly or out of the blue that will hurt my suspension of disbelief a lot more than any problem aging might bring.

  3. Oldcomicfan
    January 6, 2015 at 7:37 am — Reply

    I think recasting the characters with actors the appropriate age would be the best idea. Patrick Stewart is actually about ten years too young to play Professor X, so he doesn’t need to be replaced, but I’d have a hard time believing in a thirty-five year old Kitty Pride, a forty year old Rogue or a fifty year old Storm. Game of Thrones is facing a similar problem – the actresses playing the Stark girls are now in their older teens, trying to portray a ten year old and a thirteen year old. I haven’t seen the fourth season yet, but in the third season, it was becoming hard to believe in their characters any more. The actress playing Sansa is now taller than most of the adult actors, and young lady playing Arya, the ten year old, is now even more buxom than the older girl, and they’ve reached the limit of how much they can hide with costumes and camera angles. I’d hate to see them recast the roles because they are marvelous actresses, but their maturity is stretching credibility. I have a similar problem with the True Grit movies. I like the modern version better, mostly because they had a fourteen year old girl playing the role of Mattie Ross, while in the 1969 version they tried to pass off a 22 year old Kim Darby off as a fourteen year old and it didn’t work so well.

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