With the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, more characters – and more universes – are added. All eyes may be on what complications the MCU will experience in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, but some fans have been patiently waiting for heroes outside of the Avengers to emerge as well. Characters associated with the X-Men and Fantastic Four will eventually be part of the main universe for the MCU, and there are many expectations attached to some of the fan favorites.
Jean Gray, originally known as Marvel Girl before she became Phoenix in the comics, is a founding member of the X-Men. Her “Dark Phoenix” storyline has already played out on the page, in animation and in two different live-action film trilogies. After the merger of Disney and FOX, the character can now be used in Marvel Studios projects, which has many fans wondering when it will hit the big screen and who will bring it to life. These actresses would all be great to play a Jean Gray who had already grown up with her fellow X-Men.
While Famke Janssen has expressed interest in re-playing Jean Gray, there has been no sign that the MCU will be using the same cast members FOX hired for their X-Men films. Holland Roden, who has appeared on television and in films throughout, is best known for her role as Lydia Martin in Teen Wolf and could be a great successor to Jansse and Sophie Turner in the role.
Roden’s experience as Lydia is actually a great crash course to play a character like Jean Gray. Although Lydia was neither telepathic nor telekinetic, acting out reacting to her visions as a banshee or using her banshee scream offensive is not that much different from showing Jean’s skills in front of the camera. Lydia is a slightly more nervous character than Jean, but the ease with which Roden transitions from Lydia’s own fearful behavior to comfort is a great demonstration of how she can channel Jean’s emotions as well.
Like Roden, Conor Leslie has a number of projects under his belt, but she is best known for one thing. Your project, however, is a different comics-inspired project. Leslie is currently one of the title titans on the HBO Max series. She plays Donna Troy, a former sidekick of Wonder Woman and one of the founding members of the original team.
Donna has detective skills that could rival Batman’s, mentors the younger members of the team, and doesn’t punch in explaining to Dick Grayson why his decisions are not in his best interests. She’s a little more caustic than Jean Gray with her comments, but her dry sense of humor and kindness in the face of Raven’s unstable powers are clues as to how she might play Jean.
She could be the only actress to play both a Disney princess and a power ranger – as well as one of Charlie’s angels. Naomi Scott gave the role of Kimberly Hart in the 2017 reboot film the Power Rangers some edge and made audiences see Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine as much more than the title character’s love interest. Although Scott already played established characters in very well-known projects, Scott managed to make them their own and add many emotional layers to them that audiences did not expect.
Scott may not look exactly like the cartoon character people remember, but that shouldn’t be an obstacle to her being cast as a potential X-Men. She certainly has the emotional depth to play a jean who has trouble understanding how powerful she really is.
Camilla Belle has a very varied curriculum vitae, having started modeling and acting as a toddler. She made children’s films like Disney Channel’s Rip Girls. Belle has appeared in thrillers like When A Stranger Calls. She has also appeared in action films such as Push. With a little bit of everything in terms of tone and genre, she has certainly covered all of her basics when it comes to making a potential superhero movie.
Her resume has been a little quieter over the past few years as she focuses on writing and producing, but knowing the ins and outs of the behind the camera could also be beneficial for someone joining a large franchise. Some claim that the near future isn’t the time to introduce the X-Men characters as well, which means Belle and other actors still have plenty of time here to learn more about how to approach the franchise.
Kennedy McMann has the least acting experience here. She’s only been in the industry for a few years, but it was in those few years as a teenage detective that she became the star of CW’s Nancy Drew series. CW’s series is more supernatural and serial than procedural, and features many dramatic performances from its cast.
McMann makes even the most supernatural events appear perfectly grounded in reality and connects with the audience even if they should focus on the ghosts or ghouls in the background. Their ability to emotionally captivate audiences, even when it comes to solving the puzzle before the writers reveal the truth, is not an easy task and something necessary to make superheroes relatable. McMann would have no problem making Jean Gray vulnerable and grounded, even if she got powerful enough to destroy the whole world.
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About the author
(88 published articles)
Amanda is a Florida freelance writer. She has a degree in psychology and loves superheroes and serial storytelling. Her favorite heroines include Black Widow, Blake Belladonna and Sailor Jupiter.
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