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Twilight actor Edi Gathegi enrols in X-Men: First Class

Source: Coventry Telegraph

ONE of the main gripes from fans about the casting so far for X-Men: First Class has been the absence of racial diversity.

In answer to that comes news that Edi Gathegi has joined the project as a mutant called Darwin, according to Deadline.

Unfortunately, another worry about the film was the revelation that Fox wants to include actors from Twilight. Producer Bryan Singer confirmed he had approached Taylor Lautner for an unnamed role.

Gathegi played vampire Laurent in the first two Twilight films, so it’s clear Fox wants to cash in on the box office pulling power of the vampire romance franchise.

He’s less well-known than Lautner, so it doesn’t seem such obvious ‘flavour of the month’ casting. And he does indeed add more diversity, especially as there’s no announcement on who is playing Storm at this point.

More interesting though is the half-black, half-Hispanic character that Gathegi is playing. Darwin – real name Armando Munoz – has the handy power of ‘reactive evolution’, meaning he can immediately and automatically adapt to any situation or environment in order to survive. In the dark, he gains night-vision in seconds, if plunged underwater he develops gills, in outer space his body no longer needs oxygen, and in an inferno his skin becomes flameproof.

The interesting part is that Darwin was revealed in the X-Men: Deadly Genesis comics series as a member of a secret team whose existence was concealed by Xavier. All members of the team were thought to have been killed (though it later transpired Darwin and Vulcan survived) on a mission to rescue the X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Havok and Polaris) from Krakoa, an island mutated by atomic bomb tests into a single living organism.

When Darwin and his colleagues failed, Xavier recruited another team (this time including Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Thunderbird, Banshee, Sunfire and Wolverine) for the same rescue mission and they succeeded, with most joining the X-Men.

Controversially, Xavier erased knowledge of the first team from the X-Men’s minds, to clear his name and supposedly spare them the grief.

Could a similar scenario – perhaps an early team who died on their first mission and whose existence was erased from memory by Xavier – be part of X-Men: First Class?

Xavier has already been seen to be tampering with Jean Grey’s mind to limit her powers, an action that – in the films – led to the creation of a rage-driven split personality called the Phoenix. It presents the idea of a man who wants peace and co-existence with humanity but will use questionable methods of mind control to obtain it.

X-Men: First Class is directed by Matthew Vaughn and released on June 3, 2011, with filming starting in London next month.

Also cast in the film so far are James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Alice Eve as Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee and Lucas Till as Havok. Kevin Bacon is playing the as-yet-undetermined villain.

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