The first X-Men officially had its 20th birthday this year, having released on July 14, 2000. The film is part of the revolution for comic book movies in that era, launching Marvel stories on the big screen at a point in time where Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man films were also ramping up the effort. At the time, Superman and Batman were really the only major comic book names in film. Now, the X-Men franchise has all but come to an end, save for The New Mutants rounding out the franchise later this year, and the characters are expected to see a reboot and recast as they join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reflecting on the original release of X-Men 20 years later, though, Jean Grey actress Famke Janssen would love to reprise the role.
"I think the question is more if they would have any interest in bringing me back,” Janssen told Observer. “With Days of Future Past, there was a surprise way of reintroducing certain characters that had been killed off. In some people’s cases, it was to bring them back as well as the younger versions of their characters. I’d be curious to see what happens [with Marvel Films]. But, yes, I would be very open to it.”
Janssen portrayed Jean Grey in five X-Men movies, spanning from 2000 through 2014. Sophie Turner later took on the role for films set in the past as a younger version of the character.
“It was a very interesting experience because even though we were making a very big film, at the time it didn’t feel like we were,” Janssen said. “It did on certain days when we were filming these massive, massive sets and the amount of time that went into it. But the script development and how many changes were still occurring during filming and how we were sometimes flying by the seat of our pants, it just felt different.”
Different is exactly what it would be, launching a franchise in itself and allowing others to spawn later. “Nobody had made those movies before, certainly not on the level that we were doing it,” Janssen recalled. “The comic book adaptation hadn’t been done in this kind of grittier fashion.”
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