11 Actors Who Were Almost ‘X-Men’

X-Men: Apocalypse is finally out in theaters, and as we look back at the 16-year saga that has been the X-Men film franchise, it could have looked completely different then what it looks like now. Here are 11 actors who were almost X-Men.

Neil Patrick Harris as Nightcrawler
Alan Cumming, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Neil Patrick Harris, WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
Though he auditioned for the role as Nightcrawler, the agile mutant with the ability to teleport, How I Met Your Mother alum, Neil Patrick Harris didn't quite make the cut for X2: X-Men United. Ultimately, the part went to Alan Cumming because he could speak German fluently.
Mike Vogel as Angel
Ben Foster, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Mike Vogel, WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
Grounded For Life alum Mike Vogel was initially offered the role of the mutant Angel when Matthew Vaughn was still attached as director to X-Men: The Last Stand. Ultimately, Vogel stepped away from the role in order to star in Wolfgang Petersen's Poseidon. The role therefore went to Ben Foster who did a fantastic job as the white winged mutant.
Helen Hunt as Jean Grey
Famke Janssen, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Helen Hunt, WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
Famke Janssen is Jean Grey without question (though we're excited to see Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner take on the role as a younger version of the character.) However, Janssen was not Fox's first choice for the role. Initially, actress Helen Hunt was offered the part, but she turned it down in favor of other opportunities. It all worked out though, because Janseen brought the perfect dark angle to the Phoenix.
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Johnny Depp as Wolverine
Hugh Jackman, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Johnny Depp, WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
Enigmatic actor Johnny Depp has been known to turn down a number of major roles over the course of his career, and one of those roles was Wolverine in the X-Men franchise.  Still, Depp wasn't the only one to turn down the role, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Aaron Eckhart and Viggo Mortensen were also considered. Despite all of this, Hugh Jackman was probably the best choice. We can't seen anyone else being able to potray the animal-like mutant for nearly two decades. Also, with Depp in the role, we doubt we would know him as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Jada Pinkett-Smith & Angela Bassett as Storm
Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, WENN, Halle Berry, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
It may be hard to believe, but Halle Berry was neither the first nor the second choice to play the weather bending mutant Storm. Initially, the role was offered to Jada Pinkett Smith, who decided to hand the role over to Berry. Still, before either Berry or Smith were considered, Academy Award nominated actress Angela Bassett was considered for a starring role in a 1995 film that never came to fruition.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Cyclops
James Marsden, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Aaron Taylor-Johnson,WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/ WENN
Though he got his opportunity star in a Marvel film as Quicksilver in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson nearly starred as Cyclops in X-Men: First Class. At the time, Taylor-Johnson was 100% down for the role, but ultimately Scott Summers never appeared in the film. However, in X-Men: Apocalypse, 19-year old Tye Sheridan will step in to star as a young Cyclops; a role that has been played by James Marsden since X-Men debuted in 2000.
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Sigourney Weaver as Emma Frost
January Jones, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Sigourney Weaver, WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
Before direct Brian Singer bailed on X-Men: The Last Stand to direct 2006's Superman Returns, he wanted to bring mutant Emma Frost into the film franchise with actress Sigourney Weaver in the role. Ultimately, Brett Ratner came in to direct the film, and we didn't see Emma Frost until Mad Men alum January Jones brought her to life in 2011's X-Men: First Class.
Rachel Leigh Cook & Kate Winslet as Rouge
Rachel Leigh Cook, Kate Winslet, WENN, Anna Paquin, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, 051916
20th Century Fox/WENN
Anna Paquin's performance as Rogue was perfection right out of the gate. Therefore, it's hard to imagine anyone else portraying the energy sucking mutant. However, Fox was originally looking for someone slightly older to play Rouge, and British actress Kate Winslet was initially offered the role. Ultimately, she turned it down. Shortly thereafter, '90s teen queen Rachael Leigh Cook was approached, but she was concerned with the amount of CGI required so she took on Josie and the Pussycats instead. It all works for the best though, because Paquin nails it in the Marvel universe.
Channing Tatum as Gambit
Taylor Kitsch, X-Men, 20th Century Fox, Channing Tatum, WENN, 051916
20th Century Fox/ WENN
Before his role in the upcoming standalone Gambit film was announced, it was highly publicized that Channing Tatum was in the running for the role in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand before the role was written out of the film altogether. In 2009, actor Taylor Kitsch took on the role of Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine because Tatum was busy filming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Ultimately, as Tatum's star-power rose, he was able to successfully campaign for his dream role which is set to start production at the end of 2016.