Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence’s time in the world of comic book movies may soon be coming to a close. Call it luck or foresight, but Matthew Vaughn really nailed it when casting up the franchise semi-reboot X-Men: First Class. The principal actors—Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and James McAvoy—are among the most talented and in-demand performers in the world right now, and their involvement with these X-Men movies has added a boost of pedigree to the franchise.
When actors sign on to big franchises, they are normally under contract for the first movie plus options for two more films in the series (unless you’re signing a Marvel contract, in which case it could be seven or eight options). That was the case with X-Men, and though actors may subsequently renegotiate their deals at the end of the 3-film contract, staying involved in the franchise for longer, it appears that at least one First Class actor is calling it a day.
“It is my last one, actually.”
When pressed if she meant Apocalypse will be her last X-Men movie, the actress added “Yes.” While her absence will surely be felt, it’s not terribly surprising that she’s opting not to continue on with the series. She’s a massive star and already has her own wildly successful franchise under her belt, and the ensemble nature of X-Men essentially makes her more of a supporting character. Given the time commitment necessary to appear in these films, she may feel like a better option is to open up her availability. Indeed, with The Hunger Games coming to a close this year and her X-Men contract up, Lawrence will soon be able to have more flexibility in choosing projects, not having to scratch out 4-8 months of her year for these franchises.
It’s always possible that Lawrence changes her mind, but if Apocalypse is her last X-Men movie, here’s hoping she goes out on a high note. Producer Simon Kinberg previously told us that Apocalypse will go deeper on the relationship between Mystique and Beast, so she’ll likely play a major role in the film’s proceedings.
As for the future of the X-Men franchise, even if Lawrence departs it will likely be in fine hands. It’s possible that Fassbender and McAvoy also opt not to renew their contracts, but it feels like Kinberg and director Bryan Singer have already been preparing for the possibility of a major cast changeover between Apocalypse and whatever the next X-Men film will be. Younger iterations of Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm are poised to have significant roles in Apocalypse, so the film could serve as a semi-goodbye to the First Class cast while passing on the baton to these other newcomers.
Whatever the case may be, we’ll find out how it all comes together when X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters on May 27, 2016.