I’m really enjoying the comic book craze in Hollywood at the moment. I have my fears that they are overdoing it and we will start to get burnt out and inundated with average films, but at the moment, each film and studio is bringing their best into these movies.
I’m also enjoying how they are continuing to explore the deeper lore and characters of all of the comics and one comic book series which has a wealth of heroes to draw upon is the X-Men comics. Every X-Men movie to date has made an effort to introduce new and exciting heroes from the comics and X-Men: Apocalypse is no different. One of the several new faces we will be seeing in this movie is that of the very popular Psylocke, who will be played by Olivia Munn.
Now, some of you may already object to this as Psylocke did make a brief appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand, played by Meiling Melancon, but it was a very brief appearance and the film never really explored the character – so I am still counting it as a new character for the next film.
Psylocke has been a very complicated character in the Marvel cannon, initially appearing opposite her twin brother Captain Britain, but is perhaps most notable for her appearances in the X-Men comics, where she was taken in by the mutant training academy, but while it was still being run by Magneto. She has been portrayed on both sides of the mutant battle in the comics as both a good and bad character, but looks set to be on the bad side (at least initially) in X-Men Apocalypse. For those who are not too familiar with the character, Psylocke is a telepath who also possessed some telekinetic abilities and pretty nifty combat skills, which is handy when you can read your opponents minds and move to where they are most vulnerable to attack.
Director Bryan Singer and co-writer Simon Kinberg have already given some insight into their plans for the character and it seems they are going to use the character as one of the titular villain’s Four Horsemen, a tool of evil that aids Oscar Isaac’s character on his quest for world domination.
Collider got the opportunity to visit the movie set in Montreal and speak to Olivia herself about the role, her controversial costumes and potential spin-offs for the character. The role was one of the last included into the script for the movie and when Kinberg spoke to Munn about the role, they provided some fan art to give an idea of how she is portrayed by fans of the character:
It was awesome. Whenever fans do things like that, I just think it’s the coolest thing. I mean, it probably takes them no time at all but I’m not artistic in that way, so I’m always amazed by it.
In terms of actual costume, it appears Psylocke will be pretty accurately portrayed, with a costume similar to those appearing in the comics. And that’s because Munn actually wanted it that way as she loved the initial look of the costume:
I think my first thought [when I saw the costume] was it has to be purple, because we were going up against time and making it. It was black at first because that’s the way to—the latex is in black and all the armor is in black and it’s just easier, but I was like, ‘You’ve got to make it purple.’ That was kind of my first thought when I saw myself in the costume, which was in Photoshop
The backdrop of her character will not be explored in the movie (which is understandable, though a little disappointing), but that does not mean Munn didn’t take the effort out to explore the character a little more. Which I think is great and hopefully the passion and knowledge she has for the character really gets brought out onto the screen.
Well, I’ve loved Psylocke… To me, I know that Psylocke is dressed very sexually. Out of all the costumes, it’s really revealing, but it’s important to know that she always had substantive plotlines… Just because she’s dressed like that, she’s not this promiscuous, slutty girl that’s—in fact, Apocalypse is the one who dressed her and gave her that outfit
It certainly is a controversial costume, but her sex appeal has always been used as a plot point in the comics and I’m hoping they will draw upon that in the movie, rather than simply have her wear the costume for pure eye-candy. Munn’s passion for the role has even caused her to explore some of the deeper psychology of the character, outside of just the provocative costume:
The way that I see Psylocke is as a very powerful weapon that has been used and abused by different people so that they could use her powers, and she’s somebody who’s just looking for righteous purpose. Right now, that’s why she’s one of the bad guys.. She’s definitely someone who’s very strong, who’s been through a lot. She has really powerful abilities and is just looking for a purpose. The thing about Psylocke is that, I can see the way that she’s dressed but it has nothing to do with how strong she is and how powerful she is. That is something that I love about Psylocke. When most superheroes don’t enjoy killing or don’t want to kill but they will kill if they have to, Psylocke can create anything with her mind. She can kill from afar, like Magneto or Storm, but she chooses to create a sword, which is a very intimate way to kill someone. She experiences it.
The character truly is a powerful one and so they asked which of her abilities we will possibly get to see onscreen:
Psylocke is telepathic and telekinetic. In the movie, we see her being a telekinetic. We don’t see her being telepathic. It’s a decision [we made] because this is the first time we’ve really been able to see the character of Psylocke and have her really, truly exist in the movie. I talked about it with Simon Kinberg. There’s just so much going on, especially with Apocalypse’s power, and then trying to take on all of the X-Men. When you are telepathic, I feel that it’s a power that you want to hold close to your chest. It’s a card that you don’t want a lot of people to know about because it’s so much more powerful when people don’t know that you have this power.
I like the idea of seeing her telekinetic powers in the movies, as that always makes for great onscreen action. But that is not to say that the characters telepathic abilities will not be explored in the film.
Some of my fight scenes that I have, I’m able to go after them quickly because I’m already assessing what they’re going to do but they don’t know that I have that ability. We create the sword and some other things, but the telepathy is incorporated in our decisions and everything that we’re doing. My character might ask a question but she already knows the answer, but we’ve already thought about that. It’s more of something I think for the fans to be able to know like, ‘Oh, that’s a cool moment because you can kind of see that you’re one step ahead with her.
And apparently we will get to see Psylocke wield both a physical sword and a psy-dagger within the film, which was apparently an idea brought on by co-star James McAvoy.
That was actually James McAvoy’s idea. He was like, ‘If you can use both hands, then you can go, you can switch, you can …” Because the thing about sword work is that you’re always keeping somebody off guard. They don’t really know it’s happening. You’re really throwing people off. He was like, ‘Well, you can really throw them off if you’re going from your real sword to your psychic sword and then just switching hands and it’s just …’ I was like, ‘That sounds awesome
Munn understandably didn’t reveal any of the story about the character, which describes as Apocalypse’s bodyguard in the film, but she still has plenty of ideas for where the character could go in future spin-offs if they were to ever go for it:
I think if Psylocke had a chance to tell her story, it would be great to start with the genesis and have an understanding … I think maybe like right as she’s getting out of university and before her whole family—we jump in right before all of her family is taken out and we have an understanding of what she had to lose. Then her figuring out her powers and how powerful she is. I think that would be a great thing to, because it’s something that I always loved about her. That she came from a good family and lost everything. Yeah, I would just like to tell that story
She also went further to reveal a new shot of her character on Twitter, which we’ve included below along with a series of videos in which you can hear her talk about the character in more detail, which Comic Book Movie has compiled together for your viewing.
I am certainly excited to see her character in the movie and not because of the costume, but because you can sense the passion she has for the character and with it being a complicated one on the comics, I really hope she gets to bring some of all the different aspects of her character to the movie. The studios are certainly exploring further expansion of the X-Men Universe with films like Deadpool and Gambit in production, so there is a likelihood they could choose to explore Psylocke on the future, though it will probably be quite a while away if they do.
X-Men Apocalypse is out on May 27th and is increasingly looking like it will be one of the best X-Men movies yet. Would you be willing to see more of Psylocke in the X-Men franchise?
Last Updated: February 8, 2016