Imagine if Hollywood had released tent-pole comic-book movies starring their iconic characters around the time of the source material’s release date. For the purposes of this experiment, we will say that a movie would be released 5 years after the introduction of the character, and only movies that have been made would be made.
This one is a slight cheat, as the year should be 1983, but producers found someone they really wanted for one of the roles, but the individual had Olympic commitments. As luck would have it, this delay was an incredible blessing as The Brat Pack era of films post Fats Times was in the early stages, and this soft re-boot, focusing on school life for the mutants was a great way to get movie-goers to buy-in. It was superheroes meets teenage hi-jinx and angst.
Cyclops- Tom Cruise
Arrogant, cocky, and unlikable. Cruise could do all these things.
Jean Grey- Molly Ringwald
Already a Hughes-star, the redhead was perfect for Jean Grey.
Beast- Mitch Gaylord
Starting in 1981, producers searched long and hard for a Hank McCoy, they wanted someone who could be acrobatic. Gold medal winning Olympian Gaylord was perfect!
Ice Man- Ricky Schroeder
Already a Golden Globe winner, Schroeder was a TV star at the time and played the part of the prankster Ice Man.
Angel- Judd Nelson
The part of ultra-wealthy mutant was taken on by prep school alum Judd Nelson, who brought a new dimension to the character.
Mystique- Diane Lane
Producers wanted another female student, and also wanted to bring some of that school tension. Lane has flirted with stardom, and embraced the role of bad girl.
Professor X- Ed Harris
Producers saw in him the right stuff for the role. Bah dum tish.
Emma Frost- Rebecca DeMornay
She had already co-starred with Cruise in Risky Business as an older woman with sex appeal.
Magneto- Christopher Lambert
Lambert had starred in Greystoke and caught the producers’ eyes for his intensity.
In the first post-credit scene…
A young, new student shows up at the school ready to begin her studies.
Kitty Pryde- Alyssa Milano
When First Class released, Milano was on TV on Who’s The Boss and the silver screen in Commando.
In the second post-credits scene, Yul Brynner appeared, setting up all sorts of time travel wonkery.