For some reason I was under the impression Caliban was killed in X-Men: Apocalypse, though that wouldn’t really matter given this series’ bizarre continuity. If you recall (you probably don’t), he was the bald mutant protecting Olivia Munn’s Psylocke and he spoke only in third person – a trait I hope he retains for James Mangold’s Wolverine finale, where he’ll be played by Stephen Merchant, the lanky fella known for appearing in every Ricky Gervais property. Here’s what he’ll look like in the film:
Taken w/ Leica S 007 Summicron 100mm, ISO 1600 1/250 ƒ2 -- by JM pic.twitter.com/8P3s5Mdruo— Mangold (@mang0ld) October 17, 2016
Here’s an equally unsettling look posted by Merchant himself:
I’ve always thought of Merchant as an impressive actor (Movie 43’s mid-20th century yellowface notwithstanding), and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of dramatic weight the usually comedic performer brings to the role. Caliban, named after the monstrous ‘subhuman’ in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, has the ability to draw fear out of his enemies, but more importantly, he can also detect those with the X genome, i.e. mutants, which ought to come in handy since Logan involves the decline of the species. There’s no way that knowledge won’t be a heavy burden to bear.
In the comics, Caliban was also granted super-human strength and agility by Apocalypse, which didn’t happen in the recent movie but doesn’t stop Mangold from giving them to him anyway. I’m not sure that’s the case since this Caliban clearly takes after the lankier version from the comics than the hulking brute, and who better to play lanky than Merchant? We did get a sense of Caliban’s Morlocks in X-Men: Apocalypse, the mutants he protects in the sewers, so I wonder if that’ll be his setup this time around. Then again, a former protector could work just as well for a story such as this.
Logan slashes its way into cinemas March 3, 2017.