"I always kind of thought of myself as more as a Spider-Man guy," James Marsden says when asked which other mutant he wish he could have played in the X-Men franchise. The answer is surprising since the actor embodied Cyclops aka Scott Summers in the first three movies of the film adaptation of the comic books and introduced him to a new legion of fans.
However, the X-Men franchise has always been about the sum of its parts — a collection of solid actors portraying a mix of mutants that never could survive on their own. Outside of Hugh Jackman, no actor has truly catapulted to superstardom. Instead, the actors served the purpose of delivering a long-running franchise about outsiders trying to prove they belong.
While Marsden admits his idea of portraying Spider-Man comes down to his physique being designed more for Peter Parker than Summers, it's a reminder that his character was unceremoniously killed off in The Last Stand. The franchise’s third film — directed by Brett Ratner —was regarded as a low point for the series.
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While the actor does have a small cameo in the latest film, it doesn't make up for the fact that he was left on the sidelines for the subsequent spin-offs and reboots. Even though Jackman has positioned himself as the main draw, and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have added to the man candy surplus, Marsden's version of Cyclops will not be forgotten.
"My allegiance is with Scott," Marsden says. "I'm proud to have been Scott Summers."
Now that X-Men: Days of Future Past has basically rewritten to timeline of the previous movies, maybe there's a chance for him to return considering director Bryan Singer has already announced plans for X-Men: Apocalypse.
"You're bummed you're not a part of it but who knows, who knows what's going to happen down the line," Marsden says with some optimism (and with a knowing hint of his brief moment in Days of Future Past).
Catch a brief glimpse of James Marsden in X-Men: Days of Future Past in theaters on May 23. He can also be seen in a slinky yellow dress in Walk of Shame currently available on Video on Demand.