Have you seen X-Men: Apocalypse yet? Because we have! And SPOILER ALERT: it was brilliant!
Most mutants are outcasts, who are attempting to make sense of the world they live in. Some are eccentric, some are strange. They come in all shapes and sizes with different identities and powers. And it’s this variety which we find so relatable.
In many ways, the same could be said for YouTubers. Except instead of powers they have mad talent, which they’ve used to build their online empires. But what if YouTubers were resident in Professor Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters?
To celebrate the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, and in true TenEighty tradition (Game of Thrones, Hunger Games – this is the third time we’re doing this, so it is now a tradition!), it’s time to cast our favourite YouTubers as X-Men. And this time we’ve asked our favs to help us with the casting call.
Professor Charles Xavier – Charlie McDonnell
“I think Professor X would have to be Charlie McDonnell,” says Sammy Paul. “He’s kind-hearted, he’s big on science and, most importantly, he’s the OG.”
In X-Men: First Class, we meet Charles Xavier as he graduates university with his thesis on Human Genetic Mutations. Xavier literally wrote the paper on mutants. And if anyone wrote the paper on YouTube, it’s Charlie.
The first UK YouTuber to break one million subscribers, Charlie led the way and inspired a generation of online creators. Many of our biggest and best loved YouTubers still cite Charlie as an influence.
Just like Xavier, Charlie always sees the best in people and very rarely gives up hope. With a moral compass that always points north, Charlie is the wise watchman over the community who steps in when he’s needed. The YouTube landscape would look a lot different without him.
Magneto – Steven Bridges
“I’d really like to take my spoon-bending trick to the next level, and I think being able to control all metal objects with my mind might help,” says Steven Bridges.
Constantly toeing the line between good and evil, Magneto often finds himself with polarising desires: exact vengeance, or do the right thing? This, however, is not the Steven Bridges we know (he’s always struck us as someone who probably isn’t going to kill at any moment), but there are some similarities.
Magneto is a practical man and a true strategist, and the same can be said of Steven, who needs these characteristics to pull off his ridiculously cool magic tricks. Okay, okay, it’s all a bit of a stretch, and yes, Steven’s probably picked Magneto so he can cop out on some of his magic tricks. Whatever! Just do us a favour Steven and keep the hell away from our cutlery, ok?
Quicksilver – Jack Howard
“I’d like to be Quicksilver; I’m a big fan of Peter Parker and he is, essentially, their version of that,” says Jack Howard. “He’s this kid who has a bit of a mouth on him, is a bit cheeky, a bit funny. I also absolutely adore the sequences that they’re doing with him at the moment.”
A casual show-off who is sometimes flippant, other times brash, Quicksilver portrays himself as too cool to care, even though deep down he really does. But it’s all these qualities that make him endearing and comical to watch. And we know Jack truly does care, deep down.
It has been said that a lot of the reasons why Quicksilver is so nonchalant about the world around him is because, to him, everyone is moving incredibly slow – or even, annoyingly slow. Likewise, Jack is in a league of his own and moving too fast for any of us to keep up. We’ll let him off for any snarky comments from here on out.
Nightcrawler – Dean Dobbs
“I’d be Nightcrawler, because he has an emo fringe. It’s all very 2005,” says Dean Dobbs. “Also, he was just nice. He was the one out of all of them that looks like the most chill, like you could just hang out with him. I’d like to think I’m a bit like that.”
Portrayed in X-Men: Apocalypse as quiet, shy, and a bit unsure of himself, Nightcrawler is yet to become the happy-go-lucky practical joker X-Men fans know and love. But Dean has already made that journey himself.
While he used to be more reserved, Dean is now the smirking wisecracker of every Jack and Dean video. Perhaps the evolution in both is secretly down to the length of their fringes?
Iceman – Sam Saffold-Geri
“I’d never have to worry about being too cold because I’m literally made of ice. Also, it’d be really fun riding essentially on a rollercoaster I can control,” says Sam Saffold-Geri.
Bobby Drake is the first level-headed and friendly person Rogue ever meets in the original X-Men film. And there’s no one more down-to-earth in the UK YouTube community than Sam.
Very much like the ice he manipulates, he’s a transparent guy; devastatingly honest when it comes to his thoughts and emotions. Likewise, Sam has created some of the most honest and insightful videos we’ve seen recently. He’s not afraid to speak his mind about topics that are tricky or quirky.
But above all else, this is another example of Sam being as cool as possible at all times.
Banshee – Pete Bucknall
“I used to scream in metal bands when I was younger and definitely made my mum and neighbours partially deaf over the course of my teenage years… Seems rather fitting,” says Pete Bucknall.
Pete may have been about metal music in his youth, but now he’s trained that bellowing voice to be one of beauty. Whether it’s singing Disney songs or impersonating cartoon characters, Pete certainly has an ability to throw his voice.
However, we’re yet to see Pete use his vocal range as sonar or to help him fly through the sky like an eagle. Please don’t try this though Pete, it’s not worth it. Besides, Banshee was written off after X-Men: First Class, so we won’t be sending you off to war any time soon Pete.
Jubilee – Elle Meadows
“I think Jubilee is underrated,” says Elle Meadows. “In the animation series, she’s a strong young girl figuring out her powers and discovering things for the first time. And I identify with that. Also, she gets into trouble more than she probably should. And who wouldn’t want to launch fireworks out of their hands?”
While some found Jubilee a little irritating in the animated series, we absolutely loved her and will vehemently defend her. She’s very much the little sister of all the X-Men: making mistakes and getting in trouble, but pushing ahead, doing the right thing and making sure she’s got her friends’ backs.
Similarly, Elle gives everything a shot with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. She’s enthusiastic, full of wit (and puns), and relatable to the younger audience. Yeah – we’re going to say it – she’s very much the little sister of the UK YouTube community.
(We were so excited to see Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse and then bitterly disappointed at how little she is in it. Sort it out Bryan Singer!)
Pyro – Sammy Paul
“I’d be Pyro, cause I’m hot,” says Sammy.
Rogue – Melanie Murphy
“I relate to how she’d wear body-concealing clothing that eliminated the possibility of accidental skin contact,” says Melanie Murphy. “I used to use makeup and clothing to hide myself and didn’t embrace myself as I didn’t want to be noticed!
“She really comes into her own, and I did too, when I learned how to control those feelings and to make the most of myself.”
From acne to eating problems, anxiety to self-esteem issues, Melanie has been through it all. But what made her pull through? Much like Rogue, Melanie began taking control once she started putting herself out there.
Rogue was always afraid of her powers and considered them a flaw, but over time she realised that the things she perceived as imperfections are what make her unique. Melanie has been on a similar journey, who is now more confidence and self-assured than she’s ever been before. And part of that has come from sharing her insecurities online and passing on advice to her audience.
Sabretooth – Tom Ridgewell
“I’d like to be Wolverine, but I think I’d more likely be his lacking-in-self-control brother Sabretooth. Specifically when he was played by Liev Schreiber because we have similarities in the face,” says Tom Ridgewell. “Sabretooth loves the chaos and can’t control his temper.”
Let’s just put it this way: you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Tom’s animalistic rage. (And damn, he does look like Liev Schreiber!)
Beast – Bertie Gilbert
“He’s brainy but also a bit fucked up,” says Bertie Gilbert. “He is hairier than me…”
As a man of arts, books, and science, Beast is very much a renaissance man. Always up for an intellectual conversation and often seen quoting philosophy (particularly in the original animated series), Beast is probably one of the most thoughtful and creative X-Men. All of this could be said about Bertie too.
But Beast does have a dark side. His appearance (when he turns blue) has made him feel more of an outcast than he actually is, and therefore he feels a constant struggle for acceptance internally and externally.
This sense of alienation is present in a lot of Bertie’s short films. In many ways, it’s that atmosphere that often makes his films so powerful. He also totally has Nicholas Hoult’s side smile down to a pat. You know, the one that makes us all swoon.
Cyclops – Tim H
“I identify with Cyclops because he brings people together and tries to aim the collective talents of his fellow X-Men into one goal,” says Tim Hautekiet. “As a filmmaker, that’s what I like to think I do: I find people who are great and try to make cool things happen.”
In our opinion, Cyclops is a massively underrated member of the X-Men, and the films are still yet to do him justice. He is loyal, disciplined and always has a strategy. He is a true leader. When it comes to the filmmakers of UK YouTube, Tim has always led the pack, perfecting his technique and striving for a professional standard in all his work.
Scott Summers is an ordered and structured person. He is who he is because he cares so much about the people around him and what he’s trying to achieve. And that also sounds like the Tim H we know. Plus, we reckon he could totally rock some visors!
Storm – Hannah Witton
“I just remember her being my favourite character when I was younger and so I feel a connection to her,” says Hannah Witton. “Also she’s an absolute badass. And she can fly.”
Storm’s personality is strongly tied to her connection with nature. She is warm, yet commanding in her approach of people, and knows that the elements can both be nurturing and destructive. It’s really about finding the right balance between the two.
It could be argued that Hannah has a strong bond with nature too; through her understanding of sex, relationships, and people’s bodies. She uses her knowledge to educate and open up discussions on topics which others often feel uncomfortable with.
For Storm, the fight for peace is about bringing the harmony of nature she appreciate so deeply into everyone’s lives. For Hannah, the fight is about harmony too: harmony with yourself, your body, and your sexuality.
Jean Grey – Dodie Clark
“Dodie as Jean because she’s got all this power, a.k.a. talent, inside of her, and I don’t think we’ve seen her full potential yet,” says Hannah. “And sometimes I feel like she reads my mind…”
Jean Grey has a tremendous capacity for empathy. She is kind, compassionate and highly emotional, even when she’s keeping it all under control. But this is why she is so important to the X-Men. She is their emotional rock. These are all characteristics of Dodie Clark too. A caring and passionate individual, who is acutely aware of her own and others’ emotions.
Nonetheless, we all know what happens to Jean when she’s out of control of her powers. She becomes the Phoenix, an unstoppable force. And while we don’t want to see Dodie spiral, we do want to see what happens when she unlocks the sheer power that resides within her.
Wolverine – Emma Blackery
Wolverine and Emma Blackery are dark souls with huge hearts. There have been moments when both are flippant or brash, but it’s only because they are passionate and truly care about the cause they are fighting for.
Wolverine’s ability to heal quickly means he’s never afraid of a fight. And sometimes you just need somebody to say it like it is and stick up for themselves and others. Emma is known for speaking her mind and at times it may be blunt (or as sharp as Wolverine’s adamantium claws), but it always comes from a good place.
However the most striking thing about Wolverine is that he is not without humanity. He is self-aware and tries his hardest to find balance within his internal struggles. Emma too is on a mission to better herself, and over time has learned when to hold back and when to fight.
Mystique – PJ Liguori
The many faces of KickThePj make him the perfect candidate for the mysterious Mystique. His creative flair for bizarre worlds and eccentric characters is akin to Raven’s ability to adopt new personas at the flick of a switch.
OK, yes, it is a bit of a stretch. Afterall, PJ Liguori is not a con artist with a complete lack of faith in humanity. However, there are elements of Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique that do work here.
(SPOILER ALERT) In the latest film, Mystique is considered by other mutants as a hero. The first positive media representation many of them have seen. She becomes a symbol of hope. And PJ is our symbol of hope.
Through a vivid imagination and sheer determination, PJ is proof that online creators have integrity. Whether it’s New Form Digital funding the Oscar’s Hotel pilot, the commissioning of a full series by Vimeo (OMG and that appearance on Good Day LA), and now the announcement of his first film, he has helped legitimise the world of YouTube.
Okay, fine, it was a stretch. Would you prefer a makeup artist instead?
Mutant and proud. YouTuber and proud.
Do you agree with our castings? And what about all the characters we’ve missed? Share your thoughts with us @TenEightyUK on Twitter or TenEightyUK on Facebook. Alternatively, why not check out some similar articles:
- If YouTubers Were Game of Thrones Characters…
- If YouTubers Were Hunger Games Characters…
- 14 Things That Happened #BeforeYouTube
- Six Reasons We Think Marcus Butler Will Win Celebrity MasterChef
- Nine Things We Learned From Rise of the Superstar Vloggers
Words by Teoh Lander-Boyce and Tilly Pearce.