Deadline has reported that Edi Gathegi (Twilight, Gone Baby Gone) has landed the role of Darwin in X-men: First Class. You may recognize Gathegi as the evil Laurent in the Twilight Saga, or Dr. Jeffrey Cole on tv’s House, but do you recognize the character?
Armando Muñoz, aka Darwin, was created by Ed Brubaker and Pete Woods and introduced in the 2006 run of X-men: Deadly Genesis. As his name suggests, his power is to evolve. His body automatically reacts to his surroundings, allowing him to survive nearly anything. In the comics, the limit of his power has not been fully explored, but it is clear he is not easy to kill. The Deadly Genesis storyline explored an earlier time in x-men history, after the original x-men, but before the Giant size X-men team. It seems Xavier sent a second team to save his original x-men from the living island, Krakoa. The young team was hastily trained and included Gabriel, the third summers brother, as well as our friend Darwin. The entire team was thought dead, but Darwin’s powers protected him and Gabriel until they were found years later. In theory, Darwin’s involvement in X-men: First Class makes sense. In theory. I doubt Singer and Vaughn’s script has anything to do with living island, though. I have never expected Matthew Vaughn’s X-men: First class to adhere to the original five X-men of the comics. Bryan Singer set the tone of the movie-verse and with his involvement in writing and producing, I don’t expect it to change all that much. But Darwin throws even me more a loop. It feels a bit like X-men: The Last Stand, and X-men Origins: Wolverine. Mutants are just being thrown in for the sake of name recognition, and pandering to the fanboys.
But my biggest qualms with this character choice isn’t name recognition, or even straying from comic continuity. It’s simply his powers. Darwin, if written poorly, could be a walking, talking Deus Ex Machina. He has the power to get out of any situation unharmed, and solve any problem by evolving. On screen this could feel like a cheap explanation, lazy writing, or just plain boring. It’s like writing Xavier. There needs to be a reason he can’t solve the situation, even though he’s powerful enough to do so.
What do you think about this casting announcement? Do you think Darwin is a good addition to the X-men line-up? Do you think this is all a trick to keep us off the trail of another character? Tell me what you think.