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Rose Byrne Returns For X-Men: Apocalypse

Last week, Bryan Singer announced that 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse will reintroduce Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm to the mutant superteam franchise. Now, EW can exclusively reveal that Apocalypse will feature the return trip for another franchise player: Rose Byrne’s Moira MacTaggert, the CIA agent and Professor X love interest introduced in 2011’s First Class.

“She’s a significant character in the movie,” says Apocalypse writer Simon Kinberg, returning to the franchise after Days of Future Past. “We ended First Class with Charles having wiped portions of her memory of her experience with the X-Men. They are, essentially, strangers to her when she meets them.” Apocalypse is set in the early ’80s, roughly 20 years after First Class, and Kinberg is mum about how she ties into the film. But expect to see further developments in her interaction with Professor Xavier. “It’s certainly a rich relationship that we started to dig into in First Class, and would like to mine more in this one,” teases Kinberg.

When he spoke to EW on Friday afternoon, Kinberg was preparing to hop a plane back from Montreal, where pre-production has begin in earnest for Apocalypse. Although details of the film remain tightly sealed, Kinberg does allow that it’s intended as an endpoint for certain First Class-era character arcs. “This movie is the completion of the first arcs of Charles, Eric, Raven, and Hank, who are essentially our main characters,” he explains. “They’re such young actors and young characters, so there’s a lot more story to tell. But as a first phase of their lives, there is this feeling of closure by the end of the movie.”

And also a feeling of nostalgia: Kinberg sounds rhapsodic talking about the 1980s setting of Apocalypse. “That’s the era that I grew up in,” he says. “The music, the fashion, the videogames: We really want to integrate all of that in the movie, and have it infuse the movie with a different vibe.” Does this mean they’ll finally find some room for disco clubkid Dazzler? “Could happen,” laughs Kinberg. “We’re certainly looking at mutants that would fit into the period.”

Kinberg is keeping busy with mutant superteams: He also wrote the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. The film’s mysterious first teaser arrived early this week, breaking records as the most-watched trailer in 20th Century Fox’s history, beating out the previous record-holder: Days of Future Past. Kinberg is quick to stress how FF is different from the typical superhero movie.

“Part of what’s cool about the Fantastic Four comics is that there’s an emphasis on the science of science fiction,” says Kinberg. “And we treat what would normally be considered a superpower as a trauma. They don’t just go up a roof, jump off, and start swinging through the city. It’s the opposite. What would happen if your body transformed, and you didn’t have control over it?”

Rumors persist that the Fantastic Four franchise will ultimately intersect with X-Men—both franchises come from 20th Century Fox. But that wasn’t the concept of this first film. “The reboot of FanFour really needed to work in and of itself,” he says. “We were doing something pretty radical with the tone of the movie.” Still, the opportunity for a crossover is there. “If we wanted to find a way to connect them to the X-Men, we could,” says the writer. “There’s a lot of precedent from the comics.”

And although the trailer only hinted at the presence of iconic baddie Doctor Doom, Kinberg makes it clear that he’s as central to the film as the titular heroes. “He has aspirations and struggles that are a little bit more classically tragic than the other characters,” he explains. “As much as it’s an origin story of our heroes, it also tracks how someone can become a villain.”

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