Director Bryan Singer revealed via Instagram that Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2, Magic Mike, Chuck, Robot Chicken) will be playing the role of Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Psylocke aka Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock was created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Herb Trimpe in 1976, she first appeared in Marvel UK series Captain Britain. Betsy initially a supporting character in adventures of her twin brother, Captain Britain, even briefly substituting for him in role, before becoming mutant superheroine and X-Men member Psylocke in 1986.
Originally presented as a precognitive in pages of Captain Britain and then as a telepath, character eventually acquired body, skills and elements of personality of a Japanese female ninja known as Kwannon. Later, Psylocke somehow acquired telekinesis from Jean Grey. Many alternative versions of Psylocke have also appeared in several comics series of Marvel Multiverse, as well as in various other media and merchandise, notably in numerous video games.
Psylocke appears during the fourth season of the X-Men animated series, voiced by Tasha Simms, in the Beyond Good and Evil story arc, in the episodes 51 (“Promise of Apocalypse”) and 53 (“End and Beginning”). In this storyline, Psylocke appears to be a lone warrior who practices theft with a cause. She comes into direct conflict with Archangel and, later on, Sabretooth andMystique. She refers to her brother as fighting to help mutants, but does not name him as Captain Britain. This incarnation of Psylocke had the notable ability to use her psi-blades as projectiles, incapacitating opponents from a distance and destroying matter. She also makes two small cameos during the second season, appearing in the episodes 18 (“Repo Man”) and 24 (“Mojovision”).
Psylocke also appears in Wolverine and the X-Men episode “Time Bomb”, voiced by Grey DeLisle. In this series, Psylocke is Asian in appearance, though no explanation is given as to the circumstances of her race. She is a telepath and displays a butterfly-shaped light pink-colored energy aura when using her psionic abilities. It is hinted that Quicksilver had previously rescued Psylocke from an anti-mutant prison and now wants her to return the favor. Quicksilver asks her to use her telepathy to suppress Nitro’s abilities of self-detonation. The X-Men arrive to stop them and later Psylocke is defeated by Emma Frost. Earlier in the episode she helps a woman who was about to be ticketed by an officer, forcing the latter to eat the ticket.
In the 2003 film X2: X-Men United, her name appears on a list of names Mystique scrolls through on Stryker’s computer while looking for Magneto’s file. In the film’s novelization, Psylocke makes a cameo as one of the mutants affected by Dark Cerebro in Vatican City during a fashion show and is seen waking up from her coma —induced by Dark Cerebro— when the machine begins affecting humans. She uses her telepathy to sense what is going on.
Psylocke also appeared as a minor villain in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, portrayed by actress Meiling Melançon. In the film, she fights against the X-Men as a member of The Omegas. During an interview with Wizard magazine, Melançon said that Psylocke of The Last Stand has the power to turn into shadows and create psi-blades. However, in the film, she does not demonstrate any psi-power, but uses her shadow teleportation to appear out of nowhere. In the film, Psylocke seems to be killed alongside Arclight and a character based on Quill (named “Kid Omega” in the credits) by Jean Grey’s disintegration wave, but the film’s novelization reveals that Psylocke escaped her death by teleporting into the shadows leaving Quill and Arclight to die.
According to the film’s scriptwriter Zak Penn, the character played by Melançon was not named as Psylocke in the original script. In a Q&A, he claimed that: “There was some switching of character names later in production, and I’m not exactly sure how Psylocke got thrown into the mix.” The actress Meiling Melançon said: “There was discussion that she was Kwannon or possibly other characters too, but I can’t comment on the final choice made. There were certain aspects of her that were true to Psylocke: the red tattoo from Crimson Dawn, and the purple hair – though it was obviously shorter. Outfit-wise – and this is my personal opinion only – if she was standing there in her usual skintight outfit – which I do find sexy and would have been so stoked to wear – it might not have matched the tone or what the other characters were wearing.” In the film’s DVD audio commentary, the director Brett Ratner confirmed that the character was in fact Psylocke and not Kwannon/Revanche.
Psylocke was included in early drafts of X-Men: Days of Future Past, but did not appear in the final film
In X-Men: Apocolypse, Munn joins previously announced newcomer Lana Condor, who’s playing Jubilee, as well as returning stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and Rose Byrne. Oscar Isaac and Kodi Smit-McPhee are also set to join the franchise.
Munn recently starred alongside Johnny Depp in “Mortdecai,” as well as last year’s “Deliver Us From Evil.” She’s currently filming “Ride Along 2,” starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, which will debut early next year.