One of the original big-screen X-Men is happy to return to the franchise that helped make her a genre star... if anyone can figure out if she actually fits into it anymore.
Anna Paquin has been delivering acclaimed and memorable performances since she was cast in The Piano at the age of 9, a film that earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress when she was only 11. She's been starring in films since 1993, but she gained an eternal place in genre history in 2000 when she co-starred in X-Men as Rogue. In that film, Paquin serves as one of two point-of-view characters (along with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine) who introduce us to the strange world of mutants and their fight for survival in a world that hates and fears them. In the process, she also became the first woman to play Rogue, one of the most beloved and best-known X-Men of the 1990s, in live action. All this and more before she turned 20.
Paquin returned to the X-Men for both films in the original trilogy, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, a film in which her role (like many in that installment) fell victim to the law of diminishing returns. After The Last Stand, the X-Men series was retooled with a prequel, First Class, and Paquin's appearance since then has been relegated to a cameo appearance (originally a slightly larger role) in Days of Future Past, indicating that she's likely at least alive and well and still at the Xavier school in the "future" timeline that was saved by Wolverine via his journey back to the 1970s.
That aside, we haven't heard much about Rogue since, as the main series of X-Men films is continuing to mine younger versions of characters like Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Charles Xavier in 2016's Apocalypse and the upcoming Dark Phoenix. That leaves Rogue's film future very much up in the air, but even with all of that in mind, would she consider coming back?
"If there was a way that it made sense for my character to be in the world, of course. I feel like that’s my film family, because I’ve been making those movies since I was 16," Paquin told Variety while promoting her new film Tell It to the Bees. "But there’s been so many spinoffs and reboots and TV shows, so I’m not sure where Rogue or the other original characters fit into the current plotlines, so it’s probably not going to happen."
At this point, even if we would like to see Paquin's Rogue back on the big screen, it's a bit hard to imagine how exactly it would happen. While she's certainly portrayed as younger than the original film versions of Jean, Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine, she is still part of that generation of characters, which means her character is too young to be introduced into the prequel timeline as it's taking place. Granted, you could make a Rogue film that takes place in the new timeline created by Days of Future Past, but based on what we've seen of that timeline that would still place Rogue in a time in which she interacts with the "old" X-Men, rather than the current crop of actors playing the characters. That would mean that, for Rogue to come back, you'd also need the original cast to return in some configuration, which seems unlikely. This is the X-Men we're talking about, so time travel and other retcons are always possible, but it just doesn't seem like something Fox has ever been interested in doing.
It's also, of course, worth noting that the X-Men are about to migrate over to Disney, and we still don't know exactly what the House of Mouse hopes to do with them once they're firmly installed there. Even if some cast members from the current films are kept, they'll likely be the major stars who are at the forefront of the films now, not characters we know from the early 2000s. If Disney wants Rogue, it feels very likely that they'll simply cast another, younger actress in the role, one who's eager for a multi-film contract.
All that said, though, what do you think? Would you like to see Paquin play Rogue one more time, even if it's just one scene in the Gambit movie (if the Gambit movie ever actually gets made)?