Last month, director Bryan Singer finally announced who will be playing the teen incarnations of Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse. Appearing alongside the younger (but still seasoned) versions of Professor X, Magneto and more will be Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm and Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. While the specifics of how they were chosen haven’t been revealed, Singer and the casting team were likely impressed by their previous acting roles as well by their audition. In Turner’s case, she believes that playing Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones played a huge role in scoring the part.
In an interview with IGN, Turner stated that her being cast might have had something to do with her Game of Thrones character starting to becoming a touch more evil in Season 4 of the HBO series. Said Turner,
I think maybe one of the reasons that they chose me for [Jean] is because they saw the dark side of Sansa. Maybe they're thinking, 'Oh, Phoenix, Jean Grey.' I definitely see a lot of parallels in there.
Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 4 are ahead!
After seasons of being held captive by the Lannisters and being robbed of her autonomy, Season 4 of Game of Thrones finally had Sansa "playing the game" by assisting Petyr Baelish with hiding the truth about Lysa Arryn’s death and joining forces with him to secure power in the Seven Kingdoms. This personality shift also came with a new black wardrobe. As for Jean Grey, she slowly became corrupted by the Phoenix power within her until she sacrificed her life so she wouldn’t harm any others…or in X-Men: The Last Stand’s case, asked Wolverine to kill her. Turner also mentioned how Jean not finding acceptance as a mutant is similar to Sansa being forced into a life she didn’t want. Said the actress,
[Jean] struggles with her power... and not being accepted in the human world. I think in terms of [Game of Thrones], that's kind of the way Sansa felt in that she really wanted to be a normal princess/queen and live a normal life -- and she doesn't, because of all this havoc happens. I think Jean, in a way, feels that.
As far as emulating her predecessor Famke Janssen, Turner said that while Janssen’s turn as Jean Grey will play an influence on how she plays the telekinetic mutant, she also wants to put her "own twist" on her. Since this a teenage Jean, Turner will be able to take more liberties with her personality, since she hasn’t developed yet into the adult Jean from the original movies - although there may be some acknowledgement of the Phoenix side buried deep within her. It’s guaranteed that Jean will be going through rough events in X-Men: Apocalypse, but at least she doesn’t have to worry about seeing her father beheaded or being forced to marry someone against her will. There are things a lot worse than being a mutant.
X-Men: Apocalypse will be released in theaters on May 27, 2016.