11 Weird Facts About X-Men You Won’t See in the Movies
I loved X-Men as a kid, and after listening the awesome podcast Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men I’ve been rereading the series from scratch. Weird stuff happens in that comic, and we’ve got a new movie coming out soon.
Overall the X-Men film franchise does a good job of capturing the tone and characters of the comics. Some solid casting and adherence to popular themes of the ongoing series. But the comic series is well known for being a bit surreal compared to what else came out of the market at the time and having a batshit crazy continuity. Here’s a few things you may not have known…
Mystique is in a Homosexual Relationship and Has Adopted Children
There’s always a lot of public attention on established superheroes coming out of the spandex closet, most recently Iceman but also Northstar and the Ultimate universe Colossus. One character who has been opening bisexual for decades (but not in the movies) is Raven Darkholme aka Mystique, along with her partner, Brotherhood of Mutants team-mate Destiny (above, with the yellow mask and blue cloak). The two have been in a loving relationship for the bulk of the 20th century (Mystique’s age being unknown due to her agelessness). The couple adopted a four year old girl after Destiny foresaw the girls importance to mutantkind in the future. That girl? The X-Man known as Rogue.
Oh, and Nightcrawler is her son. That’s why they’re both blue.
Stan Lee Gets More Credit Than He Deserves For Creating X-Men
From a purely technical statepoint, Stan Lee was the original writer of X-Men and he created the original line up of Professor X, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel, Iceman and their arch-enemy Magneto. But the first incarnation of team was just a teen version of Fantastic Four and was cancelled after a few short years. It took a long time for the characters personality to be established. Beast’s intelligence, Cyclops (original ‘Slim’ Summers) leadership skills and Jean Grey being something other than a girl did not appear in the early issues.
Years after the ‘X-Men’ series was canned by Marvel due to poor sales there was a reboot with a new team. Newcomer Chris Claremont took the reigns an issue later and fleshed out new characters Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler before introducing fan favourites Rogue, Gambit, Psylocke, Longshot and more. He created allegories for minority groups, took some surprising turns like making Magneto a sympathetic character. He headed up the first spin-off series, ‘New Mutants’ and remained the writer of the series (and many spin-offs) for a massive 14 continuous years. During this time the ‘X-Men’ became the biggest selling superhero team in history. Stan Lee, for all his influence and impact on the industry, did not create the ‘X-Men’ that people know and love yet he’s still widely considered the creator of the franchise and often cameos in their movies. Chris Claremont deserves way more acknowledgement for this book.
Storm Was Seen as aGoddess
Ororo ‘Storm’ Munroe is a significant character for a number of reasons. She’s one of the longest standing members of the team and is the first black female superhero in comics. Over time she’s fulfilled a number of roles, including a period of leading the team in spite of losing her powers, proving that she’s an interesting character even without a super power. When Xavier first recruited Storm she was being worshipped in her native African nation as a Goddess on Earth, manipulating the weather for the good of her people.
Sadly the flat portrayal of Storm in the movies skipped over her Goddess persona, also the mohawked warrior, the connection she shares with nature and pretty much her entire personality. Hopefully Alexandra Shipp raises the bar.
There Are Government Sanctioned X-Men Teams
One day Mystique turned up in government operatives Val Cooper’s office with an offer and blackmail. Her team, Magneto’s old squad known as the Brotherhood of Mutants, were redubbed Freedom Force and officially made federal agents tasked with rounding up the outlawed X-Men. Mystique, Blob, Avalanche, Pyro, Destiny and Spiral went from being terrorists to being law enforcers. This hasn’t been touched on in the movies at all, but it totally made a great story on the big screen. Later the X-Factor team of mutant heroes would become the official U.S.A. government team.
The Twin Peaks Connection
Speaking of Val Cooper…
This character has been a regular feature in X-Men for decades, and acts as the government liason for officially sanctioned mutant teams. In a throwaway line another character asks how her brother Dale is doing with that murder case in Washington. Dale Cooper, murder case, Washington…obviously a nod to cult favourite Twin Peaks. This means Twin Peaks exists in the Marvel universe, which explains a lot of the weird shit happening in that show.
Xavier Has A Weird Relationship With His Siblings
Juggernaut did turn up in the films, and was a lot of fun, but they didn’t address his history with Xavier. The two are step-brothers, and were far from friends. Cain Marko bullied the young Charles Xavier right up to their participation in the Korean War. It was here that Juggernaut found the magic crystal that gave him his powers (he’s not a mutant) and he has continued to resent Charles leading to a number of confrontations with the X-Men.
Then there’s his twin sister. While in the womb, Charles detected the evil nature of his sister and killed her leading to a still birth. She returned later in his life to get revenge. We don’t talk about that story much.
The Summers Family Tree is Bonkers
Days of Future Past was a great movie, and it was awesome seeing the desolate future hellscape first seen in the comic story of the same name brought to life. One thing that was a bit odd was Shadowcat using her powers to send Wolverine back in time, a power she’s never exhibited in the comic. In the comics Shadowcat herself was the one sent back in time and the one with the time manipulation powers was Rachel Summers, the daughter of Scott and Jean Grey. Rachel would later travel back in time herself and join the X-Men, only to find that the mutants of that era had taken action to prevent the future she came from and that she would never be born into this world.
During the supposed death of Jean during the Phoenix Saga, Scott married Madelyne Pryor and they had a child named Nathan. He would later become infected with a techno-organic virus and would be taken into the future by a future version of Rachel Summers. In the future Nathan would grow into Cable and return to the present to lead the New Mutants.
Then there’s Nate Grey. He’s the son of Scott and Jean, born into the Age of Apocalypse due to tampering by professional tamperer Mister Sinister. He had a buttload of powers and also made the jump to the 616 universe to join the X-Men.
Plus there’s Ruby Summer, the future daughter of Scott and Emma Frost. Scott and his brother Alex turned out to have a secret third brother, Gabriel, and possible a half brother in 90s joke Adam X The X-Treme. And their father is a space pirate. Plus Cable has a evil clone who might not be a clone. Look, I’ll just let this simple family tree explain it.
The Pop Music Movie That Almost Happened
Dazzler is no-one’s favourite X-Man, mostly because Nightcrawler in still a thing that exists and is the best. But she has an interesting history. Dazzler was created by Tom DeFalco and John Romita, Jr., (among others) as a joint project between Marvel and Casablanca records, who were planning on releasing a Dazzler album with vocals supplied by Bo Derek to coincide with the comic. The pinnacle of this project was to be a Dazzler Movie, starring Bo Derek as the mutant disco diva caught in a battle between The Witch Queen and the Queen of Fire.
The most amazing part of all this? The casting. Casablanca records were all set to include their contracted performers, so in addition to Bo Derek as Dazzler we had Cher and Donna Summer and the Witch Queen and Queen of Fire respectively with Robin Williams and love interest Tristan. Each faction would have their own band of superpowered henchmen – the Dreadknights played by KISS and the Stompers played by The Village People. The Village People cowboy had a living lasso. To round it out, Rodney Dangerfield played four roles including the Lord of Chaos.
I so wish this would have happened, but only the comic eventuated.
A Surprising Number of X-Men Are Reformed Villains
Did you know that Rogue can fly and has super strength in the comics and cartoon series? This isn’t a mutant power though. Being raised by Mystique and Destiny put her on the side of the villains and a rivalry with Ms. Marvel almost lead to Rogue almost killing the superhero with her energy draining powers. In addition to permanently stealing the ability to fly and punch through steel she adopted Ms. Marvel’s memories and personality, which would remain in conflict with Rogue’s own mind. She eventually joined in the X-Men in an attempt to reconcile this.
She’s not alone in the line up of X-Men from the wrong side of the tracks. Gambit was a thief, Wolverine was introduced as a Hulk enemy, Storm was a pickpocket, Canonball, Emma Frost and Sunspot all had ties to the Hellfire Club, Polaris and Quicksilver were the children of Magneto…it’s a long list that we’re going to cover in detail at a later time.
Deadpool Made His Debut in ‘New Mutants’
Did you know there was a Deadpool movie coming out? I know! The loud mouthed mercenary has become one of the most popular and recognisable anti-heroes in modern comics. With his outlandish personality and fourth-wall breaking comic he’s been a hit. He actually turned up in ‘New Mutants’ towards the end of their run as a villain and would later evolve into the character he’s known as today. Not surprisingly he was created during the Rob Liefeld era where all characters were mandated to have swords, big guns, healing powers and basically be Wolverine knock-offs.
Cyclops Keeps an Elaborate BDSM Outfit on Hand
Ok, that’s a bit misleading. During the early days of the comics, issue #51 to be exact, Cyclops attempts to infiltrate a group of villains lead by Mesmero in order to free the captured X-Men. His new identity is ‘Erik the Red’ who wears what is undoubtedly a bright red BDSM outfit. It’s form fitting and they’re essentially in the middle of nowhere so it’s extremely unlikely that he popped into a costume shop and bought it off the rack…we can only assume that Scott Summers keeps a BDSM outfit in his possession at all times, even when travelling on a mission.