Welcome back, true believers! This is the second half of our discussion concerning how certain mutants could be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you missed Part 1, we suggest you go back and read it first, here.
For those that are still here – let’s get down to it. Last time we covered Storm, Mystique, Namor, and Rogue – each originating from either the Black Panther or Captain Marvel sequels. This time around, we’ll be talking about characters that will probably have to stand on their own.
We’ve spoken plenty about the news and rumors surrounding the possibilities of a Gambit centric show to be streamed on Disney Plus – so we aren’t going to get too deep into that. What we can talk about is the condition of the Gambit character going in.
Again, we don’t know how long mutants will have been around before the start of this series – or if at all. The thing is… Gambit doesn’t need his powers to tell a story. Gambit has volumes worth of stories to tell even before he was able to charge objects with kinetic energy.
For one, he was born with his red and black eyes. It’s suggested it’s one of the reasons his biological parents abandoned him not long after his birth. As a homeless orphan and member of a petty street gang, Remy – Gambit’s real name – tried to pick the pocket of a man Jean Luc Lebeau.
Jean Luc was the head of the New Orleans’ Thieves Guild. He was equally impressed by the boy’s guile and his unusual eyes – which reminded him of an ancient guild prophecy, “Le Diable Blanc” or “The White Devil.” Once fulfilled, it’d finally lead to the end of hostilities between the warring clans of Thieves and Assassins via unification.
Remy wasn’t just made a member of the Thieves Guild, but also adopted into the Lebeau family and became the next in line to lead. Even with all that, the biggest draw and point of contention for Gambit is his Romeo & Juliet-like relationship with Bella Donna Boudreaux – the daughter of the leader of the Assassins.
That in of itself would be enough to write several seasons worth of stories – but there’s more to mine than just teenaged drama. That’s assuming we’d be dealing with children at all. Again, we don’t have much to go on. Everyone involved in this series could be well into adulthood.
Gambit’s situation is unique, in that unlike most mutant characters that will be involved in the MCU reboot – he and those from his gallery of characters are rumored to not be getting the gist of their development in a film. By the time Gambit is ready to join the X-Men, he could have up to 24hrs of growth under his belt.
While there aren’t many mutant characters from Gambit’s catalog that non-hardcore fans are familiar with- I think it’d be shortsighted of Marvel to limit his story to just him and Bella Donna. For instance, although Frenzy didn’t debut as part of Gambit’s lore – the two characters have history.
Frenzy may be best known for her stint as an Acolyte or member of the Fremizons – there was a time that both she and Gambit were mercenaries. It was during this era they encountered each other as opposing contractors. At some point, their relation turned from violent to romantic. So, fun times, right?
There are also minor characters such as Courier, a mutant-metamorph that functions as a professional deliveryman – as his name suggests. Unlike shapeshifters, metamorphs don’t simply change their appearance. If Courier – a man – disguised himself as a woman, he’d be a woman down to his DNA… just guess what they could do with that.
There’s a very real chance that if mutants are to be developed by way of genetic manipulation or spring up overnight – someone’s going to be interested. I can’t think of a better person to take up the role of a mad scientist than Dr. Nathanial Essex.
Before he became the nearly indestructible, ageless, boogeyman best known as Mister Sinister – Essex was a brilliant geneticist and bio-engineer. In terms of pure science, he may be the first human to notice the rise of the X-gene in everyday people.
He’s also quite obsessed with not just observing the evolution of humans, but playing a hand in it. Mister Sinister himself is not a mutant, but after years of experimentation on others, he found ways to modify his own body. He’s also received help in that area from Apocalypse and his usage of Celestial technology.
While I doubt Marvel will be touching Apocalypse – or anything Phoenix related, for that matter – for a long while, Mister Sinister may play a part sooner rather than later. If nothing else other than the fact that Fox has yet to touch upon him. Seeing as Feige prefers new territory, Sinister might be high on his list of possible antagonists.
With Sinister comes a host of mutates and mutants as part of his teams of henchmen. If we get him, you can expect to also see characters such as Hairbag, Gorgeous George, Ruckus, and Vertigo from the Nasty Boys. There’s even a chance of getting the Marauders, especially if they chose to exploit his connection to Gambit.
Xavier and Magneto
Of course, it’ll be hard to call a movie “X-Men” without the involvement of Professor Charles Francis Xavier. The X-Men’s name is derived from both the X-gene and their creator’s name. One of the biggest hurdles was going to be justifying the necessary age of Xavier – but Marvel may have found a way around that.
Again, how mutants arise in the MCU is unknown, but at this point, I believe it’s obvious that they won’t exist one day – and will the next. That doesn’t mean everyone will be caught with their pants down. If on one end of the spectrum there can be evil like Mister Sinister – who’s to say that there won’t be something else on the other?
The MCU has more than 20 movies within its continuity. With that comes a wealth of useful aspects and characters. A big part of phase 1 and 2 was Hydra. By the time the Avengers knew what was happening, Hydra had grown so big it was impossible to dig out of their own organizations.
Since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. the criminal organization has been dormant, but there, of course, has to be remnants still out there. Even with Zemo and Fury hunting down ex-members – there would still be some unaccounted for. The experiments that created Wanda and her late brother Priotr consisted of many scientists. What if two in-particular are still around?
Despite what Xavier is destined to become – it doesn’t necessarily mean he has to have always been a good man. Making him, and let’s say Magneto former Hydra scientists connected to the creation of the twins, it would most certainly explain their expertise in the field of human mutation.
Xavier’s formation of the X-Men could be part of his quest for redemption. Magneto could play a large part in it before the two go their separate ways. Or vice versa. While it wouldn’t be traditional, who’s to say Feige doesn’t turn it all on its head and make Magneto the school’s headmaster?
Or, you know, Marvel could go the whole anti-patriarchy route and have the X-Men as a front for Xavier’s dastardly male privilege, making way for another pronoun to take lead. Because that’s probably going to be a thing with Marvel Studios for a while. I hope I didn’t just give them any ideas…
The route that Feige and company seem to be taking looks to be original if nothing else. We’ve got no clue when a formal X-Men movie will be produced, but with rumors of Rogue and Gambit being among the first to take center stage over the likes of Cyclops, Jean and others is uncharted territory.
Nothing the MCU has put out thus far has been beat-for-beat with the books. However, it’s never gone so far that it’s not somewhat based upon something that’s happened. Feige’s treatment of the X-Men may be his most ambitious adaptation yet. So, really the question is – how recognizable will the result be?