Marvel has no doubt crafted a world of epic proportion with its X-Men franchise, although not all of the mutants featured within the Marvel universe have gotten their fair share of the spotlight. With the hot X-Men film series (the medium with which the general public is most familiar) placing such high importance on the same few characters in nearly every instalment, many unsung heroes exist within Marvel franchise. While a definitive list of the most deserving mutants yet to have a real spotlight in the X-film series is a seemingly impossible task due to differing opinions, several mutants stand out of the crowd as characters who just didn’t get enough development.
One would think the leader of the X-Men (not counting Charles Xavier) would have a more pronounced role in the films, but unfortunately for Cyclops fans, the calm, cool and collected Scott Summers of the comics just wasn’t present in the films. Portrayed as a geeky foil to the recurring star of the X-Men films Wolverine, James Marsden’s Cyclops just didn’t possess any of the flair and charm that the (admittedly stuffy at times) X-Men leader of the comics was known for. Other than the fact he was the one who managed to score Jean Grey before they both were killed off, the Cyclops of the X-Men films was a fairly forgettable character, at least when compared to the heroic leader of the comics.
A prominent figure in the Marvel comic universe, Warren Worthington III, better known as Angel or Archangel, was a founding member of the X-Men. In the film series however, Angel’s role was a minor one; his claim to fame involved having a bloody back and a few feathers, not exactly befitting of the glorious comic book hero. Because his role was cut down to barely more than a cameo in X-Men: The Last Stand, Angel will forever be an unsung Marvel hero in the film universe, unless some serious retroactive continuity a la Sabretooth is in the works.
Comic book fan-favourite Remy Lebeau, or Gambit, as he more often goes by, played a fairly small role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, doing a whole lot of injustice to a highly celebrated character. A prominent X-Men member (and primary love-interest of Rogue, who was heavily featured in the first X-film) in the comics, Gambit, the Ragin’ Cajun himself, was reduced to a fairly small role, in which he was overshadowed by Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Liev Shrieber’s Sabretooth. Although Gambit was actually played quite proficiently by Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch, his lack of proper screen time without a doubt hindered his performance.
Kitty Pride, a mutant with the incredible ability to walk through walls, is another X-Men comic book fan-favourite to have a relatively pathetic role in the films. Her total appearances in the films consisted of two occasions throughout the original film trilogy: one small reference by Senator Kelly during his mutant registration speech at the beginning of the first film, and another (actual appearance) in the second film in which she briefly appears when William Striker raids Charles Xavier’s mansion. Two small, basically cameo appearances to showcase a fantastic comic book character is simply not enough screen time to do a hero like Kitty Pride justice.
X-Men fans across the globe hope for a more balanced exposure of mutants in the upcoming (and rumoured) films, but there are no guarantees that Marvel will allow these unsung heroes to redeem their previously lacklustre appearances. After all, screen time focusing on other mutants would mean less Wolverine/ninja action, and Marvel wouldn’t want that.
By Christopher White