How the X-Men Films Nearly Led to Drastic Changes to Rogue

 

Slash Film tells how the X-Men movies of the early 2000s almost resulted in Rogue being changed, or worse, put in the grave, back in the comics proper, in one of the early examples of Marvel under Joe Quesada insulting the intellects of moviegoers, as though they wouldn’t be comfortable with the original premises as opposed to the creative liberties employed in movie screenplays. It begins, however, with some LGBT hijack propaganda:

 

Her untamed powers, to lethally absorb the vitality, memories, and superabilities of other people, prevent her from touching anyone; her first kiss put her boyfriend in a coma. So, she keeps herself closed off, too afraid of hurting others to get close to them — even her true love Gambit/Remy LeBeau. With this intersection of superpowers and characterization, Rogue shows how not all mutant powers are blessings. Due to underserved sex education in the United States, plenty of teens (especially queer ones) can relate to Rogue’s fear that intimacy will cause calamity.

 

 

 

Here we go again with the embarrassingly bad “appropriation” of a comics character for the sake of a far-left agenda, all without consideration that Rogue’s powers were more of a metaphor for the witch-hunting practices against women in past centuries, and why exactly must homosexual youth be the foremost ones to relate to Rogue’s frustrations? And, what’s this about “intimacy”? I thought the fear she possessed was that her siphoning power would gravely injure all the wrong people unintentionally. Ironically, a writer who is homosexual is one person who didn’t appreciate anything about the girl with the white streak in her brown hair:

 

With no real name besides “Rogue,” she still became a fan favorite. She was a star in the 1992 “X-Men” cartoon series (voiced by Lenore Zann), the spitting image of the comic version with an ostentatious personality and the Ms. Marvel powers of super-strength and flight. Someone who wasn’t a fan? Comic writer Grant Morrison, who almost reworked Rogue from the ground up when writing “X-Men.”



Morrison’s New X-Men



During Morrison’s tenure at Marvel in the early 2000s, their biggest book was “New X-Men,” which introduced a new look for the team, new characters, and new mythology. To understand Morrison’s “X-Men,” you must first understand the decade that led up to it.



[…] The “X-Men” became synonymous with the excesses of 1990s comics, many that linger to this day (constant new issue #1’s, variant covers for every issue, disruptive crossover events, etc.) The franchise beget spin-off after spin-off (“X-Force,” “Generation X,” etc.) and was the centerpiece of the massive “Age of Apocalypse” crossover. With so many comics hitting the shelves, it’s no surprise that the bubble eventually burst and Marvel filed for bankruptcy in 1996. One of their strategies out of that hole was selling off the “X-Men” movie rights to 20th Century Fox.

 

Gee, now they tell us, years after the fact. But many of these same MSM sources never really complained when it mattered how Marvel was overspending on countless spinoffs that didn’t lead anywhere, or about the increasing reliance on crossovers, so what use is it to let us know now, when they wouldn’t even object to Quesada’s turning the MCU into wreckage, including – but not limited to – Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage? On which note, why do they say “New” X-Men was the biggest book at the time, when Spidey’s could be considered just that, in the context of an extremely overrated run by J. Michael Straczynski during 2001-07? Overrated is just what Morrison’s series was too.

 





Anyway, how fascinating a man who recently took up the “identity” of “non-binary” wouldn’t have much affection for Rogue any more than for the mutants on the fictional island of Genosha whom he spared no expense getting around to writing as getting annihilated. Or even for Jean Grey, whom he shoved into the graveyard of limbo towards the end of his run, a status quo that continued for almost a decade after? That’s decidedly atrocious, and does nothing to ensure improvement.

 

The article continues:

 

Morrison came to the “X-Men” writing job with a manifesto on how to revitalize the franchise (this was later printed in collected editions of the run). Their central pitch — make the books modern and more reader-friendly — was realized in “New X-Men,” but not all the ideas of the manifesto were. One discarded pitch was replacing Rogue. Morrison was taken with how the movies and “Evolution” reinterpreted Rogue, feeling these takes were more cohesive characters than the comic and ’92 versions. After laying out their goals and pitching their first arc “E is For Extinction,” Morrison mentions plans for Rogue in one of the manifesto’s concluding paragraphs:



I’d like to kill Rogue and replace her later with another Rogue who’s more like the Goth-y kid in the movie and the cartoon (the idea that a woman who can’t touch anyone safely would have the self-confident, brash personality of a Southern sex bomb was always unconvincing) […] let’s stir up the status quo a little and make things happen.”



Morrison also pitches a scene where a grief-stricken Gambit and Wolverine commiserate in a bar over Rogue’s death.

 

So Morrison was going to turn Rogue into roadkill in the E Is For Extinction storyline itself, because he disliked the personality Chris Claremont ascribed to her? My my, this certainly makes clear he wasn’t interested in real challenges like improving upon what he thought was flawed. But, veering inherently towards darkness was one of the biggest flaws with the X-Men for many years, and even Morrison showed no interest in changing that. All he did was insult Claremont and his work, and fortunately, Claremont was able to ensure she’d be safe from Morrison’s PC clutches:

 

Saved by her creator



What’s weird is that Morrison wanted not to adjust Rogue’s characterization but to wipe her character’s slate clean. How would this “new Rogue” have been introduced? Cloning? Time travel? The multiverse? Or maybe it would’ve just been an entirely separate character with the same look and powers who would adopt the name. Morrison’s manifesto stresses appeals to youth culture, which a teen Goth would definitely be.



Rogue was saved by her creator, for Claremont returned to the X-Men around the time Morrison also came on board. Rogue was part of the line-up in Claremont’s book, “Extreme X-Men,” which saved her from Morrison’s chopping block in “New X-Men.” Morrison left Marvel in 2004 and never returned, so their Rogue plans remain unrealized. However, later writers did take note of Morrison’s advice to disrupt the status quo. In 2009’s “X-Men Legacy” issue #224 (written by Mike Carey), she gains control of her powers at last. About a decade later in Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, and Javier Pina’s “Mr. and Mrs. X,” she and Gambit finally tie the knot. With these developments, there’s no reason for Rogue to not be “self-confident [and] brash.”

 

A most unfortunate “development” around that time is that Kitty Pryde and Colossus couldn’t get married, by contrast, and then Kitty was turned lesbian around the time Jonathan Hickman got his mitts on X-Men. Is Claremont fine with that? Just because she wasn’t forced into a permanent grave doesn’t mean this is kosher. One plus is that from what’s told here, it does sound like some writers disapproved of Morrison’s original story pitch (also note how the site’s writers seem to be sticking with the pronoun distortion using “their” instead of “his” when it comes to the non-binary identity he goes by currently), and at least had the audacity to take a better path, writing Rogue succeeding for a change in controlling her power, much like Ben Grimm as the Thing shifted back to his more human form at times. And of course there’s no reason why Rogue shouldn’t have confidence, and be written with a more optimistic direction in mind. It’s just a shame it all had to come much too late to matter, when Quesada already ensured there’d be too little an audience to care.

 





This whole history topic certainly says plenty of what kind of embarrassment Marvel could be at the time, and the talk of making the books more “reader friendly” is pretty hilarious, ditto “modern”. Just how is making them into more of isolationists and whitewashing Islam modernizing anything? I’m sure even they know that wasn’t what Marvel did in the end, and after Morrison left, they all but discarded his vision, though if there was one thing that remained canon for about 9 years, it was Jean Grey going into death-limbo again. It’s similarly atrocious how the Phoenix saga kept getting regurgitated, and in the case of what was called New X-Men for 3 years, it’s shameful how it was all for the sake of burying Jean in said limbo yet again, instead of giving her some agency.

 

This, of course is another reason why Marvel should’ve folded as a comic publisher years ago, and if they had, maybe the movies would’ve had more meaning to them. In any event, this whole subject really does make the X-Men films look like a bad influence, even though Quesada and company are the ones really responsible for lowering the bar, and insulting the intelligence of moviegoers, imposing editorial mandates on costume design, for instance, as though filmgoers couldn’t get used to or expect differences between zygote and adaptation.

 

Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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