Yesterday, it was confirmed that Channing Tatum would play the character of Gambit in an upcoming X-Men film. This isn't the first time an X-character has been recast, but it might be the most high-profile shift: Gambit, as played by Taylor Kitsch, had a major speaking role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Tatum, who is only one year older than Kitsch, represents an upgrade in star power, but within the X-universe, it's a puzzling change that thus far accomplishes only an attempt at a do-over, to make Gambit a more prominent part of the X-Men movies.
During adaptation, such changes need to be made, which is why the stars of the X-Men comics are not the same as the stars of the X-Men movies. The liberties taken have, in many ways, robbed movie fans of a chance at seeing some engaging storylines, while also cheating the hardcore comic fans out of some of the more treasured characters and moments of a 50-year-old canon. Channing Tatum's casting is essentially the franchise taking a mulligan on their first attempt at Gambit and starting over. What other characters deserve a re-do in the X-universe?
(Some of our speculations include spoilers from the various X-Men movies, so proceed with caution.)
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? Cyclops appears in the original trilogy courtesy of James Marsden. He's basically KO'ed swiftly in both those earlier films, left to stand around while Wolverine saves the day. They did away with restraint in that third film and killed him, in a way that led to no one even mentioning his death afterwards. Tim Pocock appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a younger version of the character, one that would have established that Marsden was playing a forty year old. We're guessing no one ever mentions that again.
What We're Missing Out On: Cyclops is arguably the most significant character in the X-Men universe. Abandoned by his spacefaring father Corsair, Cyclops grew to become the field leader for the X-Men, a position he never relinquished. While his mentor/student relationship grew strong with Professor X, soon he would grow impatient with Xavier's pacifism, branching out to lead a separate team of X-Men as, essentially, mutant terrorists. In the distant future, he and his wife Jean Grey are meant to raise a child, one that would grow up to be pivotal mutant liberation leader Cable. You need someone with authority and conviction in the role, someone intense, powerful and commanding. Matt Bomer would be a nice choice.
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? Rogue was played by Oscar winner Anna Paquin in the original X-trilogy, and apparently appears briefly in X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Far from being an integral part of the X-team, Rogue instead was viewed as "one of the kids" and her power-draining abilities were relatively useless in battle. By the third film, she had already been disregarded by the series when she is the only X-Man to voluntarily take the "mutant cure."
What We're Missing Out On: In the comics, Rogue is not only a fully-grown bombshell, but has startling powers of both super strength and flight, absorbed during a confrontation with Ms. Marvel. While that character's movie rights are owned by Marvel, there had to have been some other way to give her those crowd-pleasing moments as a leader of the X-team. And Paquin's accent kept changing for the role. How about a more accurate Southern belle take on the character, as it was meant to be? We're not against Paquin's interpretation, but a superficial facelift would guarantee you'd be putting the character into more of the action. For some reason, Ari Graynor seems like she'd be a fit for the curvy, powerful alpha female Rogue represents.
The White Queen
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? January Jones played the villainous Emma Frost as a member of the Hellfire Club in X-Men: First Class, though she was depicted as a borderline lackey to Kevin Bacon's Sebastian Shaw. The final moments of First Class suggest she would join Magneto's side, but she is nowhere to be seen in X-Men: Days Of Future Past. A blond girl named Emma appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Frost's secondary mutant of diamond skin, but she is only referred to as Emma Frost in ad materials. As played by Tahynna Tozzi, she's merely a similar mutant with the same first name. It's worth noting in Bryan Singer's aborted third X-Men film, the plan was to enlist Sigourney Weaver to play the part.
What We're Missing Out On: The White Queen is one of the more compelling characters in the canon, deserving of more than henchman status, fetching ice for Kevin Bacon like a Bond villainess. Like many bad guys in the X-Men comics, she eventually realized that she and the X-Men were working towards a common goal, and she soon transitioned into Xavier's School as a teacher, helping form the group Generation X. It would get rocky from there, as Frost underwent a heavy telepathic affair with Cyclops that fractured his marriage to Jean Grey. Currently, readers of the comics aren't exactly sure which master Frost serves, allowing the series to pick up quite a bit of tension on the page. As far as sexy ice queens, our thoughts turn to Amber Heard.
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? Wolverine's arch-nemesis first appeared in X-Men played by Tyler Mane. Neither he nor Sabretooth seemed to be aware of their relationship with each other, either as mortal enemies or as brothers, and Mane plays the character as a feral beast. This backstory was fleshed out in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where Liev Schrieber starred as the villain, depicting him as an otherwise-sensible sadistic psychopath.
What We're Missing Out On: Mane and Schrieber are so interesting because both are only one aspect of Sabretooth, a compellingly contradictory character that has tortured Wolverine for decades. The character needs to be both untamed and intelligent, capable of playing mind-games with Wolverine, but intimidating enough that he could conceivably rip out Wolverine's heart and eat it. Hey, does anyone remember Kevin Durand played Blob in X-Men Origins: Wolverine? No? Because he'd be a great Sabretooth.
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? Banshee is one of the mutants of X-Men: First Class, played by a young Caleb Landry Jones. Jones is an interesting actor, but he's not given much to do, and the movie places more of a focus on his ability to fly than his soundwave powers.
What We're Missing Out On: Banshee has historically been one of the older characters in the X-Men history, a cocksure Irishman who frequently slayed the ladies in between battles. While his run as an X-Man was short-lived, and he's believed to be dead in the modern continuity, he earlier teamed with Emma Frost to form the team Generation X. Gotta say that the one actor who looks the most like Banshee has to be The Mentalist Simon Baker.
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? The Juggernaut is one of Magneto's Brotherhood in X-Men: The Last Stand. As played by Vinnie Jones, he's a meme-spouting joke, a human battering ram who gets clowned by Kitty Pryde, of all people.
What We're Missing Out On: In the comics, Juggernaut is actually Professor Xavier's bullying step-brother, one who accidentally stumbled upon the Crimson Gem Of Cyttorak, distinguishing him as magical, and not actually a mutant. Essentially, his gifts are those accidentally awarded to a vain, egotistical ass, and not a mutant. As such, they can be taken away, adding a bit of potential tragedy to a character who, yes, is pretty much a glorified battering ram. Not terribly demanding a part, but you know who'd be great? Tom Sizemore!
Who Are They, And What Did They Do? In X-Men: The Last Stand, Eric Dane shows up as the strutting Marvel character know as Jamie Madrox, who eventually grants his abilities not to a massive major battle, but to a diversion to throw the humans off Magneto's scent.
What We're Missing Out On: Multiple Man's self-explanatory power of generating duplicates of himself is actually more dynamic in the comics: each dupe develops their own personality and desire, and it can be tough for the hero to re-assimilate them all (also, yes, he's primarily a good guy). He served as a member of X-Factor for awhile, later leading the team during their shift into a detective agency. And his skill helped him become more refined, as his clones would obtain knowledge for themselves, knowledge that would be accumulated by Multiple Man upon re-adaptation. That's more than enough to carry a full movie, actually, and while Dane was ultimately a good choice, it would be kind of funny to see Johnny Knoxville in this role, particularly in how it's likely Madrox would be creating duplicates to attempt stupid, possibly-lethal stunts for him.
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