“X-Men: Days of Future Past” has ushered Marvel’s mutants back into the spotlight in a big way. The film has won over critics and fans alike, proving that there’s still plenty of life left in the fourteen year old franchise. And in addition to bidding a fond farewell to some of the actors who built the franchise up over the years, the overall series feels young and fresh, thanks in part to the new blood that appears in the timeline-jumping reboot, with fan favorite comic book characters like Bishop, Quicksilver, Warpath, Sunspot and Blink all made their debut in the latest installment. All five of those new movie X-Men have been around in the comics for a long time; the newest — Blink — debuted in 1994, while the oldest — Quicksilver — got up and running fifty years ago.
And yet, even with these new entrants into the X-Men’s movie-verse, there are still classic characters who have yet to have had even a passing cameo. All five original X-Men have appeared, of course, and so has every member of Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s international lineup. But which mutants have fallen through the cracks? Which X-Men have been around the longest in the comics and still haven’t made their way to the big screen? Here are five classic X-Men we have to see in 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
This extra-dimensional freedom fighter first debuted in a self-titled miniseries by Ann Nocenti and Art Adams back in 1985. Hailing from a media-obsessed alternate dimension known as Mojoworld, Longshot was a genetically engineered slave created to star in mindlessly violent entertainment programs until he broke free of his imprisonment and led a fight against the sadistic dictator, Mojo. Longshot eventually made his way to Earth and hooked up with the X-Men, adding his probability-altering luck powers and expert knife-throwing skills to the team. An X-Man for most of the late ’80s, Longshot remains a fan-favorite character amongst longtime readers. And since Longshot was created in the midst of and heavily influenced by cable TV obsessed 1980s culture, “X-Men: Apocalypse” — which will take place during the Reagan administration — feels like the perfect movie with which to introduce him to the world at large.
Since his debut thirty years ago in “Uncanny X-Men” #184, Forge has pretty much been the team’s go-to guy for tech upgrades. That makes sense considering that his mutant power can be summed up with the phrase “he can build anything.” Much like Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Forge embodies the ongoing clash between magic and science. As a Native American of the Cheyenne nation, he was trained from a young age to become a medicine man, ultimately giving up those teachings when he enlisted in the army, where he relied on his technology-based mutant powers. Losing his hand and leg in the Vietnam War, Forge used his powers to build a cybernetic replacements. With “Apocalypse” set in the ’80s, Forge’s Vietnam origins could be accurately adapted, forging a connection to “Days of Future Past’s” Vietnam scene, and the franchise could explain the origins of some of the technology used by the X-Men in the original trilogy — the upgraded Cerebro, the Danger Room, the Blackbird — by adding a master builder like Forge to the cast.
Dazzler has to appear in “X-Men: Apocalypse.” The disco queen turned X-Man debuted in 1980 as a roller-skate-wearing diva in a silver spandex jumpsuit, and her ability to convert sound into powerful light blasts made a big impact on readers at the time. She joined the X-Men in 1985 and has served with them off and on ever since. “Days of Future Past” missed its chance to adapt Dazzler in all of her disco glory, and with the franchise fast-approaching the ’80s, it’s the next-to-perfect place to get her on the big screen. A character like Dazzler could be used to satirize the pop music craze of any decade, but the thought of a Cyndi Lauper or Madonna-inspired Alison Blaire taking on the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse is just too awesome to ignore.
Considering the way Roberto da Costa’s powers were handled in the future portions of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” it might be easy to mistake Sunspot for Sunfire, buut despite their similar powersets, the Japanese hero deserves to show movie going audiences what fire manipulation is really all about. Since his debut in 1970, Sunfire’s never been a team player like Sunspot; the arrogant fire starter stormed off of the X-Men after only one mission. But still, that mission was in the iconic “Giant-Size X-Men” #1, the issue that added Storm, Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler to the X-Men. The guy’s an important part of X-Men history, and he’s an important part of modern Apocalypse stories. Sunfire’s most famous character design, one which depicts him as anthropomorphic flame covered in stylized body armor, was introduced into the main Marvel Universe after he was turned into one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen.
No other X-Man has been overlooked like Polaris has. Lorna Dane debuted way back in 1968 and has yet to appear in any feature film. As the daughter of Magneto (a fact that took about thirty-five years to confirm), Polaris can do almost everything Erik Lehnsherr can — and she has green hair. In addition to a few stints as a proper X-Man, Lorna made a name for herself as X-Factor’s powerhouse. There are a number of reasons why Polaris feels like a perfect fit for “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Like Sunfire, she’s also served as a Horseman of Apocalypse in the comics. Secondly, we now know, thanks to some of Quicksilver’s dialogue in “Days of Future Past,” that movie Magneto got around a bit in his day; maybe it’s time for Peter Maximoff to meet his half-sister? And lastly, Havok and Polaris are one of Marvel’s original power couples, and Alex Summers has been a part of both of these period piece films. It’s time to play matchmaker with these two, Fox!