With Disney’s merger with Fox almost a done deal, it’s not hard to start to imagine what a brand new set of X-Men films would be like. Ones where our favorite mutants get to interact with Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, and the rest of the Avengers. It’s easy to get excited thinking about which mutants Disney might try to put in a film first, whether they will stick to popular mainstays or embrace lesser-known characters as well. Will Gambit get that movie we’ve wanted him to have for the last five years? Will they finally find room for characters like Siryn, Cypher, or Sunspot?
That last one is a trick question, as the X-Films have already featured those characters before, even if they weren’t exactly in prominent roles. With 20 years and 11 films, the original X-Men franchise has never been shy about stuffing as many characters as possible into their films. After all, why make up new characters when the X-Universe has more than you can shake a stick at? So while everyone’s trying to figure out what characters will find their way into the X-Men franchise when it inevitably reboots, we thought it might be fun to look at characters who have already made their big screen debuts…everyone just forgot about them. That said, not all of them are exactly their most comic accurate representations. On the contrary, some of them are a huge departure from the characters we love from the comics. Ready to find out which is which?
Anyone could be forgiven for not remembering Angel. She's barely a character who matters in the comics, so it's even harder to remember her in the films. Still, she might be one of the most memorable of the obscure members of First Class and when they confront Shaw, she's the only person to decide to quit and switch sides.
She throws down with the X-Men in the climax of the movie, and only stops after getting injured fighting them. In the '70s bits of Days of Future Past, they write her off rather unceremoniously, having her pass away alongside Azazel and some other mutants while being ambushed by some CIA members.
In a story about time traveling, you’d think one of the members of the X-Men most known for time traveling would be kind of important. But Days of Future Past only put the Bishop to use for a few scenes before sidelining him in favor of making Wolverine the main character. Still, he’s very much his usual self -- fighting against the Sentinels of the future alongside the rest of the X-Men.
At the beginning of DOFP we see him save the team from impending death by using Shadowcat’s time travel abilities to go back and warn the X-Men, though eventually this catches up to him when he’s forced to fight the Sentinels to buy time and they wind up overloading his energy absorbing powers.
Every so often, rumors will resurface about the status of that Channing Tatum Gambit film. Don't believe of a word of them, that movie's never going to happen -- not unless it's under the auspices of Disney and Kevin Feige. But everyone forgets the Cajun already made his silver screen debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Played by actor Taylor Kitsch, Logan finds Gambit when trying to find the way to Three Mile Island and the two get into a brief scrap thanks to a classic case "misunderstanding" before teaming up as heroes often do after their big throwdown. The character was intended to make appearances in other films, but much like the solo movie, none of these ever materialized into anything.
Ink is both such a new and relatively minor character in the world of X-Men one could be forgiven for not recognizing him, with the vast majority of his appearances relegated to the short-lived Young X-Men comic from 2008.
But he appears in X-Men: Days of Future Past in both the future and past timelines - -in the former, he's an old man who's been captured by the Sentinels like countless other mutants. In the past, he's a soldier fighting in the Vietnam War who just narrowly avoids being used for "research" by Bolivar Trask thanks to the help of Mystique.
Jubilee has a mean case of "serial guest". She pops up in all three movies of the original trilogy, though hilariously as two different actresses (Katrina Florece and Kea Wong), and manages not to be anything more than an easter egg reference in all three appearances.
Then thanks to the timey-wimey shenanigans of Days of Future Past, she’s suddenly a teenager in the '80s with the X-Men: Apocalypse team. In that movie, much like in X2, she gets snatched up by William Stryker, though at least that film gets closest to her classic comic appearance -- gaudy yellow trenchcoat and all.
15 MULTIPLE MAN
In the comics, Jamie Madrox is one of the most interesting, multi-faceted characters the world of the X-Men has ever produced. In his only film appearance in X3, he's a guy who figured the best usage of his powers was to rob a bunch of banks all at once. It's kind of genius, really -- when the cops come to arrest him for one bank robbery he can explain how it couldn't have been him, he was too busy robbing another bank.
Obviously, this plan results in him being jailed, but he gets freed by Magneto and joins his Brotherhood... only to be arrested again, though the second time he’s serving as a decoy to give Magneto the chance to destroy the cure for mutancy.
A member of the Morlocks in the comics, the films chose to take Caliban in a completely different direction than the one comic fans had grown accustomed. While in the comics Caliban turned himself over to Apocalypse to receive greater power and gain revenge for his friends being destroyed, in X-Men: Apocalypse he actually refuses to help him at all.
This nearly costs him his life, but after Psylocke protects him Apocalypse sees worth in her to aid him and spares Caliban. Caliban later makes an appearance helping Logan care for an elderly Xavier, and even sacrifices his life to stop Logan from losing his life against one of his clones.
Callisto is an example of what happens when films squeeze guest appearances in just for the sake of having them. In the comics, Callisto is leader of the Morlocks, mutants who exist underground because the powers or appearances make it impossible for them to exist amongst normal society.
She makes an appearance in X3: The Last Stand as leader of the Omegas, a group that winds up teaming up with Magneto, turning her from leader of a group who merely wants to be left alone to one that wants to tear down society itself. She doesn’t even have her proper powers of enhanced strength and senses, instead getting superspeed and the ability to track mutants… presumably because “enhanced senses” are hard to make visually interesting.
A member of the New Mutants, Cypher makes a brief appearance in X2, mentioned on a list of William Stryker and eventually being taken alongside a handful of other mutant teens. He doesn't make any other appearances in other films, which tracks because Cypher was a punchline at the time: which X-Man was so bad they offed him off so they didn't have to figure out what to do with him?
It’s not even that his power is terrible -- understanding every language ever is pretty awesome, all things considered -- but it can be hard to make that translate into something useful when you’re showing action.
Darwin was one of the main characters of X-Men: First Class... or at least, he should have been. He was invited to join the X-Men on their mission to deal with Sebastian Shaw, but unfortunately in their first run in with the guy he winds up being taken out when Shaw forces him to swallow a ball of energy.
In addition to looking bad because they wrote off the black guy, it didn't even make sense. Darwin's power was adapting to anything -- how did he pass away at all? He easily had one of the most versatile powers possible, yet somehow he was relegated to being collateral damage.
10 STEPFORD CUCKOOS
This is the easiest guest appearance for someone to miss. In The Last Stand, there’s a scene of three blonde girls in the background of a scene at the X-Mansion while actually important characters are talking. This could’ve literally been anyone, but eventually one of the writers of the film confirmed their identities.
We’re not even sure how these three exist at all, given they’re clones of Emma Frost, who never really makes an appearance until First Class. Still, as they’re pretty cool characters in their own right, it’s fortunate the Cuckoos have been given a much larger role in Fox’s The Gifted television series.
When someone just doesn’t care about the background of the story they’re adapting, stuff like the film version of Arclight is the result. In the comics, she’s a member of the Marauders, a team who helped murder many of the Morlocks in the so-called “Mutant Massacre” storyline.
In the film, she’s a member of the Omegas, the team lead by Callisto -- the character that’s usually leader of the Morlocks. These two should be mortal enemies but because X3 was already packed with more subplots than an '80s Claremont comic, they just kinda threw them together. And then she got wiped when Jean went all Dark Phoenix.
In the comics, the Vanisher is noteworthy for being one of the first villains the X-Men ever faced, appearing in the second issue of their comic back in 1963. He abuses his teleportation abilities to commit a bunch of crimes before Xavier finally gets close and just makes him forget he has any abilities at all. He makes two separate appearances in the films -- first in X3 where he appears during the Alcatraz scene for a small cameo.
The second time he pops up in Deadpool 2 when Wade’s building his X-Force team. Played by Brad Pitt, the character has zero speaking lines and eventually gets offed after jumping out of a plane and getting his parachute caught against power lines. Ouch.
If you’re not sure who Spyke is, don’t feel bad. The character was introduced into the 2000s cartoon X-Men: Evolution, and that’s basically the only time we ever see him in a major way, outside of the comics introducing him as a relative of Storm’s then forgetting he exists. The films do him slightly more justice actually, introducing a version of the character in X3 as an opponent to Wolverine.
Though that version croaks in X3, a slightly more accurate version of the character appears working as a soldier in the Vietnam War in Days of Future Past. Never explicitly called “Spyke”, he’s referred to by his last name “Daniels” and displays the ability to protrude spikes from his skin.
One of the more developed characters in the younger class of X-Men, Anole makes his way into X3 with much of his surface level characteristics intact. He still does his wall crawling act, and he still has his scaly, green skin. But he’s definitely not a member of the X-Men when he appears in The Last Stand, instead a part of Callisto’s Omegas, doubtlessly because he’s tired of being judged for his appearance.
He’s one of the many mutants who appears during the Alcatraz scene, but unfortunately for him he gets hit by one of the darts containing the cure for mutancy while hanging very far off the ground, and likely passed away when he turned human.
Before Miles Morales (and soon presumably Spider-Gwen), Blink was the first breakout character from an alternate universe Marvel just decided to slip into their primary continuity. She’s got a great design and incredibly useful powers, using her teleportation abilities to help a bunch of mutants escape the Sentinel camps.
She’s also a key part of the plan to keep the X-Men one step ahead of the mutants in the future, helping the team teleport away after getting information from future versions of Bishop. She’s cool enough to have fortunately earned her spot as a near central character on The Gifted.
Warpath is another hero unfortunately stuck in the futuristic timeline of Days of Future Past, destined to be terminated over and over again fighting an army of unstoppable adaptive Sentinels.
Granted, it’s not as if the character isn’t used to being in more of a guerilla army than a superhero team -- in the comics he spent most of his time apart of the X-Force, which was run much more like a paramilitary group than the X-Men tend to be. Warpath never got much development in DOFP, but his incredible senses and super strength made him one of the hardest X-Men to take down in every individual time loop.
In the comics, Riptide is a member of the Marauders team, best known for the infamous Mutant Massacre where they wiped out the downtrodden Morlocks wholesale. He makes an appearance in X-Men: First Class operating as a member of Sebastian Shaw’s Hellfire Club. His powers are much cooler there, whereas in the comics he can simply spin really fast, and create bone growths he can fire off as spikes, in the film he just straight up makes tornadoes.
The character eventually joins up with Magneto’s Brotherhood at the end of First Class… and we pretty much never see him again in the remainder of the second trilogy. It’s possible he died alongside the rest of the Brotherhood… but more likely they just forgot about him.
The daughter of Banshee, Theresa Rourke appears in both X2: X-Men United and The Last Stand in small bit roles. She’s one of the students attacked by William Stryker when they raid the X-Mansion, and we get to see her use her powers in a scene just long enough to figure out who she is.
Of course, there’s a good chance she doesn’t even exist anymore. Thanks to the events of the second trilogy, Banshee passes away sometime in the mid-'70s after being captured by Trask. Of course, it’s entirely possible in this universe the two are just cousins or something.
Poor Sunspot. Like most of the New Mutants, he winds up getting the short end of the stick. Either we never see them appear in the films at all, or they’re forced to face some unceramonius end, or they wind up stuck in a movie that won’t ever actually release.
In Sunspot’s case, he has the unfortunate luck of being one of the future mutants that we see die over and over again trying to fight the Sentinels. The first time he gets frozen to his demise by a Sentinel using Iceman’s powers, then at the end of the film we see him lose his life from being impaled.