When it comes to the X-Men, romance is as much a part of their status quo as fighting to protect a world that fears and hates them. Over the years, there have been many iconic X-couples, including Cyclops and Jean Grey, Cyclops and Emma Frost, and Kitty Pryde and Colossus, but for those X-fans who discovered the team in the ’90s, the quintessential X-Men romance involves Gambit and Rogue. The two were a close knit pair for a long time, but for the last several years they’ve walked separate paths, leaving many fans to wonder if they could ever rekindle their romance.
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This January, writer Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez will answer that question and more when they kick off their five-issue Rogue & Gambitseries. CBR spoke with Thompson about her title characters, their relationship, the adventure she’s sending them on, and the possibility for more Rogue and Gambit stories after the series wraps.
CBR: Kelly, I understand this is sort of a dream assignment for you in that you’re a huge fan of both Rogue and Gambit. What is it about these characters that make them so fascinating to you?
Kelly Thompson: Like a lot of folks of a certain age, I actually discovered monthly comic books thanks to X-Men: The Animated Series. The very first scene I saw was Rogue punching that Sentinel in the mall and — cheesy pun definitely intended — she basically punched her way into my heart and mind. And then Gambit, moments later. SWOON. Shortly after, I discovered the comics and there were all these incredible stories about these characters and their tortured romance. It was heaven. It defined my entry into comics as both a reader and wannabe creator, so to say this is a dream come true gig is an understatement. But the pressure is certainly on to do it right.
What do you think it is about the Rogue and Gambit relationship that has made it so enduring over so many years? What do you think these two characters ultimately see in each other?
Well, they’re both obviously super hot and have an undeniable chemistry. But I think, for good or ill, in the beginning at least, the “will they/won’t they” really had fans dialed in. On a more character based level I think it was fascinating to see what they brought out in one another. Rogue was this beautiful, powerful, heroic woman that was largely stunted in her emotional growth – if only in her own mind – thanks to her inability to be in a “normal” physical relationship and her obvious fixation on changing that aspect of her life. And here comes this handsome, charismatic, “bad boy” ladies man that set his sights on her and it turned her whole world upside down.
Gambit was the first person that ever seemed totally unswayed by the challenge of Rogue. Some would say it’s what he liked about her — the challenge — but I think that was only true in the very early days. For Gambit’s part, I think he saw in Rogue someone worth a risk. Someone he could trust with his own vulnerabilities, someone that he could finally be real with, someone he could evolve with. I think all those things are still true for them today, which is interesting. All that said, they also have a whole lot of baggage to deal with.
Both Rogue and Gambit have been through a lot in recent years — Rogue, especially, given her role leading a high profile Avengers team. So what’s your sense of where your title characters are emotionally when you pick up with them?
I think separately they’re in pretty good places. I mean, being a superhero is complete chaos all the time, but that aside, they’re good, they’re doing what they do. Their relationship with one another is a different story. While they’re still people who care deeply about one another – there’s a lot of hurt still there, a lot of jealousy and weird trauma. They have some serious crap to work through if they ever want to be together again, and maybe even if they just hope to continue being friends.
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