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Does Rogue Still Speak French?

In every installment of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we look at comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Brad R. (who wanted to note that he was a different Brad R. than a Brad R. who has written in with suggestions before) we look at whether Rogue still speaks French.

It is interesting to note how little we actually got to know about Rogue in the early days. After all, she was originally supposed to have a longer introduction in Ms. Marvel before that book was canceled and so when Rogue showed up in Avengers Annual #10 for the first time, there was this sort of sense that we were already supposed to know her a bit. Her NAME didn't even come into the comics until over two decades had passed.

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In any event, Uncanny X-Men #185 (by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr. and Dan Green, in an issue edited by Ann Nocenti, which is sort of important for later) gave us our first real look at Rogue's background when she goes back to where she grew up in Mississippi and we learn how her mutant powers first kicked in...

It is interesting to see there how Claremont describes the fictional Caldecott County. It doesn't really SOUND like the parts of Mississippi with French-speaking history, but, again, it's a fictional county, so it can obviously take on whatever properties that Claremont feels like giving it.

With that in mind, let us go to X-Men and Alpha Flight #1 (by Claremont, Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek), where Rogue meets Northstar and reveals that she speaks French fluently...

That fact is really not brought up again.

The aforementioned Nocenti then spent the most time on Rogue's background during the period in time while Claremont was still the main X-Men writer, so you would like to believe that she was doing her back-up stories in Classic X-Men with some input from Claremont (or at least that she was generally clearing stuff with him before doing it. You know, no "Oh, by the way, Chris, Rogue is now from San Diego."). In Classic X-Men #44 (with art by Kieron Dwyer and Hilary Barta), we see Rogue's time as an adolescent with Cody...

Sure doesn't SEEM like they're in an area where everyone speaks French, right?

Here, she kisses Cody...

Nocenti later wrote a story in Marvel Fanfare #60 (art by David Ross and Joe Rubinstein) of Rogue's early days with Mystique and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and once again, no sign of any sort of French-speaking. Heck, Nocenti doesn't even have Rogue have a Southern accent...

And that was it for Rogue's background while Claremont was still on the books. Once Claremont was gone, there was no one with any connection to "Rogue speaks French" and thus, it was dropped entirely. In fact, here's the major thing. Claremont was off the books for the most part before Rogue and Gambit began their flirtatious behavior and nascent romance. The French-speaking Gambit, of course, would be who you would figure Rogue's French speaking would come out with and yet since Claremont was gone, the incoming writers didn't pick up on it.

Even when Claremont returned to the X-Books and had Rogue and Gambit get together in X-Treme X-Men, he didn't have them speaking French to each other...

This leads to Rogue and Gambit #2 and the revealed first meeting of Rogue and Gambit and the French question is addressed right away...

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