The Top Five Ways the X-Men Movies Differ from the Comics

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The X-Men must travel in back in time and team up with their younger selves to change a major historical event that could globally impact both man and mutant kind.
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
May 9th, 2014

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The X-Men films helped push the comic-book movie genre into the blockbuster status that it enjoys today. From Bryan Singer's "X-Men" in 2000 all the way to Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men: First Class" in 2011, the X-Men movies have proven repeatedly to be a box office draw that audiences remain fascinated with. While the franchise has remained true to its source material about the struggle between humans and mutants in many ways, the X-Men films have deviated from the original comics in order to tell more cinematic stories. Here are five major changes the films made from the original "X-Men" comic universe.



x-men-1.jpgPhoto Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

5. The Relationship Between Cyclops and Havok

Alex "Havok" Summers first appeared in the "X-Men" comics in 1969. He was the younger brother to Scott Summers, otherwise known as Cyclops. This is why they share similar energy-wielding powers. Cyclops shoots energy beams out of his eyes, while Havok creates energy beams using his entire body. He is also immune to Cyclops' eye blasts in the comics. The two often have a contentious relationship in the comics but have worked together extensively when faced with other threats.

Havok first appeared in film with "X-Men: First Class." There is no mention of a relationship between Havok and Cyclops. In fact, Havok would have to be older than Cyclops in the film time line due to Scott Summers being played by James Marsden in the original films taking place in the near future and Havok being played by Lucas Till in "First Class," which takes place in 1962. Bryan Singer, who produced "First Class", commented that it wouldn't fit for Havok to be Cyclops' brother in the film universe but that the two characters share interrelations that may be revealed in other movies.



wolverine_1.jpgPhoto Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

4. Wolverine Is Much Shorter in the Comics

Hugh Jackman is synonymous with the character of Wolverine, having played him in multiple films for over a decade. While the X-Men films have gotten varied reviews and audience reactions, Jackman has always been widely praised for his dedicated performances as Logan. However, Hugh Jackman is 6 feet and 2 inches, meaning he's almost a foot taller than the Wolverine of comic book fame.

One of the comic character's defining characteristics is his shorter stature, standing at only 5 feet and 3 inches. His lack of height combined with his claws and natural ferocity make him much more animalistic than he has been portrayed in the films. Dougray Scott, who is slightly shorter than Jackman at 6 feet, was originally cast as Wolverine in the first X-Men movie, but he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. Jackman was so effective in the role that producers were willing to overlook his height and redefine the character physically for the cinematic adaptation.



x-men2.jpgPhoto Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

3. Mystique's Relationships with Rogue and Nightcrawler

The comic book history between Mystique, Rogue and Nightcrawler is much more complicated in the comics than it is in the films. The cinematic world of "X-Men" never established any previous connection with the three at all, while they remain intrinsically linked to each other in the comic book universe.

Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique and Azazel, with Mystique abandoning him at birth. Nightcrawler ended up being raised by circus performers, which is alluded to in the films. Mystique also adopted Rogue in the comics, recruiting her for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The films ignore this previous history, and "First Class" instead focused on a sibling-like relationship between Mystique and Charles Xavier.



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2. Professor Xavier's Paralysis

Both the comics and the films portray Charles Xavier in a wheelchair. However, the origins of his spinal injury remain very different. The comic book chronology states that Xavier was crippled in the Himalayas by an alien being named Lucifer, who dropped a stone block on him. While Xavier would regain and then lose the use of his legs multiple times after that in the comics, the stone block remains the source of the initial injury.

"X-Men: First Class" revealed a much different backstory. Moira MacTaggert, a friend of Charles in the film and the comics, attempts to shoot Magneto, who deflects the bullet. The round inadvertently strikes Charles in the back, paralyzing him. This set up a greater tension and drama between Charles and Magneto that could then be developed further in future films.



x-men-5.jpgPhoto Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

1. The "First Class" Lineup

The original X-Men in the comic books were Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Jean Grey and Beast. However, the original X-Men film takes place in the near future and featured Cyclops, Grey and Iceman. Angel was first seen in "X-Men: The Last Stand," which was the third film of the franchise.

"X-Men: First Class" was a prequel going back to the 1960s, so some of the original members in the comics could not be used as original members in the film due to the preexisting time line of the earlier movies. As a result, the original X-Men in the film universe were Mystique, Beast, Havok, Darwin, Angel Salvadore and Banshee.

"X-Men: First Class" was a prequel going back to the 1960s, so some of the original members in the comics could not be used as original members in the film due to the preexisting time line of the earlier movies. As a result, the original X-Men in the film universe were Mystique, Beast, Havok, Darwin, Angel Salvadore and Banshee. The X-Men movies have also taken this path, while trying to remain true to the themes, tone and intent of the original stories. Comic book mythologies also get overly complicated over time and often contradict themselves. The film universe is meant to be easily followed and understood, so audiences can watch the characters and story arcs develop over time as more films are released. While story and character changes are often controversial, there's no denying the film franchise's success at connecting with audiences around the world.