“It’s not their pain you’re afraid of. It’s yours, Charles. And as frightening as it can be, that pain will make you stronger. If you allow yourself to feel it, embrace it. It will make you more powerful than you ever imagined.” – Professor X, spoken to his younger self.
The X-Men have been one of the most dominant forces in first the comic book world, and now cinema. With multiple spin-offs produces, and more in production, it’s clear that the X-Men aren’t going anywhere but up.
Here are 42 extraordinary facts about X-Men.
X-Men were created by legendary comic book writer/artist team Stan Lee and Jack Kirby way back in 1963. 1963 also saw the debut of The Avengers, and The Amazing Spiderman. X-Men would go on to be one of the most iconic superhero teams of all time. To be fair, The Avengers are no slouches either.
41. Gold What?
X-Men have had many members throughout their history, but none quite as strange as the mutant Goldballs. What was his mutant power? Well, he shot gold balls from his body. No beating around the bush with this mutant’s name.
40. Russell Some Feathers
Russell Crowe was originally offered the role of Wolverine, but he decided to pass on iconic mutant. Instead, he suggested his friend and then little known actor Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman would go on to be Wolverine for 17 years.
Wolverine’s first appearance was actually in the incredible Hulk issue 180, all the way back in 1974. All the greats have humble beginnings.
There have been multiple story lines for the X-Men, with some not going so well for the beloved band of mutants. One such storyline involves Jubilee getting crucified along with many other younger mutants from Charles Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters.
37. Professor Picard?
In 1998 there was a crossover between X-Men and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The resemblance between Captain Picard and Professor X is even mentioned. Two years later, Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Picard would go on to play Professor X in the first X-Men movie.
36. Direct Us
When the first film was still in pre-production, many famous directors were considered to direct the big screen debut of the X-Men, including Robert Rodriguez and Tim Burton.
When X2, the second X-Men film was casting, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Nightcrawler. He would eventually lose the role to Alan Cumming.
34. Famous Requests
When the first X-Men film was still casting, both Michael Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal both wanted roles in the film.
33. Colossal Reveal
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Colossus is gay.
Beast started out looking human in appearance but having super strength and speed, but began to look more feline in appearance over time. He eventually became the furry blue mutant we know and love today.
Channing Tatum auditioned for the role of Gambit for X-Men: The Last Stand, but the character was cut from the film. Fear not, there’s rumors of a Gambit spin-off film in the works starring, you guessed it, Channing Tatum.
30. Tough Break
Gambit was supposed to make an appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse as well, but history tends to repeat itself and the character was once again cut from the final draft of the film. Channing Tatum would have been the one to play the smooth-talking mutant. Don’t give up, Channing. You’ll be a mutant one day…
29. Ground Breaking
Storm was the first ever female black superhero. She’s married to another black superhero that you might have heard of: Black Panther. She is also arguably the most famous female black superhero.
28. Dark Side
Beast has an alternate evil version of himself called Dark Beast. Once again, no beating around the bush with these mutant names.
27. Hail Mary
Nightcrawler is a devout Catholic, but didn’t start off that way. It’s unclear when he was switched over to Catholicism but it looks like his religious devotion is here to stay.
26. The Little Guys
Wolverine’s statistics have him listed as only 5’3” tall. Hugh Jackman, the actor who played Wolverine for the last 17 years is 6’1” tall. There’s even a Comic Con panel where Hugh mentions walking around dressed as Wolverine, and a fan called him out on his height.
25. Summer Time
Cyclops, a.k.a. Scott Summers may not be the most popular mutant in the X-Men family, but he is definitely popular with the ladies. Scott has been romantically linked to Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey), and Emma Frost. Not bad for a guy who has to wear sunglasses indoors.
24. Badge Of Honor
Wolverine was almost called the badger, another animal in the wolverine family tree. Wolverine was settled on because it is the largest of the badger family, and one of the fiercest animals on the planet. This decision was made years before the honey badger video went viral.
Early on in the comics, Professor X was revealed to be in love with a then-teenage Jean Grey. The storyline wasn’t received well and Marvel decided to discontinue it, and with good reason.
22. Like Family
Archrivals Magneto and Professor X were originally supposed to be brothers. For whatever reason, the two weren’t written as brothers. Instead, they just had a relationship akin to brothers, including the rivalry.
21. Merry X-Men
The original name for the iconic superhero team was slated to be the Merry Mutants, but the Marvel editors weren’t keen on it. Stan Lee then suggested the Mutants, but that also didn’t fly, which eventually lead to X-Men. Professor X says in the first issue that the team of mutants possesses powers that normal humans did not, henceforth they were called “X-Men, for Ex-tra power!”
20. Love Triangle
Both Scott Summers and James Howlett a.k.a. Wolverine are both in love with Jean Grey, and have been very competitive when vying for Jean’s love. As a result, the two hate each other with a passion.
Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 is the best-selling comic of all time, with over 7 million copies sold, and holds the Guinness World Record for most issues of a comic sold. Luckily for collectors, that many copies sold means getting your hands on one won’t cost an arm and a leg.
18. Sex Sells
Ethan Van Sciver hid the word sex on every page of The New X-Men #118. This was done as a commentary on society’s obsession with sex, and the subliminal use of sex to sell products. If the X-Men were real, they could have just used Xavier’s powers to mind control everyone into buying comics instead…
17. Rainbow Flags
The Astonishing X-Men featured the first ever gay Marriage in comic book history. A decade earlier, Northstar made headlines as the first ever openly gay superhero. Northstar was also the hero that got married. The marriage coincided with the Supreme Court voting to legalize gay marriage in America.
16. Famous Feud
The Avengers and X-Men have battled on multiple occasions. Though Marvel was positioning The Avengers to win, fans wanted X-Men to come out victorious. In the end Marvel caved to the fans, and the X-Men came out on top. Now, the only battling the two teams do is at the box office.
15. DC x Marvel
DC and Marvel had a crossover called Amalgam, which mashed up several of their superheroes together including Dark Claw (Batman/Wolverine), and Amazon (Storm/Wonder Woman). Of course the two most popular heroes, Batman and Wolverine get paired up together.
14. No Peeking
Bryan Singer, the director of X2, didn’t allow any of his cast to read X-Men comics to make sure they only played their characters according to the script. The cast eventually got around this by trading comics in secret under their trailer doors.
Bryan Singer on set of X-Men: Apocalypse.
Hugh Jackman revealed in an interview that the X-Men producers were pushing for Wolverine to have a cameo in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman in a non-speaking role. The cameo was scrapped because Wolverine’s suit couldn’t be found in time.
12. Titanic Destruction
DC’s Teen Titans once destroyed the famous X-Men mansion. When fired Uncanny X-Men writer Scott Lobdell was hired on to write for Teen Titans, he had Kid Flash inadvertently blow up a burning building that he was rescuing people from. The building was described as a mansion in Westchester County, the same location of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
11. Evil Twin
In The New X-Men, it was revealed that Professor X killed his twin sister in the womb with his mind, after he sensed her evil mind. Because of her psychic powers, she survived as cellular matter, and eventually returned, stealing her brother’s body and killing millions of mutants.
10. Turn Back Time
The psychic Emma Frost used her powers to revert Wolverine’s mind back to his child self. James Howlett lived a privileged life before his mutation’s appearance, so Wolverine’s child self hilariously spoke with a posh accent, and screamed at the sight of his own claws.
9. We Done?
Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers, had a stint as a writer for The X-Men, and was brought in by Bryan Singer to help rewrite the script for the first X-Men movie; but the only things from Whedon’s script that made the final cut of the film was a line from Storm directed at Toad, and Wolverine calling Cyclops a dick.
8. Dual Citizenship
Beast is also a full-fledged member of The Avengers, though he doesn’t appear in the big screen adaptations.
7. Alien Power
Zeitgeist, an X-Force* member, has the superpower of corrosive acid vomit that he can expel on command. We don’t think a barf bag would help. *X-Force is a spin-off of X-Men that takes a more militant and violent approach to their enemies.
6. Late Comer
The most famous member of the X-Men, Wolverine, didn’t join the team until ten years after the team first appeared. We’re all very glad that X-Men have a good recruitment policy.
Before switching over to the leather outfits shown in the movies, X-Men wore almost exclusively yellow and blue spandex. X-Men first class reintroduced the colour scheme, but left out the spandex. Spandex, not as popular as it once was, we’re looking at you 80’s.
4. On Ice
Despite being introduced later on in the films, Iceman was always a member of the X-Men. Talk about being left out in the cold.
3. Family Ties Pt 2
Professor X grew up in the house that would eventually become Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters with a step brother. That step brother would eventually go on to become The Juggernaut.
2. Left Out
Though she played a small part in X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Kitty Pryde is one of the leading heroes in the modern comics. She was even the headmistress of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters at one point, and even has a pet dragon named Lockheed. Mother of Dragons, anyone?
Most comic book fans know that Mystique is bisexual, and many people don’t realize she’s actually transgendered as well. She’s spent much of her life as a man. She’s also the mother of two famous mutants, Rogue and Nightcrawler.
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