Jubilee isn’t necessarily the X-Men member with the best reputation: she’s something of a relic of the 90s in her colorful and extremely dated yellow trenchcoat and pink shades, known for being a teenage sidekick with silly powers. It’s an image that has been hard for her to shake despite the ups and downs her character has gone through over the years. On the other hand, she’s a fun character with attitude to spare, and a positive force in a world that’s often pretty grim.
Jubilee will be making an appearance in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, her first on-screen appearance that’s more than a cameo. Played by Lana Condor, the cinematic Jubilee seems to play on that accepted image as the outlandishly dressed teen throwback, but with some key differences that set her apart from her comic counterpart. Before you get to know Condor’s Jubilee, take a look through her comic history with these 12 Things You Need to Know About Jubilee.
12. She’s a rich girl from Beverly Hills.
Superheroes come from all kinds of backgrounds, though they usually need a little trauma in their backstory to push them in the direction of doing good. Jubilee started off in a position of utmost privilege, though her life didn’t stay that way for long. Her real name is Jubilation Lee, which is pushing it even when it comes to comic book names, and she was a totally normal, if totally rich, Asian-American girl living happily with her parents in Beverly Hills for years before she ever found out she had powers.
Jubilee led a charmed life. She went to fancy private schools, was practicing to be an Olympic-level gymnast, and basically had everything she could ask for. Unfortunately for her, that didn’t last forever – her parents ended up losing all their money in the stock market. Then one night while she was out with friends, her parents were killed by a hitman. Jubilee lost everything all at once.
11. Her powers are kind of lame.
Jubilee is a mutant but she had no idea that she had any abilities until a high-stress situation led to them manifesting. She was being chased by a security team when she found out she could create “fireworks” with her hands, colorful lights that could cause minor distractions and damage. Jubilee could mold them into different fun shapes, which is great for a party trick but had the side effect of making her powers seem cutesy and non-threatening.
Writers throughout the years tried to bolster her powers’ lame reputation by increasing their strength to catastrophic conclusions. The “fireworks” she could create were actually “explosive plasmoids” that were capable of leveling a house if she lost control of them. If she really put her mind to it, her powers could even function with the same level of danger as an atomic bomb. But Jubilee was terrified of the kind of damage she could cause so she worked hard to prevent losing control.
10. She lived in a mall.
After the death of her parents, Jubilee was sent to an orphanage, but she didn’t remain there for long. She ran away as soon as she could and moved herself into that epicenter of all things 90s: the mall. That’s right, if you had any doubts as to the decade in which Jubilee came to be, then they are put to rest with that particular plot twist. With the mall as a major feature of teenage life, especially in the 80s and 90s, Jubilee’s decision to live there cemented her as the quintessential 90s teen.
While living there, Jubilee stole to survive and even used her powers to panhandle for cash. She didn’t escape notice for long, however, and her flashy abilities drew unwanted attention. A group of mutant hunters called M-Squad soon came after her and Jubilee was only able to evade them thanks to the intervention of the X-Men. That was Jubilee’s very first interaction with them and she was fascinated, even going so far as to sneakily follow them back to their base.
9. She has a close bond with Wolverine.
Still just a teenager, and one that was used to taking care of herself, Jubilee basically traded in one hideout for another. She followed the X-Men members home but didn’t want them to know she was there, instead living secretly in their base until she was forced to reveal herself. That came about because she saw Wolverine being attacked and jumped in to rescue him and tend to his wounds. It would be the start of a great friendship between the two that lasted decades.
Wolverine basically became Jubilee’s mentor and the two forged a father-daughter relationship. He introduces her to Professor X and the other X-Men, and also takes her along on adventures and missions, which is where her reputation as a sidekick came from. He would go on to be one of the most important people in Jubilee’s life, someone she could count on after losing everyone else she cared about.
8. She was a part of Generation X.
Generation X was a group of teenage mutants who formed their own team as an offshoot of the X-Men. They studied and practiced their powers at a second school for mutants in Massachusetts, different than the school run by Professor X; this one was in the hands of Banshee and Emma Frost. Her time in Generation X really allowed Jubilee to come into her own and she began to prove herself on multiple missions against numerous foes. Jubilee became known for her cool sarcasm and her brains, often putting all her experience as Wolverine’s mentee to good use.
Generation X also became the subject of a truly tragic made-for-TV movie of the same name in 1996. In addition to getting terrible reviews and being generally forgotten by fans, Generation X whitewashed Jubilee, taking away a huge part of the character when they erased her Chinese identity. The movie also removed Jubilee’s past, reinventing her as a brand new student at the school who had just learned about her powers (and who still had living parents).
7. She lost her powers on M-Day.
House of M was a storyline in the Marvel universe that followed the breakdown of mutant superhero Scarlet Witch that led to her using her reality-warping powers to bring about huge changes in the world. One such result was M-Day, an event in which Scarlet Witch caused the majority of mutants to lose their powers.
Understandably, this led to some serious identity crises among the affected mutants. Jubilee was one of them, and being stripped of the abilities that she had fought so hard to master had a profound effect on her. Even so, she didn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself – she took action. In her de-powered state, Jubilee continued to do whatever she could to help; she worked in a halfway house for mutants like herself that had lost their gifts. The ability to pick herself up and dust herself off after weathering a major blow became an important part of Jubilee’s character, and a quality that would serve her well in storylines to come.
6. She reinvented herself as Wondra.
Even after the events of M-Day, Jubilee remained as tenacious as ever; losing her powers wasn’t going to stop her from being a hero. She joined a group called the New Warriors, also comprised primarily of teenagers. Though she was still without her powers, Jubilee was able to use technology to gain new ones: namely, flight, super strength, and the ability to create force fields around herself. They weren’t quite as colorful as her old powers, but they allowed her to serve as a hero once again.
Despite that, Jubilee eventually left the New Warriors after disagreements with other people on the team. Though her powers were arguably more useful and effective during her time with the New Warriors, their generic nature also deprived her of her distinct Jubilee charm. There is definitely an aspect of nostalgia built in to Jubilee’s appeal, and reinventing her so totally just didn’t quite work.
5. She became a vampire.
As though she hadn’t been through enough, Jubilee suffered another major change to her powers and personality when she is infected with a virus that begins to turn her into a vampire. The virus was released as a terrorist act by a group of vampires with an eye towards infecting major figures. Once Jubilee started to turn, she was drawn toward the vampires’ lair, which was part of their plan; once they had her in their grasp, they could expect a rescue mission of key X-Men like Wolverine, who they could also turn into vampires.
It goes according to plan, and Jubilee herself bites Wolverine when he comes to get her. However, his healing factor allowed him to overcome the vampire virus. Jubilee wasn’t so lucky. Robbed not only of her trademark powers but also her bubbly, optimistic personality (being turned into a vampire against one’s will can make a girl pretty angry), she was getting farther and farther from the Jubilee fans knew and loved.
4. She was a big part of the 90s cartoon.
Jubilee played a major role in the 90s cartoon X-Men: The Animated Series, where she fulfilled her role as Wolverine’s sidekick and surrogate daughter. She was in full on classic Jubilee mode: dressed in her traditional loud outfit and equipped with her firework powers. There were some notable changes made to her background, however; gone was the homelessness and mall living, replaced with details borrowed from another X-Men character (and another protégée of Wolverine), Kitty Pryde.
Instead of Jubilee’s tragic past, the animated series had her being taken from her foster home by Cyclops after the emergence of her powers – which still came about while she was at the mall, though under less tense circumstances. Jubilee, ever the mall rat, was playing an arcade game when she accidentally blew it up, hinting at the more dangerous side of her explosive abilities. Despite the slight tweaks to her character, the animated version of Jubilee is likely the one many fans remember best.
3. She’s a single mom.
Jubilee is still a vampire, but she was able to persevere and get a hold on her bloodier urges enough to take on the next big challenge in her life: motherhood. Growing up an orphan gave Jubilee an understandable soft spot for others like her, so when she crosses paths with an abandoned, orphaned baby, she decides to take responsibility for him. She brings him to the X-Men because she had such a positive experience building a family with them.
Jubilee bonds with the baby, whom she names Shogo, and decides to adopt him. His family is nowhere to be found, so he doesn’t really have anyone else to take care of him besides Jubilee. Despite not being a mutant (that we know of), Shogo will be raised alongside the X-Men, who are clearly a pretty welcoming group, considering Jubilee isn’t a mutant anymore either. He fits in right away, even going for beach trips with Wolverine and his new mom – under an umbrella to shield her from the dangerous sun, of course.
2. She had cameos in the previous X-Men films.
Jubilee has appeared in three of the X-Men movies (X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and X-Men: The Last Stand) but all of her appearances were lost on the cutting room floor. She was played by a few different actresses and mostly functioned as an extra who particularly eagle-eyed fans might catch in the background.
Played by Katrina Florece in the first X-Men film, her only speaking part involved a conversation with Kitty Pryde and Rogue that ended up being a deleted scene. In X2 she was portrayed by Kea Wong and, once again, her few lines of spoken dialogue were ultimately deleted from the final film. Jubilee was almost cast in X-Men: Days of Future Past, with Jamie Chung rumored for the part, but that merely resulted in some concept art and never moved any further. The upcoming X-Men film marks the first time since the made-for-TV Generation X that Jubilee will actually have something to say on film.
1. She will be played by Lana Condor in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Early images of Lana Condor as Jubilee evoke the classic image of the character in her trademark outfit, though the time period has been shifted a little earlier to the 80s. Her abilities have also had a slight upgrade: they’ll be more electric. Her age has also been adjusted to make her a contemporary and friend of X-Men like Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler. But it seems her positive attitude will be firmly in place, with Condor saying that Jubilee, “also serves as kind of comedic relief at times when things are – might be a little more tense.” Jubilee also won’t be a newbie; she’s been in the X-Mansion for at least a decade by the time the film starts, which must be most of her life considering she’s just a teen.
X-Men: Apocalypse will be Condor’s film debut, and it seems like an auspicious start for a young actress. Previously, Condor’s work has been in stage and dance; she’s a trained ballerina who attended the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School.
Did we forget any facts about Jubilee? Let us know in the comments!