Is ‘X-Men: First Class’ Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated April 13th, 2011 at 7:04 am,

x men first class trailer Is X Men: First Class Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

Ever since the first details of X-Men: First Class started hitting the Net, fans have either been wary or downright upset about the film, claiming that it is presenting the origins of the X-Men in a manner that is seemingly dismissive of the continuity established in X-Men comic books, or even the X-Men movie trilogy.

While the X-Men: First Class trailer and recent Russian trailer have both served to sway some fans over to the possibility that First Class may in fact turn out to be a good film (against all odds), there is still a substantial amount of concern about the movie’s plot, and how seemingly different it is.

Yesterday I was writing an article questioning whether or not Hollywood should cater to the fan community when it comes to superhero movies, and in that process, I found myself focusing on the case of X-Men: First Class in some detail. As I dug into the topic, one question quickly emerged: Is the plot of X-Men: First Class as far removed from the comics as some fans seem to think it is?

In case you aren’t yet aware, here’s complete breakdown of which actors are playing which roles in X-Men: First Class. Click on any name for more info on the character:



We know that this First Class movie has been described by director Matthew Vaughn as a quasi-reboot of the X-Men franchise – one whose center would be the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr and how a rift formed between the two men, leading to the warring factions of Magneto’s brotherhood and Xavier’s X-Men. In the film, Magneto is seemingly a part of Xavier’s school, teaching young mutants to master their powers. This is, of course, also part of X-Men comic book canon. In fact, Magneto was the first headmaster of Jr. X-Men squad The New Mutants, until the loss of several team members and continuous conflict ultimately turned him away from Xavier’s school and pacifist ideals.

x men first class professor x and magneto Is X Men: First Class Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

Frenemies Xavier and Magneto

There are hints that X-Men: First Classhistory-meets-comic-books storyline is also drawing from Ed Brubaker’s miniseries X-Men: Deadly Genesis, which retconned the classic story told in Giant-Size X-Men #1, the issue that brought fan-favorites like Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus into the X-Men fold. In that story, the first class of X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, Angel) were sent to investigate and island called Krakoa; however, upon arriving there, they are ambushed and captured. Only Cyclops escapes, but seemingly has no memory of his ordeal. He and Professor X recruit new X-Men (Wolverine, Storm and others) to save the captured team members. On the return trip, they discover the island is in fact alive, having gained sentient life as a result of Cold War A-bomb tests in the area. Krakoa is beaten, and the combined team of X-Men is formed.

X-Men: Deadly Genesis “re-imagined” the X-Men’s Krakoa mission by introducing the story of the “Lost X-Men,” a team of mutants tutored by Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne in the film) and psychically trained by professor Xavier. The Lost X-Men’s first mission was to rescue the original X-Men from Krakoa, but the team was only able to save Cyclops and seemingly perished in the line of duty. This “Lost X-Men” team included Darwin (Edi Gathegi), an elemental-powered X-Man (Riptide (Alex Conzalez) instead of Petra) and a new Summers brother (a re-imagined Havok (Lucas Till) instead of “lost” Summers brother, Kid Vulcan).

Brubaker’s “Deadly Genesis” story even features a young Emma Frost graduating from stripper to queen of the Hellfire Club; she was approached to join the Lost X-Men, but turned the offer down. Ultimately, the demise of these Lost X-Men proved too traumatic, and Professor X used his power to wipe the memory of the encounter from the minds of those involved.

X Men Deadly Genesis Is X Men: First Class Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

The Lost X-Men

Clearly there is room to suggest that the inclusion of characters like Darwin, Riptide – and to a certain extent, Havok – could be First Class‘ tweaked version of the Lost X-Men team. Having a roster of essentially expendable characters would also negate the problem of why the old X-Men in Vaughn’s film would have little influence on the newer X-Men presented in Bryan Singer’s films: Hard for the old class to influence the new class if most of the old class is dead…

It would be especially interesting to see Xavier and Magneto try to lead a young generation of X-Men, only to have the children meet a grisly fate trying to play hero – a trauma which would potentially cause Magneto to split from Xavier (like in New Mutants). Will that mission be to stop (or save) Krakoa, the mutant island? Judging by some early set photos it’s possible…but all the same, it’s unlikely that this film would go so far as to feature a living island as the villain. (Unlikely, not impossible.)


How the Hellfire Club factors into this…


sebastian shaw emma frost hellfire club x men first class movie Is X Men: First Class Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

Our own Rob Keyes has already envisioned a more likely scenario – one that could mesh the Lost X-Men mythos with the early history of the Hellfire Club’s inner circle. As told in the comics, the inner circle’s leader, powerful businessman Edward Buckman (possibly the role Ray Wise plays in the film?) and his partner Steven Lang (possibly Oliver Platt’s role in the film?) enact “Project Armageddon,” a program designed to destroy mutants (through the use of The Sentinels in the comics – not sure if that exact doomsday scenario would carry over to the film).

The X-Men ultimately defeated Project Armageddon; meanwhile, Inner Circle member Sebastian Shaw (a mutant himself) overthrew Buckman with help from allies like Emma Frost, and ultimately seized control of the Hellfire Club. Soon after breaking away from Xavier’s school, Magneto ousted Shaw as leader of the New York Hellfire Club and established himself as “The Grey King,” using the club as a base from which to raise his Brotherhood for the coming war against humans. Magneto was also responsible for sinking a Soviet sub armed with nuclear warheads (a sequence that is referenced in the First Class trailer).

See where we’re going with all this?

x men first class emma frost sebastian shaw hellfire club Is X Men: First Class Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

Shaw (Bacon) and Frost (Jones) planning Hellfire domination?

The “Project Armageddon” scenario is certainly evidenced by the not-so-subtle wording of the X-Men: First Class official synopsis, as well as by hints that both Kevin Bacon and January Jones have dropped about their respective roles in the film. It would also be a very practical approach, one that could allow Xavier, MacTaggert and Magneto to train a young team of X-Men for a mission – one that costs the lives of some of their students – while still allowing for the subplot of The Hellfire Club’s power grab, and even Magneto’s eventual takeover of the Club (as hinted at in the Russian trailer). I’m especially interested in the psychic action sequences Vaughn has described, which could be the same sort of psychic training Xavier gave the Lost X-Men in Brubaker’s Deadly Genesis miniseries.

Best of all: The Lost X-Men angle, and Xavier ultimately wiping that incident from memory, would also be the perfect hinge that connects X-Men: First Class to Bryan Singer’s X-Men – arguably even Wolverine – without a whole lot of continuity knots.

Havok X Men First Class 570x380 Is X Men: First Class Closer to The Comic Books Than Fans Think?

Is Havok the new Kid Vulcan?

While the plot details of X-Men: First Class are still largely unknown, there are plenty of hints in the trailers and images suggesting that bits and pieces of established X-Men comic book cannon are being used for this film, and that the story is not the “bastardization” of the X-Men comics that a lot of fanboys have been claiming.

Are there liberties being taken? Certainly. In the comics Havok is Scott Summer’s younger brother, but Lucas Till’s character in the film would be much older than James Marsden’s Cyclops from Bryan Singer’s X-Men. But in the larger scheme of things would it really be a deal-breaker to make “the lost Summers brother” Havok instead of Kid Vulcan? I don’t think so.

Does the notion of X-Men: First Class drawing its story from the comics make you more open to the film? Or is it still too different from the source material for your liking?

X-Men: First Class will be in theaters on June 3rd.

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  1. I dont think Kofis trying to make the fans thinkk they are wrong.
    He just believes there might be a method to the madness and he might be right.

  2. Sounds interesting. I’m getting soil more interested in this story. Maybe fix should hire you to be head of their public relations/ marketing department. lol

  3. Great article. You bring up some interesting facts due to your research. I had no idea about the Lost X-men, so you might just have something there. Good job.

  4. I have given up on Hollywood staying true to comics. I’ve learned to accept their adaptations and find what works and what doesn’t. Much like novels made to movies there are many that stand alone as great movies regardless of the fact they fall short of the original story. To expect something as complex and involved as a movie or even a series to follow – to a ‘T’ as many fanboys would expect – is purely ridiculous. Iron Man and it’s sequel (in my opinion) were great movies regardless of the fact they took liberties. Those liberties worked to make that series shine as an example of Hollywood getting it right. I was appalled at the decision to turn Deadpool into… what ever the hell that was but that decision didn’t rest on one man or woman’s shoulders. It came down to producers, studio execs, the director, and possibly the actors involved. Comic books and graphic novels, for the most part, are incredibly convoluted and often times don’t make any sense or follow continuity. And though many people may be involved in the handling and creation of those stories, it is nothing compared to the sheer mass of Hollywood whoevers that create just one 2+ hour movie. Given that it’s little surprise that the movies can be just as big a convoluted mess filled with soap opera moments and “really, that’s what you’re deciding to go with?” scenes.
    X-Men failed on an incredibly large amount of levels and only continued to do so as the sequels progressed, so a revamp may be their best bet. It is a movie, regardless of it’s source, and I will watch it with those eyes. This movie, based on the trailer, may have a chance to build on a strong set of characters and stories. But I have little doubt it’ll stand up against the might of the Avengers project or the movie counter parts that go along with that. If the people behind X-Men could communicate and work together like the various directors/execs/scriptwriters/etc working towards Avengers then this could head in a direction of a strong movie series.
    Now, as far as pleasing fanboys – never going to happen. The closest I’ve seen to happy fanboys was back when The Crow came out. And that isn’t bashing fanboys. These works are sacred in a lot of ways and there just isn’t any way to get it right. The bottom line, for every The Crow there will be a Spawn to ruin it. For every X3 there will be an Iron Man to get hopes up. For every Ang Lee’s Hulk there will be a need to revamp it and hopefully get it right (Batman anyone?). Obviously, comic books in Hollywood are a long way from being dead (what with Deadpool in the talks, the upcoming Avengers lead-ins, Batman: Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man revamps, The Goon, Priest, DareDevil talks, Preacher talks and on and on) so it might be in everyone’s best interest to separate the movies from them altogether in our heads.

    • @ airbrushist

      To be honest, i never expected Hollywood to be true or faithful to the comics. Never will be that way. Every film ive seen whether it’s Batman or Superman related had things not accurate. Both Burton’s & Nolan’s films had things that were accurate in the comics but at the sametime had things that were not. Same with the Christopher Reeve films. With people’s different opinions, doubtful there could a perfect comic book based film that could even be considered 100% true & faithful to the comics because of all the comics & novels people would have opinions on. I had a co-worker ask me which i liked more between DC & Marvel comics and i simply told him i could decide. But like my friends, i agree with them that DC have well-respected/better heroes in their comics but Marvel’s comics have better stories for their characters. Least of all imo X-men which i liked as my #1 favorite Marvel comic property.

    • I would like for these movies to find a path and stick to it but, the producers and the studio really seem not to care as long as tickets keep getting sold. Which is totally understandable, it’s a business not high art.

      The problem at this point with the movies and I think Singer is that he has taken this stance that he can’t follow the comic to the letter, which pretty much everyone agrees on. Then he himself and the other directors,writers, etc. have pretty much made movies that are supposed to be some “trilogy” and spin-off franchise and they have not kept any control over their own product. And now the line of thinking that fans are trying to help come up with is the fact they are using comic stories that were done out of context, which goes against them not following the comics to the letter, unless it suits there need for lack of continuity.

      I can honestly say that I don’t know if I would have been super excited about a whole movie about the original X-Men team on it’s own but, if they are going to use a convoluted retcon version of the classic 75 story about the drafting of the new team, why not use the actual good original version and give the fans what they want and reset the series properly ?

      Right now they have Xavier, Magneto, Beast and a mixed bag of characters that span too many different books and time lines and if their track record with how they handled the characters in the first three films are any indication half of them will show up with no explanation and leave the same way. Then what another movie after that with some more characters they collect up from the books ?

      I also find it funny they are using characters with either similar powers to previous characters like Azazel and Havoc and Mystique yet again since the FX boys already had that stuff down pat ;)

  5. I’m shaking my head on this. I have got to be a total philistine or something by the standards of the what I’m reading here.

    If you don’t like how studios are treating your precious properties, then I suggest instead of whining about it, get together with some like minded people and push your way into the system and show them what a true and properly respectful film would look like. Of course, that requires effort.

    People, this is about one thing, and one thing ONLY. Making money. I’ve written script treatments before, and it’s not fun tearing apart what you love to make it fit for he screen. As a hard working capitalist who’s going to pay hard cash to plunk my wide ass down in front of a screen with horridly unhealthy movie popcorn and horrendously overpriced sugar/salt water I want it to be enjoyable, fast, and look somewhat similar to what I vaguely remember from my youth.

    Slavish adherence to canon? Which canon? They comics can’t even be bothered to stick with it themselves. Dark Phoenix was when I was a greasy-eared KID! Cyclops should be 68 or older, Jean should be 70. Ain’t no one bitching about that.

    Make it look good, tell a good story, be internally consistent, and be fun and slightly smart. If it challenges me, all the better. What I see so far looks brain dead and fun.

    Cool. I’m there.

  6. The problem is he messed up proffesor x’s handicap im fine with the retcon but dont mess with how a character already was