Twentieth Century Fox's prequel to the X-Men franchise has added yet another relative unknown mutant character to its large cast. Seemingly picking and choosing characters from different stories and different time periods from the Marvel Comics, fans are very curious and arguably confused at the story direction of X-Men: First Class.
With many unfamiliar-to-the-mainstream characters filling out the ranks of First Class, it's emphasized further that the focus of Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn's next superhero flick will be on James McAvoy's Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender's Erik Lensherr characters, and less on the actual X-Men team. McAvoy and Fassbender of course are playing the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto respectively - the two most integral characters of X-history - and they will now be joined by the character known as Riptide.
The Spanish website Fotogramas reported that 30 year-old Álex González joined the cast of X-Men: First Class as the mutant called Tornado but an update sent to Comic Book Movie clarifies that he will be playing Riptide. In Marvel Comics, Riptide is a villainous character who works for Mr. Sinister's Marauders. His powers allow him to spin incredibly fast and to generate calcium deposits in the form of sharp objects for which he uses his speed to launch at enemies as spikes or shuriken-type projectiles.
While early rumors pointed towards Kevin Bacon's character potentially being Mr. Sinister, it was later confirmed that he would be playing Sebastian Shaw, making Riptide yet another unusual addition to the First Class roster.
With González being 30, he along with Edi Gathegi who's playing Darwin are quite a bit older than the younger Havok, Banshee and Beast who are played by actors in their late teens. As suggested by our pal David Bentley at The Geek Files, part of the plot of First Class may follow the Deadly Genesis storyline of the books where Gathegi's Darwin character is part of a special team charged with the mission of saving a team of X-Men characters on the island of Krakoa which included Havok and Beast (who will be in the film) along with Cyclops, Jean, Polaris and Angel who we are told are not in the film.
Fox is in fact location scouting Jekyll Island, off the coast of Georgia, so take that how you will. It's possible Riptide may be a part of that same team if that story thread is part of the X-Men: First Class. Otherwise, logic would point towards him being another villain of the film. Although, perhaps it's not logical to assume any of these characters are sticking to their comic roots.
Keeping that in mind when considering Matthew Vaughn's words about X-Men: First Class being a prequel, but also a quasi-reboot of sorts similar to what J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek, and time travel and/or alternate realities are not out of the question in explaining how all of these characters fit together.
As we hear more on the story and characters of First Class, we'll hopefully be able to hammer down some confirmations on the rumors and speculation.
X-Men: First Class opens June 3, 2011.