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X-Men: How Cyclops' Visor Works (& Could It Really Exist?)

Tye Sheridan as Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse

Here's how X-Men character Cyclops famous visor works and if the science behind it checks out. The X-Men were co-created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee with the comic debuting in 1963. The concept involves a world where people are born with mutant genes, granting them special powers and abilities. A mutant called Charles Xavier runs a school for young mutants and also assembles a team dubbed the X-Men to fight both evil human and mutant forces. The comic featured a great roster of characters, including Storm, Wolverine, Rogue, Beast, and many others. In addition to being a fun adventure comic, it also tackled issues like racism and bigotry through the humans vs mutants subtext.

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The original X-Men movie would spend years stuck in development hell, but the resulting 2000 movie would be a big hit on a relatively modest budget for a blockbuster. The franchise would blossom over the next 20 years but for every hit like X-Men: Days Of Future Past there would be a dud like X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The series also spawned a number of spinoffs, including the Deadpool movies and the upcoming The New Mutants. The latter is also likely to be the final movie set in the original X-Men movie universe, with the property set to be rebooted in the MCU.

Related: How Mission: Impossible II Cost Dougray Scott Wolverine

One character who got something of a raw deal in the X-Men movies was Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops. James Marsden (Westworld) played the character in the original trilogy, but he was often sidelined in favor of Wolverine and was controversially killed offscreen in 2006's The Last Stand. Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One) took over the role for prequels X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, though Scott's portrayal in those entries also received mixed notices. Cyclops can emit powerful energy beams from his eyes and was one of the founding members of the X-Men. In order to direct his blasts though, he needs his Cyclops visor.

Scott needs to wear his visor constantly to keep his powers under control as his skin absorbs solar energy. The Cyclops visor has a lens made of ruby-quartz, and he's an expert in control the intensity of his optic blasts; they can vary in strength from shooting a gun out of someone's hand to blasting a hole through a building. When he's not wearing the visor he dons glasses with ruby-quartz lens and he can prevent the energy shooting out by just closing his eyelids. Scott is afraid of his own power and losing control, which is why he often keeps an uptight demeanor.

While mutant powers and the ability to fire lasers from one's eyes obviously don't exist, could something like Cyclops visor really exist? Well, not really, as this Lasers Today article quickly dismantles the science behind Scott's visor. Ruby-quartz, for instance, would actually make for a pretty bad substance to keep laser powers at bay as it crumbles easily. The force of the blast from Scott's eyes would also likely result in a broken neck every time he tried to fire it - which doesn't sound like a helpful superpower. The X-Men comics got their basis in science from the 1960s, where the first working laser was a ruby laser that was fired in 1960. This may have been the inspiration for the Cyclops visor, and the science behind his optic blasts would be retconned in later years to make it a little more plausible.

Next: How The X-Men Prequels Wasted Lucas Till's Havok

Key Release Dates
  • New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
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