People love the X-Men. With the promise of them returning to Marvel Studios thanks to the Disney/Fox deal, fans are more excited about the future of the franchise than ever.
This year’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix will mark the seventh entry in the movie franchise, which isn’t even including mutant-related spinoffs like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, and Logan.
These characters first made the leap to the big screen eighteen years ago and have never slowed down since. Even before that, X-Men was one of the most popular comics of the ‘90s, not to mention the huge success of the toys and cartoon.
In the world of Marvel, X-Men is a brand unto itself. It’s a huge part of pop culture. Because of this, whether fans watch the movies, cartoons, or simply just know about these characters as general pop knowledge, there are a lot of misconceptions and things that people often get wrong.
This is only natural, as not everyone can go back and read every comic storyline and many just don’t have the interest in the source material in general. Movies and TV shows are always the easiest way to ingest these concepts and get a general understanding of the characters.
Given this, it’s worth running down some of the biggest misconceptions people have about the comic, the team and their world.
Here are the 15 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About The X-Men.
15 Rogue didn’t start out as a good guy
For fans of both the movies and especially the cartoon, Rogue is one of the most crucial, core X-Men ever. She’s a mainstay of the team and is often one of the first characters that come to mind when people think of Marvel’s mutants.
Depicted in the movies as a teen runaway, Rogue didn’t actually start out as a hero. When she first appeared in the comics, it was as an Avengers villain, working under her adoptive mother Mystique as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Obviously, she reformed at some point and wound up joining the X-Men, but it took a long time for her to gain their trust, with some even wondering if she was a spy sent by Mystique.
Eventually, she did win the trust of the team and became a core member. In recent years, she has also served as an Avenger as well.
14 Wolverine’s not only short, but also not that handsome
As upset as fans were when Hugh Jackman first got cast as Wolverine, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role at this point. He was the Han Solo of the comic book movie.
Wolverine was a rogue, a dashing and dangerous rebel who pretended not to care but always came around to doing the right thing. These are qualities inherent to the character, but Wolverine has never had the movie star good looks that people have come to associate him with.
Everyone knows by this point that he’s much shorter in the comics than the movies, but he’s also not that great looking in general. A kind of toady wild man, women would even note in the comics that he wasn’t the most handsome man they’d ever seen, but would usually wind up hooking up with him, regardless.
13 Nightcrawler isn’t Mystique’s only child
While the movies have yet to cover it, Nightcrawler is indeed Mystique’s son. It certainly makes sense, considering that they look very similar. However, he’s not her only kid.
After abandoning her son when he was born and leaving Nightcrawler to be raised in the circus, Mystique became the adoptive mother of Rogue. Technically, Nightcrawler and Rogue are half-siblings. However, she is also the mother of Graydon Creed, a human, leader of the mutant hate group, Friends of Humanity.
Despite his hatred for mutantkind, both of Creed’s parents are mutants. His father is none other than another of the X-Men’s most dangerous enemies, Sabretooth.
While people with a casual interest in the comics have picked up on the Nightcrawler/Mystique connection, most are unaware that there are so many other major characters that are part of this family as well.
12 Not every member is a mutant
While the X-Men are a team formed to fight for mutant rights and the vast, vast majority of them are mutants, there have been a few members over the years who actually aren’t.
Both Longshot and Fantomex are technically man-made creations. They’re not androids, but genetically engineered beings rather than people who were simply born with the X-Gene. Then there are characters like Hepzibah, Lockheed, Lilandra, and Broo who are all extraterrestrials.
Both Warlock and Danger are essentially sentient computer programs, and even Juggernaut himself has been an X-Man from time to time. While some of these characters are mutations in their own way, they’re definitely not people who were born with the X-Gene and simply activated their dormant powers at puberty, as is the case with most X-Men.
11 Apocalypse isn’t naturally that powerful
While Apocalypse is widely regarded as the first mutant and is one of the most dangerous of all time, his nearly limitless power isn’t all natural. He wasn’t born as god-like as he appears to be.
Apocalypse transfers his consciousness into host bodies, accumulating more and more power over time, as seen in the movie. What fans didn’t see in the movie, though, is that much of his power— as well as his armor— also comes from Celestial technology.
At least some of his godly powers come from the fact that his ship and much of his tech were literally created by beings that are, for all intents and purposes, the gods of the Marvel universe.
While he is without a doubt powerful in his own right, it’s the enhancements he’s undergone over the years that really make him as all powerful as he typically appears to be.
10 Magneto didn’t help form the X-Men
It’s true that Magneto and Xavier were great friends who shared a passion for their fellow mutants. All of that is true. However, thanks to X-Men First Class and even the backstory given in the very first X-Men movie, people always tend to assume that it was the fallout between the two that led to the creation of the team, but that’s not really the case.
Xavier and Erik severed ties before he formed the group, but Magneto was actually the very first villain the young heroes faced on their first-ever assignment in X-Men #1.
In this first comic, Magneto was much more of a traditional villain terrorist, although his ideals were basically there, they just got refined more and more over time. The backstory of the friendship between Charles and Erik developed years later, but became the central relationship that the whole world of X-Men still revolves around, in many ways.
9 Juggernaut is not a mutant
The unstoppable Juggernaut typically lives up to his name. He’s been a mainstay X-Men villain for decades, even if he’s reformed a bit in recent years. He made an appearance in the very first X-Men cartoon, “Pryde of the X-Men” as a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
He also joined the Brotherhood in his live-action debut, X-Men: The Last Stand. Because of these things, people tend to just assume Juggernaut is a mutant himself, but he’s actually not.
Cain Marko’s powers were granted to him when he uncovered a mystical ruby known as the Gem of Cytorrak. It granted him with incredible physical power, allowing him to be the perfect opposite of his half-brother, Charles Xavier.
Professor X is one of the most powerful minds in the world, while Juggernaut is nothing more or less than an unstoppable physical force.
8 Wolverine & Sabretooth Aren’t Actually Related
Wolverine and Sabretooth have always had a bit of a brotherly relationship. They’ve been friends, they’ve been bitter rivals, they’re always trying to one-up the other and have always gotten under the other’s skin, even when they’ve been on the same side.
In that respect, it made at least some kind of sense for the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine to actually make them brothers. Because of this, as well as the nature of the characters and their interactions, people frequently assume that they’re actually related.
They’re not, though. Sabretooth was simply a friend and colleague of Wolverine when they were in Department H together, before undergoing the Weapon X treatment.
Like Professor X and Magneto, they were friends who drifted apart. With Sabretooth, though, it wasn’t a matter of opposing views so much as his bloodthirsty instincts growing out of control.
7 Iceman is Way More Powerful Than You Think
For a long time, Iceman was mostly just known as the ice guy. Even now, that’s how most people see him. He’s the one with the ice powers. When most people think of X-Men outside of the main, core few members, they think of their abilities first and foremost.
Some powers, like healing or mind control or controlling all metal, sound as big as they are. When one thinks of Storm, they know how powerful she is because the ability to control the weather is a massive power. Iceman’s doesn’t sound as big.
For a good chunk of the X-Men’s history, even Iceman himself wasn’t aware of how powerful he truly was. He continues even now to find new uses and applications of his abilities as he comes to grips with the notion that he’s actually one of the most powerful mutants on the planet.
6 Beast wasn’t always a genius
When people think of Beast, they think of the guy who looks like an animal but has the mind of a scholar. That’s the very poetic, fascinating character that Beast became overtime. However, that wasn’t always who he always was.
When he was first introduced, Beast was the muscle. His apelike proportions allowed him to be both incredibly strong and incredibly agile, and there wasn’t a ton of scientific knowledge on display. He was primarily a prankster.
Over time, more and more of Beast’s scientific side took center stage, but it took over a decade for him to truly become the version of Beast that everyone has in their head thanks to the cartoon, movies and modern comics.
When Beast helped formed X-Factor, they even had him lose his vast intelligence so that he would match up with his original incarnation, as so much had changed by that point.
5 X-23 didn’t originate in the comics
Thanks to the success of Logan, more people are aware of Wolverine’s young, female clone than ever before. While the movie takes liberties with her character, the basics— that she was created from Logan’s blood by Zander Rice— are more or less intact.
What many people don’t know, however, is that she didn’t actually originate in the comics. She’s sort of like the Harley Quinn of the X-Men world in that she was created for a cartoon and simply made such an impact that she quickly got added into the comic world.
In this case, it was X-Men: Evolution in which the young heroine made her debut. The show was geared toward capturing more of the teenage audience, so introducing a younger, teenage counterpart to Wolverine made a lot of since. Even when the show was canceled, people wanted to see more of this character and now she’s made it into the movies.
4 Wolverine has lost his healing factor a lot
Even though he’s been dead in the comics for the last few years and even though he met an emotionally impactful end in last year’s Logan, people tend to think of Wolverine as completely indestructible.
His healing factor should allow him to live forever, which is why they think of him as this character who should theoretically win any fight he ever gets himself into.
However, the truth is that the comics have always been intimately aware of this, so to keep the stakes fresh, Wolverine has wound up losing his ability to heal several times over the years.
Even two of the movies have dealt with Logan dealing with a lessened healing factor— both The Wolverine and Logan revolve around the idea of Wolverine becoming vulnerable and facing his own mortality.
3 Timelines are even more screwed up than you think
While fans were excited at the prospect of the X-Men movies fixing some of their past mistakes, people were nonetheless jarred by the retcon at the end of Days of Future Past. Ever since, people have been trying to make sense of how the timeline has changed and how those changes affect standalone features like Deadpool and Logan.
However, in the comics, things have gotten way more screwed up than one simple change of timeline. There have been a couple of Days of Future Past events, plus Age of Apocalypse, plus the fact that the original teenage X-Men were transported into the present where they have remained for a few years now.
There are no shortage of bizarre X-Men timelines, in fact there are probably too many to count by this point.
2 Mystique is much more of an anti-hero than an actual villain
While many have criticized the more recent X-Men movies for taking Mystique in a more heroic direction, there has been some precedent for that in the comics.
At the very least, her interpretation in Days of Future Past as a shadowy crusader for mutant rights does keep very much in line with her character. Seeing her actually leading the X-Men as shown in Apocalypse is a bit more of a stretch.
Even when she was running the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, though, Mystique was always trying to fight for her fellow mutants. Her ideals are similar to Magneto’s, though she often shows a perfect willingness to play both sides in order to get what she wants.
In recent years, she’s often worked alongside the X-Men, and in her solo series she carried out missions for Professor X himself. She was even a member of the X-Men for a time.
1 The phoenix force is not a part of Jean Grey’s power
Even though X-Men: The Last Stand was far from the most well-received of the franchise, the concept of the Phoenix has stayed in people’s minds. Even people with no knowledge of comics have heard of the Phoenix Saga, even if they don’t know exactly what it was about.
Given the way Jean was treated in Last Stand, many assume that the Phoenix really is nothing more than an alter-ego or an extension of her power. After all, the fact that Xavier did tamper with her mind to hinder her powers is a part of the original comic arc.
However, the Phoenix itself is a cosmic force that recognizes Jean’s power and chooses her as its host. She is incredibly powerful on her own, but it makes her powers virtually limitless, allowing Jean to basically do whatever she can think of.
When this power goes unchecked, though, like when she succumbed to it and became Dark Phoenix, it also proved that she could unleash serious catastrophe, such as the destruction of entire planets.
Can you think of any other things that most people get wrong about the X-Men? Sound off in the comments!