20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
If you were to name the most important X-Men characters, there’s no doubt that Professor X, Magneto, and Wolverine would top everyone’s list. They’re the heroes of the series, representing the different sides of the mutants vs. humans debate, and the key figures around which most of the stories revolve. However, one name that might not appear on very many lists, despite being arguably just as important as those characters is Kitty Pryde. That’s because despite being a vital member of the X-Men, Kitty’s time on the silver screen has been negligible at best.
Kitty was created in the early 1970s after John Byrne and Chris Claremont were told to add some actual students into their “School for Mutants.” In the 40 years since she first appeared in the comics, she’s grown from a precocious, intelligent kid sister figure to a full-fledged member of the team and a leader in her own right. At age 14, she was made the youngest member of the team; she’s been a central character and a key figure in some of the most famous stories in the X-Men mythology and she was, in fact, the driving force and the main character behind one the most iconic arcs in the comic’s run, Days of Future Past.
And yet, when it comes to the films, Kitty has spent much of the time being shunted to the side in favor of expanding other characters’ storylines. She only barely appeared in X-Men and X2, getting two brief cameos and being mentioned in passing by Professor X. Of course, when you’re attempting to condense decades of comic books and characters into a two-hour film, concessions need to be made, and so Kitty was sacrificed for some of the older, more iconic characters.
So it was a big deal when X-Men: The Last Stand was released, as it promised to give Kitty the starring role she had long deserved. Unfortunately, the bulk of her screen time was focused on the love triangle between her, Iceman, and Rogue, effectively reducing her character to a cute girl who came between one of the franchise’s most important couples. Instead of showcasing any of the interesting aspects of her character – her intelligence, her confidence, her abilities – or even featuring some of her journey from student to hero, Kitty was instead used as a plot device designed to come between the young lovebirds.
Kitty did get one moment of glory in The Last Stand, when she saved Jimmy/Leech from the Juggernaut and helped him escape from Alcatraz and the government officials who were using him to cure mutants. However, her heroism was overshadowed by the conflict between Professor X and Magneto, and Wolverine’s angst about having to kill Phoenix even though he loved her. Kitty’s actions were the catalyst for the resolution of the film and yet they’re often forgotten in the wake of Wolverine’s heartbreak or Magneto’s loss of powers.
Kitty Pryde deserves better than that. As a character, she’s had one of the most compelling and complete story arcs in the X-Men series. She started out a confused little girl, used primarily to be the foil to the older, more experienced X-Men, but she quickly grew into her powers and found a place on the team. Kitty was still a teenager when her older self went back in time and stopped the assassination that would have resulted in the destruction of the world and mutant race. She single-handedly took down terrifying villains, she learned to love and accept her fellow classmates, and she was routinely a vital part of major rescue missions and plots to defeat Magneto. She even had a pet dragon that she could communicate with telepathically, and if Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that the character with dragons is always the most exciting.
Even her relationships were more interesting and entertaining than anything the X-Men movies managed to come up with. She had a complicated on and off relationship with Colossus, one that spanned decades of comics and overcame their age difference, jealousy, alien healers, and even death. In each instance, Kitty asserts herself, choosing to pursue Colossus despite the obstacles in their way and putting herself first when she needs to. Neither one of them pine quietly after one another, only to be separated by forces beyond their control. It’s messy and complicated and allows both of them to take action and go after what they want, and Kitty is confident and tough throughout it all.
Her platonic relationships are just as interesting. In addition to her long-term friendships with the other mutant students, Kitty and Storm develop a close mother-daughter relationship; she becomes Wolverine’s favorite student and he becomes her mentor. They play a significant role in each other’s stories – they even starred in a spinoff series together – and it’s under his guidance that she begins to grow into the great hero she was meant to be. Since the film series is so intent of focusing every story on Wolverine, you’d think that his friendship with Kitty might come up once or twice, instead of her being stuck in the background while he broods.
Though she's no longer at the center of the story in X-Men: Days of Future Past, she is said to play a significant role in the film, one that establishes her as a vitally important character in the X-Men universe. It's an important step towards rectifying the way Kitty's been portrayed on screen, introducing fans who might not have read the comics to a key member of the team, and a complicated, compelling character who is more than just the "little girl who can walk through walls." The movie might still belong to Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto, but at least Kitty will finally get a moment in the spotlight.
And maybe, if we're lucky, she might even get a spin off film of her own one day. Kitty Pryde deserves it.
After an innovative, six-second tease that sent rabid comic book junkies into a frenzy earlier this week, the official trailer for The Wolverine has arrived online. Unlike the frantic editing of the Vine teaser debut, the new spot for the comic book blockbuster is cool and composed. Helmer James Mangold gracefully finds a new direction in which to take Hugh Jackman's iconic cinematic superhero.
Gracefully in terms of storytelling, that is. Don't worry: the movie delivers on the promise of "Wolverine fights ninjas," with the added bonus of Mangold finding a way to nuke his main character.
Check out the trailer, then jump into our full breakdown below, digging a bit deeper into some of the video's wilder moments.
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We pick up with Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan (Jackman) outside of a bar, looking wet, forlorn, and ready to belt a Jean Valjean number from Les Miserables. Clearly, life post-X-Men: The Last Stand has been rough on the gruff hero, as it has been for anyone who saw the trilogy capper back in 2006. But if he could bounce back to life after the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he can bounce back from the death of Jean Grey. And he will. As we learn in the trailer.
Meet Yukio (Rila Fukushima). In the arc from which The Wolverine takes its cues, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by the legendary Frank Miller, the mysterious woman comes to Wolverine's aid in the heat of battle. Here, she appears to recruit him for a mission, which, if it stays true to the source material, should involve some nasty Japanese gangsters and the protection of a new love interest for Logan, Mariko Yashida. Yukio may also have some secrets of her own. No spoilers!
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This is an image of Wolverine suffering from the blast of a nuke. A NUKE. Here, he's saving a younger version of Mariko's father Shingen from the explosion. Judging from the military base scene a few seconds earlier, this could be a sequence pulled straight from the history books. It appears to be a recreation of August 6, 1945, when the U.S. Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. As we know from X-Men Origins, Wolverine has been around since the Revolutionary War and fought in WWII. He could have been around to protect young Shingen.
Evidently, Shingen is pretty darn appreciative of Wolverine's actions on that fateful day. Sitting in a Pin Point Impression Needle Art Frame™ chair (did he get that at his local mall's science store?), Shingen gives Logan the opportunity of a lifetime: undo his mutation and allow him to be a mortal human being. Note: actor Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays Shingen in the film, is 53 years old. That's some amazing old age makeup!
Assisting in Shingen's continued medical care (and possibly Wolverine's reverse transformation into a regular joe) is Viper, played by Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy actress Svetlana Khodchenkova. Viper is an assassin who originated from the Captain America comics and wasn't part of the original Claremont/Miller storyline. But it never hurts to have an additional assassin in the cast.
Next: Hidden Cameos, Fight Scenes, and a Crazy Final Moment
We speculated when the six-second teaser arrived online whether Famke Janssen's appearance in The Wolverinewould be a flashback or newly shot material. It seems clear that it's the former, a memory that backs up Shingen's voiceover line "you have struggled long enough."
Sometimes, you have to take a moment and basque in the still-frames of badassness. With all the pitfalls of modern action filmmaking and the cluttered mess of a movie that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman has still got it. He's ripped, he kicks ass, and he can convincingly spar with fake claws glued to his hands.
Will Yun Lee is listed as Kenuichio Harada in the credits of The Wolverine, but savvy comic book fans know him better as The Silver Samurai, one of Wolverine's deadliest foes. Silver Samurai enters into Wolverine's Japanese exploits after he's finished with his entanglement with the Japanese underworld, but it makes sense that the movie would bump up his influence on the storyline and make him a main adversary. In the comics, Silver Samurai has also acted as a bodyguard for Viper, making his appearance even more necessary and rooted in the source material. The only thing this trailer doesn't serve up is a money shot of Yun Lee in the Silver Samurai costume — a traditional set of armor glistening and enhanced by sharp metal.
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"I've stopped healing." It's a line that flies by, but here, Wolverine comes to the realization that his usual scratch-be-gone genetics aren't working. Now he's just like us!
No, Wolverine isn't Superman now. He's been reduced to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible and zipping across the roof of a speeding train. With his angry face on.
One of the more intense sequences from Claremont and Miller's comic is Wolverine's first run in with ninjas. It doesn't go well. He might be tough, capable of slicing baddies in half with lightning speed, but these are ninjas who won't be close enough to our hero for more than a millisecond at a time. While we're looking forward to seeing Jackman kick some butt, we're also looking forward to seeing him get in over his head.
So, Viper may be an actual snakeperson. Sure, why not? This is X-Men! Viper wasn't actually a mutant in the comic books, but since she's running a genetics program for Shingen that's capable of undoing Logan's healing powers, it's no surprise she's used the same technology to beef herself up. Molting never looked so sexy.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox (12)]
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The next installment of the Wolverine film franchise has a title and it's short, sweet, and to the point. It's called, simply, The Wolverine.
In an interview with HitFix, director Darren Aronofsky not only announced the title, but said that it would be a "one-off" film. In other words, the movie will stand alone, without a number, not connected to the other movie(s) in any way. Basically, Aronofsky is giving a big ol' "screw you guys!" to anyone who's ever made an X-Men movie.
Beyond the title news, some story details have also emerged. According to ComingSoon, the script, written by Christopher McQuarrie, takes place in Japan. Logan (the real name for our adamantium-boned hero) begins a relationship with a Japanese woman who is, unfortunately, engaged. Being the unreasonable son-of-a-gun that Wolverine is, he won't take "no" for an answer, resulting in a battle with her father and samurai-sword-wielding brothers. McQuarrie based the script on the 1982 four-issue mini-series, written by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.
These are all exciting details. We already know that Hugh Jackman is pumped about the film (he's already beefing up for the role by eating piles of chicken breasts and broccoli), but it's really good to hear some actual talk from Aronofsky, not just rumors. With his latest film, Black Swan, already being touted as one of the year's best, I have confidence that the Brooklyn born auteur will give us the Wolverine that we've always wanted: dark, layered, and tormented. Giddy-up.
Source: HitFix, ComingSoon
Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan are bringing 4 new anime-style cartoons to television in 2011. Entertainment-themed network G4 will air all four of Marvel’s upcoming series, which center on franchise superheroes Iron Man, Wolverine, Blade, and the X-Men. Warren Ellis, comics extraordinaire behind Transmetropolitan, has been hired to “guide” each of the 12 episode series. The point of the series, other than the fun of giving everyone excuses to fight ninja and samurai, is to bring the heroes to Asian markets. And for some franchises, the move is easy; for instance, the series plans to adapt the famous Frank Miller/Chris Claremont run on Wolverine that brought the mutant to Japan.
The trailer for the Wolverine series has been around for a while, but as far as I know, the Iron Man trailer is brand new. The Wolverine one strikes me as a bit generic, (is there some sort of law that all anime must include cherry blossoms?) but the Iron Man trailer has robot pirates, so it’s not a wash yet.
Movie Trailers - Movies Blog
Here are Marvel’s official summaries for the four projects:
"Iron Man" In an effort to make amends for his weapons manufacturing past, Tony Stark has dedicated himself to building the world up rather than tearing it down. Traveling to Japan to build a new arc reactor that will deliver unlimited free energy to the Japanese people, Stark is challenged by the Japanese government and the media when he attempts to import the necessary nuclear priming device. And when the reactor-in-construction is repeatedly attacked by the mysterious Zodiac consortium, Stark must gather his allies to take on Zodiac and its mastermind.
"X-MEN" The X-MEN are reunited following the death of a teammate, and are summoned by Charles Xavier to Japan following the abduction of Hisako Ichiki (Armor). There, they confront the U-MEN, a lunatic cult that steals and transplants mutant organs to further strengthen their own army, and the battle for justice is on.
"Wolverine" Based on the popular graphic novel by Frank Miller, the series begins in Japan, where Logan is challenged by Shingen Yashida, the notorious leader of a powerful mafia clan. When Shingen's employee Yukio, a female assassin, falls out of Shingen's favor, she must kill him or be killed. Teaming up with Logan, the pair seek out the villain to exact their revenge.
"Blade" Eric Brooks -- known as Blade -- seeks revenge on Deacon Frost, the vampire lord who killed his mother while she was still pregnant with Eric. With all the powers of a vampire and none of their weaknesses, Blade's quest leads him throughout Southeast Asia in search of Frost, and, in Viet Nam, he discovers a vampire plot that threatens to take down the whole world.