Scott Summers had an important role in the first X-Men film as the team’s leader, but the following films diminished his importance in favor of spotlighting Wolverine, and eventually he was killed off. X-Men: Days of Future Past at least somewhat remedied this by reviving him, but that doesn’t really make up for years of just making him come across as a dick. It’s unclear we’ll see the adult version of the character again, but at least fans will get to see Cyclops used more substantially next year when X-Men: Apocalypse explores his teen years studying under Professor X.
Unfortunately, the Emma Frost seen in X-Men: First Class (as opposed to the Emma seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) was nowhere near the fleshed-out character her comic book counterpart is. The woman was reduced to being Sebastian Shaw’s scantily-clad underling who seduced powerful men. Aside from the white costume, she barely bore any resemblance to comic book version of the White Queen. Oh, and it doesn’t help that January Jones delivered her lines in the most monotonous tone possible, sucking any and all energy out of the performance.
In the comics, Juggernaut is Charles Xavier’s stepbrother who was mystically transformed by the Gem of Cyttorak into the unstoppable Juggernaut, one of the X-Men’s greatest foes. What was he in X-Men: The Last Stand? A not-too-bright recruit of Magneto’s who was not related to Xavier at all. He was just the guy who smashed into things, and will forever be remembered for that ridiculous line “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” Basically, just a simple grunt wearing fancy armor, and it doesn’t even come close to being a worthy adaptation.
In the months before X-Men: The Last Stand, Angel was advertised as one of its most important characters in the movie, but that wound up being very far from the truth. Here’s what moviegoers saw him do during the main story: escape being cured by his father, make his way to Professor X’s mansion, and save his father during the Alcatraz battle. That’s it. Fortunately, it looks like X-Men: Apocalypse will attempt to make this up with their younger Angel, hopefully letting us forget about his less-than-stellar previous adaptation.
Admittedly, Ray Park’s stunts as Toad were impressive to watch, but the character bore little resemblance to the Toad from the comics. Not only did his personality completely different, but he barely got to speak during the entire film. Like nearly all of Magneto’s henchmen, he was only added as a physical obstacle for the team to deal with, and nothing more. If that wasn’t bad enough, the younger Toad in X-Men: Days of Future Past had even less to do appearing in only one scene.
Daniel Cudmore’s Colossus appeared in three films in the X-Men series, and he’s said approximately four lines of dialogue total. In the comics, this is someone who’s been a valued member of the X-Men for four decades and one of Marvel’s more fascinating mutants, but in the movies, he’s just the tall, metal guy that punches things and doesn’t get character development. Ideally Deadpool will put him to better use next year, featuring a motion capture performance from Canadian actor Andre Tricoteux.
Pyro in the comics is an Australian criminal who joins Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The movies turned him into an American who becomes disillusioned with Professor Xavier’s vision of peace and joins Magneto’s Brotherhood. His personal journey, not to mention his personality, was nowhere near as cool as the comic book version, and while the contrast between him and Iceman was interesting in X2: X-Men United, unfortunately the payoff wasn’t that great in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Forget that Havok’s connection with Cyclops in these movies remains untold (for now). Once again, here’s a character that’s only useful for his power. Aside from being in prison and joining the military, we don’t know anything about him! There’s been no character exploration at all thus far, and you could have taken him out of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and have the story unfold the exact same way. Will X-Men: Apocalypse give him more to do? Given what we’ve seen so far, I have my doubts.
This one is especially disappointing. In the X-Men comics, Bishop has primarily been portrayed as a time traveler who comes to the present to prevent an apocalyptic future – similar to the role that Cable plays. Granted, he did get to travel back in time in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but like most of the other mutants in the future period, he was just manpower used to slow down the Sentinels. Visually, he was great to watch, but character-wise, he was wasted. Hopefully the future of the franchise will find some way to give actor Omar Sy something better to do in a future installment.
Even ignoring her first two cameos in the series, Kitty has never lived up to her potential in the X-Men films. Yes, she did take down Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand, but her potential romance with Iceman felt awkward and forced. Her phasing powers were better utilized in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it didn’t help that unlike in the comic books, Wolverine traveled back to the ‘70s rather than her, taking away her opportunity to shine (and randomly giving her an ability we’ve never actually seen her have before).