Meet the Characters of X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Learn all you need to know about Marvel mutants

by | April 22, 2009 | Comments

X-Men Origins: Wolverine marks the fourth film appearance for Marvel’s most popular mutant. By now, you should be pretty familiar with Wolverine and his super-powered teammates from the previous X-Men movies, but unless you’re a comics aficionado, you might not recognize some of Logan’s other compatriots, such as Wade Wilson, John Wraith, and Agent Zero. And although Sabertooth, Stryker, and Cyclops have been seen on the big screen already, there are new actors playing those roles this time around. That’s why we’ve put together this rundown of the major players you’re going to see in the upcoming installment of the X-Men saga.


WOLVERINE

Real Name: Logan/James Howlett

Played By: Hugh Jackman, the Australian actor/dancer/singer who rose to fame when he was cast as a then-unknown in 2000’s first X-Men film. Noting that Wolverine’s personality had mellowed in X-Men: The Last Stand, Jackman has been quoted as being excited about playing Wolverine during his most feral days, comparing the performance to that of Robert De Niro’s in the Cape Fear remake.

Powers: Super healing, regeneration, super senses, adamantium-infused skeleton, adamantium-infused claws and a berserker battle fury.

In the Comics: For the first 25 years of Wolverine’s publication in Marvel Comics (first introduced in The Incredible Hulk #181, November 1974), Wolverine’s true origin story was one of comics’ greatest mysteries. As in the first three X-Men movies, readers were given bits of the puzzle over the years, but Wolverine’s true roots weren’t revealed until the 2001-2002 mini-series Origin, which detailed the events of Wolverine’s youth and young adulthood. The comics have also now depicted in many different ways Wolverine’s time as part of the Weapon X program, in which both he and Sabretooth were used as part of a military program to use mutants as super soldiers.

In the Movie: X-Men Origins: Wolverine borrows heavily from several of the comics that have dealt directly with Wolverine’s origin story, but reportedly also has some new or different elements, especially in the Weapon X era. This is, of course, to be expected, since the first three movies very much departed from the comics, de-aging characters like Angel and Iceman, and having Wolverine join the X-Men by himself, rather as a member of a completely new team (with Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, etc).


SABRETOOTH

Real Name: Victor Creed

Played By: Liev Schreiber, an American stage and screen actor who is not previously known for starring in action movies, preferring instead to focus on characters better known for being cerebral than brawny. Schreiber, however, threw himself into preparing to play Sabretooth, bulking up with an extra 40 pounds of muscle through an intensive diet and exercise regimen. Liev Schreiber has been for a few years now dating British-Australian actress Naomi Watts, with whom he has had two sons, Sasha and Samuel.

Powers: Sabretooth’s powers (healing, regeneration, super senses) are nearly identical to those of Wolverine’s, except that he lacks Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, and his claws are actually just longer fingernails, rather than claws that pop out of his arms like Wolverine’s. Sabretooth is also physically larger and inherently stronger than Wolverine.

In the Comics: Like Wolverine, Sabretooth is a Marvel Comics character known to be much older than he appears, and his encounters with Wolverine go back as far as 1910. As in the movie, Sabretooth served with Wolverine in the Weapon X program, although he did not undergo the same extensive experimentation as Wolverine. After parting ways with Weapon X, Sabretooth spent the next decades working as an assassin, coming into conflict with Wolverine many times, until eventually (and controversially) becoming an X-Man himself.

In the Movie: The most obvious departure for Sabretooth from the comics is the rumor that in the movie he is actually depicted as being Wolverine’s half-brother. In the comics, Sabretooth is usually depicted as having blonde hair (as also depicted in the first X-Men movie), whereas Liev Schreiber has dark brown hair.


STRYKER

Real Name: Major William Stryker

Played By: Danny Huston, the son of acclaimed director John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen), and the half-brother of Anjelica Huston. Although Danny Huston probably could have parlayed his famous last name into movie star status, he has instead focused on a career as a character actor in mostly supporting roles in movies like The Aviator, 21 Grams and Children of Men.

Powers: None

In the Comics: Before the release of X2: X-Men United, William Stryker was a relatively obscure character who had only appeared in the 1982 graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, as a Christian televangelist who has launched a campaign to destroy all mutants, who he sees as an abomination in the eyes of God.

In the Movie: Few X-Men characters were as changed from their comic book roots as William Stryker, who was used as the leader of Weapon X, the program responsible for giving Wolverine his adamantium skeleton, and the team that is central to much of the story of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

GAMBIT

Real Name: Remy LeBeau

Played By: Taylor Kitsch, a Canadian actor and model who appeared in Snakes on a Plane and is a regular cast member on NBC’s Friday Night Lights. Before Taylor Kitsch was cast, Josh Holloway (Lost’s Sawyer) had been in talks to play Gambit (and had also been offered the same role in X-Men: The Last Stand), but had to drop out in both cases due to conflicts with filming Lost.

Powers: Gambit has the ability to imbue physical objects with energy, that he can then throw, which then results in an explosion on impact. Gambit’s preferred choice of thrown object are playing cards.

In the Comics: An orphan who was raised by New Orleans’ Thieves Guild, Gambit took to travelling the world, using his mutant power to help him become a master thief. Gambit was eventually taken in by the genius geneticist known as Mr. Sinister, who helped Gambit better control his powers. In return, Gambit joined a group of mutant assassins called The Marauders (along with Sabretooth). Gambit eventually reformed his criminal ways and joined the X-Men, where he fell in love with Rogue.

In the Movie: Gambit’s portrayal in X-Men Origins: Wolverine seems to more or less match that of the comics, except that the timing suggests that he would be older than Cyclops, who in the comics seems about the same age as Gambit. There are also some pretty wild things that we see Gambit do in the trailer, like using his power on his staff to allow him to climb walls, and set off a devastating quake. Although most of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was filmed in Australia, the production moved to New Orleans for our Cajun mutant’s scenes. Gambit is also one of the two characters in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (along with Deadpool) who may also get his own franchise of solo movies.


DEADPOOL

Real Name: Wade Wilson

Played By: Ryan Reynolds, who has starred in many comedies as well as Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity. That was talked about at the time as a potential launch vehicle for Hannibal King, also a Marvel Comics character, but those plans have apparently been scrapped. Ryan Reynolds has also long been talked about as a possible star of DC Comics’ movie adaptation of The Flash.

Powers: In the comics, Wade Wilson was not an actual mutant with super powers when he joined Weapon X, although he was a masterful weapons combatant and mercenary. Weapon X give Wade amazing regenerative abilities, but they went wild, causing him to be scarred and disfigured, and since his regeneration also affected his brain, also certifiably loony. Deadpool also went on to develop the ability to realize that he was a character in a comic book, leading him to sometimes break the fourth wall, talking to the reader, and becoming one of the most popular (and hilairous) characters in Marvel’s pantheon.

In the Comics: Mercenary Wade Wilson joined Weapon X without being an actual mutant, but was also dying of cancer. So, Weapon X put Wade through an intensive genetic treatment which gave him super regenerative and healing powers, but at the price of his skin growing so fast as to be a permanent mass of scars, which is what led Wade Wilson to put on a mask and start calling himself Deadpool. In the many years since, Deadpool’s adventures have brought him into contact with (or into conflict with) nearly all of the major figures in Marvel’s world of mutants, and some others who aren’t mutants at all.

In the Movie: How Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, is being depicted is one of the hottest topics of discussion for Deadpool fans. There are rumors that Deadpool has been given powers that he does not have in the comics, but there are just as many rumors and speculation that the character in the trailer seen doing all that (watch out for Cyclops-like eye beams) is not actually Wade Wilson at all. Hopefully, whatever happens to Wade in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he will come out of the movie with the potential to become the same “Merc with a Mouth that fans love in the possible spin-off Deadpool movie that has been in development for several years already.

Ryan Reynolds Talks About Playing the Merc with a Mouth


SILVER FOX

Real Name: Kayla Silverfox

Played By: Lynn Collins, who has appeared in over a dozen movies, including playing Portia in the 2004 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Collins’ TV appearances also include True Blood, Supernatural and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Powers: In the comics, Silver Fox, like Wade Wilson/Deadpool, did not apparently have any mutant abilities before she was given super healing and regenerative abilities by the Weapon X program.

In the Comics: In the 1910s, Wolverine encountered a small community of the Blackfoot Indian tribe, where Sabretooth was also living at the time. Wolverine fell in love with the woman now known as Silver Fox (her real name unknown), and they shared a cabin in the woods. Sabretooth, however attacked, raped, and apparently killed Silver Fox, and causing Wolverine to leave town in grief. Silver Fox, however, had actually survived the attack. Years later, Silver Fox joined the Weapon X program, but because of the memory alterations done to her, Sabretooth, and Wolverine, it is unclear how much they remembered of their past conflicts. Eventually, Silver Fox reunites other members of Weapon X, including Wolverine, Sabretooth, Wraith, and Maverick to investigate the scientist who gave them their false memories, but the encounter ends with the scientist controlling Sabretooth, who kills Silver Fox.

In the Movie: The trailers for X-Men Origins: Wolverine hint quite heavily that Silver Fox’s story in the movie is quite similar to that of the comics, intimating that Silver Fox had died many years earlier, and that Stryker suggests that his treatments will remove Wolverine’s painful memories of her death.

THE BLOB

Real Name: Frederick J. Dukes

Played By: Kevin Durand, who at a muscular 6′ 7″ often appears in movies and TV shows as a dangerous tough guy, has appeared in movies like Walking Tall and 3:10 to Yuma, and in Lost‘s fourth season as the vicious mercenary Martin Keamy. Durand is also currently in England, filming Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood movie in which he costars as Little John.

Powers: In the comics, the Blob is an extremely heavyset gentleman who has the mutant abilities to use his massive weight and rubbery skin in a variety of creative ways, including being an immovable object, being able to bounce bullets off his skin and enveloping the fists and weapons of anyone who tries to attack him.

In the Comics: The Blob is one of the X-Men’s oldest enemies, first appearing in Uncanny X-Men #3, all the way back in 1964. The Blob was a member of the majority of the incarnations of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for the next 25 years. That also included being a core member of the semi-heroic Freedom Force, which was members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants actually working for the U.S. government. However, in the 2006 House of M event, the Blob was one of the mutants who was de-powered by the Scarlet Witch, which left him with deformed body covered by the draping skin that his had previously covered his mutant fat.

In the Movie: The biggest difference between the comic book Blob and the movie Blob is that we see scenes of Fred J. Dukes when he is not super fat. It’s not yet known if Dukes is able to “Blob out” and become his larger version, or if in the movie, his super fat form comes from sort of Weapon X treatment.


AGENT ZERO

Also Known As: Maverick

Real Name: David North, Christoph Nord

Played By: Daniel Henney, a Korean-American actor who, before X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has mostly worked as an actor and model in South Korea.

Powers: In the comics, Agent Zero’s initial mutant ability allows him to absorb kinetic energy, so that he can take punches or fall great heights without suffering any injury. After joining the revived Weapon X (a second time), Agent Zero is also given some limited healing abilities. Agent Zero is also a skilled marksman.

In the Comics: Born Christoph Nord in East Germany, the character known as both Maverick and Agent Zero started as a rebel agent fighting against Communist rule in the 1960s. His efforts were noticed by the CIA, who recruited him to join the Weapon X program. After leaving Weapon X, Nord eventually took the code name of Maverick, working as a mercenary. In the 1990s, Maverick was one of the several mutants who contracted the deadly Legacy Virus, which led Maverick to ask Wolverine to kill him (Wolverine refused). Years later, he was recruited into a second version of Weapon X, which gave him the additional power of super healing, allowing him to recover from the Legacy Virus. At this point, Maverick then took the new code name of Agent Zero. Agent Zero was one of the many mutants who lost his powers during the House of M event, thanks to Scarlet Witch. Reverting to the Maverick alias, he was last seen residing at a special home for former mutants recovering from the loss of their powers.

In the Movie: Agent Zero has two distinctive differences in the comics. First of all, the film portrays him as Asian, not German. Secondly, in the original Weapon X era, the character was more often known as Maverick. The reason for these changes may be that there were actually two characters in the comics known as Maverick, and that other one, AKA Bolt, also appears in the movie. It was not until North/Nord joined the revived Weapon X program that he became known as Agent Zero, which, in the Marvel Comics timeline, is many years after the period depicted in this movie.


JOHN WRAITH

Also Known As: Wraith, Kestrel

Real Name: John Wraith

Played By: will.i.am, best known as the founder of the group The Black Eyed Peas. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is will.i.am’s second movie appearance, following a voice role in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa as Moto Moto. That makes this movie his first live action appearance.

Powers: John Wraith has the ability to disappear and teleport, similar to the ability of Nightcrawler, of which will.i.am is a big fan, and the reason he took the role of John Wraith. Wraith is also often depicted using explosive devices, which he is able to places on his enemies and then teleporting to safety. In the comics, Wraith was also able to teleport other people with him (such as the entire Team X), but it is not yet known if he has this ability in the movie. As a member of Weapon X, Wraith was also given a special anti-aging ability.

In the Comics: John Wraith was a member of the original Weapon X program. Unlike many of the more high profile members, Wraith is a relatively obscure character, but he did appear later, when he found that his anti-aging mutation was not working correctly, and teamed up with the former members to investigate Weapon X. Wraith was recruited years later into the revived Weapon X, and was sent with Sabretooth to recruit Maverick, but was killed by Sabretooth in the ensuing fight (even though Maverick eventually joined anyway). John Wraith also has the distinction of being a character who was much more active in the Ultimate Universe than he was in the actual mainstream Marvel Universe.

In the Movie: The movie version of Wraith appears to be quite faithful to the Marvel Universe version of John Wraith, including the cowboy hat that he is often seen wearing. What is not yet known is whether the movie version of Wraith can also use his power to teleport his entire team, or whether he also uses explosives the same way the comic version does.

BOLT

Also Known As: Maverick II

Real Name: Chris Bradley

Played By: Dominic Monaghan, who is most famous for playing Merry Brandybuck in the Lord of the Rings movies, and for subsequently starring in TV’s Lost as the doomed druggie rock star, Charlie Pace.

Powers: In the comics, Bolt is a mutant with the ability to absorb ambient static electricity, which he can then release as electric bolts or as a protective shield.

In the Comics: Chris Bradley was a young mutant who was taken in by Charles Xavier’s school for mutants, where he was diagnosed as having the deadly Legacy Virus. Chris’ parents withdrew him from the school, and he eventually met the original Maverick (AKA Agent Zero), who befriended him, as he also had the Legacy Virus. Taking the code name of Bolt, Chris eventually joined the team of young super heroes known as the New Warriors. When Bolt believed that the original Maverick had been killed, he took on the Maverick identity himself. However, this led him to come in conflict with the original Maverick, then using the identity of Agent Zero, who ironically killed Chris in his guise of Maverick II, not realizing he was his friend.

In the Movie: Thus far, very little has been seen of Dominic Monaghan in character in the trailers and images from the movie, including no images of him using his electric powers. A very interesting footnote to this character is that Monaghan’s role was initially said to be Barnell Bohusk. In the comics, Bohusk is also known as a mutant named Beak with bird-like physical features (feathers, etc), but not the ability to fly. Unlike most of the other characters in the movie, Bohusk/Beak had no history of any connection to Weapon X, so the use of Bohusk’s name was always peculiar. The revelation that the character is actually Bolt makes a lot more sense, thematically.


EMMA FROST

Also Known As: The White Queen (though presumably not in this movie)

Real Name: Emma Frost

Played By: Tahyna Tozzi, an Australian model/singer/actress who is best known down under for starring in the 2005-2006 Australian TV series Blue Water High, and is making her American mainstream debut as Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s also interesting to note that director Bryan Singer had wanted Sigourney Weaver to costar as Emma Frost in X-Men: The Last Stand, but after Singer left the project, the idea of including Emma Frost in the film’s story was dropped.

Powers: In the comics, Emma Frost is one of the mutants who has actually had a second mutation following the development of her original powers. Emma Frost was originally a powerful psychic, able to read minds, project her thoughts into others, project psychic power bolts that inflicted pain and the ability to put people to sleep. Her second mutation, conversely, was strictly physical, as she gained the ability transform her body into indestructible living diamond, except that in this form, she cannot use her psychic abilities.

In the Comics: Emma Frost is a member of the older generation of mutants, first being known as one of the leaders of the Hellfire Club, a group of manipulative mutants who also trained young mutants, in competition to Charles Xavier’s school. After years of competing with Xavier, Emma Frost eventually agreed to join his Academy as an instructor and member of the X-Men, where she eventually became the co-headmaster of the school (in Xavier’s absence), along with Cyclops, with whom she had a romantic affair following the death of Jean Grey.

In the Movie: As we see Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, she is a teenager, but given that the movie is set many years ago, this does not necessarily suggest a drastic de-aging of the character as was done with Iceman and Angel in the previous X-Men movies. What is particularly interesting is that Emma Frost is depicted as having her ability to transform into a diamond-hard form, even though in the comics she did not acquire this ability until much later. What is not yet known is whether the movie version of Emma Frost also has her psychic abilities, or if the suggestion is that what is her primary ability in the comics will be her secondary ability in the movie(s).


CYCLOPS

Real Name: Scott Summers

Played By: Tim Pocock, a newcomer to acting apparently, with no other credits known. In the previous movies, set when Scott is older, Cyclops was portrayed by James Marsden.

Powers: Cyclops has the mutant ability to emit powerful force beams, which are often confused as being heat waves because of their bright red color. Scott wears special glasses that allow him to control the beams. Without them, he is often forced to emit the destructive beams with disastrous results.

In the Comics: Cyclops is one of the original members of the X-Men, and over the years has often taken on the role of leader of both the team and Xavier’s school for mutants. A natural born leader, Cyclops has often come into conflict with the rebellious Wolverine.

In the Movie: The trailers imply that Cyclops is an apparent target of the Weapon X team; he’s seen being chased by Sabretooth, and also held prisoner along with many other young mutants, including the young Jason Stryker (seen in X-Men: The Last Stand) and Banshee, the super-sonic mutant whose daughter Siryn was depicted as an Xavier student in X-Men: The Last Stand. This is perhaps one of the movie’s greatest departures from the comics (in addition to the rumors about Deadpool); before joining Charles Xavier’s academy, Scott Summers never had any known contact with the Weapon X team. The only significant character that Scott is known to have encountered in his pre-Xavier youth is the geneticist known as Mr. Sinister, who inhibited Scott’s abilities through mental blocks.

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