Friday, February 22, 2008

Wolverine character breakdown

Even more Wolverine casting news has come down the pipeline in the last day or two.

The activity on this film has been pretty furious over this past week. With more and more mutant characters revealed than I think most anyone was expecting. I think these announcements should be the last of the Weapon X team to be cast though. First up, Dominic Monaghan, who we all know and love as Charlie from Lost, and Merry from LOTR, has been cast as Blackwing (aka Beak). And secondly Daniel Henney who is a Korean actor I know basically nothing about has been cast as Agent Zero. But really, what the heck does this mean. Even for me, and you know I have something of a passing interest in comic books, I'm a bit lost as to who is who is this film So I thought now that it looks like were through most of the main casting, and character revelations, we could break it down some.

First obviously is Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. You all know him from the X-Men films. As we all should know, he is a mutant with a bad temper, extra keen senses and a super healing ability. This was used to the governments advantage when they surgically laced his bones with the super strong metal alloy adamantium as part of a secret super soldier program known as Weapon X. And yes his claws, at least in one iteration of the comics are actually bones, covered in metal. But I think originally when the character was designed, and in the film, they were supposed to be mechanical enhancements as part of the whole agent of destruction thing the government was doing. His brain was pretty screwed up in the government experiments too, and Wolverine ended up seriously blocking most of the memories of his troubled and violent past. We can assume that this film will explore the origin of Wolverine as a weapon of destruction as hinted at in X2.

That origin will probably have a lot ot do with William Stryker. A minor villain in the comics as seen in the X-Men films, Stryker, previously played by the incomparable Brian Cox, and soon to be portrayed by Danny Huston, is now a rouge army colonel and military scientist who has a dark and complicated past with the Weapon X program. My guess is that in this film he will be the military man organizing the superhuman Weapon X team.

Next we have Sabertooth, to be played in this film by the awesome actor Liev Schrieber. The character, a compatriot of Wolverine, suspiciously has much the same powers as him. Enhanced senses, an accelerated healing factor, and a feral-ness about him. He also has razor sharp claws, and fangs which he uses to kill as a homicidal mercenary. Sabertooth has long been an enemy of Wolverine, and I think its safe to say this film will explore how they became such antagonists.

Lynn Collins of The Number 23 takes on the leading lady role of Silver Fox. The character is a Canadian native (woot! woot represent!) and in the comics had a troubled past as both Wolverine's lover and a victim of Sabertooth advances and rage at rejection. I would guess, there will be some kind of love triangle in the Wolverine film. Silver Fox later showed up in the comics as a leader of HYDRA, a terrorist organization and main foe to SHIELD. One of the only female members of Team X her only meta-human power is the enhanced healing ability given to her by Weapon X.

The other characters revealed to be in the movie will fill out the ranks of Team X. While not all originally Weapons Plus characters, I think its great they have the ability to pick and choose whoever they think fits with the group best. Here's a quick run down of who they are and what powers they have:

Deadpool, to be played by Ryan Reynolds is a fan favorite, who Marvel hope to spin off into his own movie. The character is nicknamed 'the merc with the mouth' because Deadpool is known pithy cracks and pop culture references. He is a master martial artist, but usually uses high technology weapons to kill, and his only superpower is enhanced healing.

Remy LeBeau / Gambit to be played by Taylor Kitsch was never originally a member of Weapon X. He is a Louisiana gambler and smooth talking Cajun ladies man. In the comics he was a later member of the X-Men, and despite having ties to Mr Sinister, has always been paired as a love interest for Rogue. He has the ability to infuse inanimate objects with unstable kinetic energy, and usually charges playing cards which explode when he throws them at his enemies. Gambit is also a character that Marvel might well spin off into his own film, and Kitsch has sign on for a potential 3 films.

Blackwing / Beak / Barnell Bohusk is to be played, as I said above, by Lostie Dominic Monaghan. The character is an odd one, that has gone through a few different iterations. I suspect some kind of hybrid between the old character and the new one will be what appears onscreen. Barnell's powers originally induced through a natural bird-like mutation included hollow bones, enhanced agility, finger talons, and limited flight capabilities. However in the post House of M retconed Marvel universe Barnell is currently working for the New Warriors under the name Blackwing and and wears a bodysuit that gives him enhanced strength, flight, and energy manipulation powers.

John Wraith / Kestrel to be played by Black Eyed Peas frontman is the team's teleporter and also possesses accelerated healing powers. A pretty straightforward character, he is a bit paranoid, likes to use high explosives, and only teleports sparingly in battle.

and the final member of the Weapon X program is Agent Zero / Maverick, to be played by Daniel Henney. The character is a tracker and expert marksman. He also has the enhanced healing factor but relies on some pretty deadly high tech weaponry. In current continuity he has lost his powers completely.

And there you have it. Should shape up to be an interesting team of supers to see onscreen. I hesitate to use the word superhero as really they were more of a 'death squad', but maybe that's just semantics...

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is still filming in Australia, but should wrap soon. It is scheduled for a May 1st, 2009 release. And the director Gavin Hood, who also made the excellent films Tsotsi, and Rendition has speculated that if he gets to make a sequel he would like to see it take place in Japan. And why not, Wolverine has a long and very involved history. Maybe one day we'll even get that Alpha Flight / Wolverine story.

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