by Brett White
Fans hoping for “The Wolverine” to be jam-packed with mutant cameos might have left the theater a bit disappointed, considering that Jean Grey was the only pre-existing character to make a significant contribution to the plot. But that wasn’t always the case.
Creative Screenwriting interviewed Mark Bomback and Scott Frank, the duo who wrote the screenplay for “The Wolverine,” where Bomback revealed that there was one other X-Man who was poised for prime screentime: Rogue.
“I love Rogue and I just think that there’s something about this idea that Rogue is tremendously empathetic but incapable of safe human contact,” revealed Bomback. “That always moved me and I thought that’s what really got to the heart of what makes the X-Men franchise so unique. So I was trying to do something with Rogue in the script. I even had a set of ideas that the old man possessed a version of Rogue’s power and that was going to be indicated by a white stripe in his hair. Eventually it became very goofy, and I threw it out because I started realizing throughout the script that it became more problematic than cool.”
“It’s no accident to me that in the first X-Men film the first two mutants that you really see who have a connection are Wolverine and Rogue,” Bomback continued. “There’s something special between them, so I was trying to bring Rogue into it, but it just didn’t get there. I regretted there wasn’t a way to figure it out, but when I look at the film now, it would have stuck out if we tried to shoehorn her in there just because it was another character from the universe.”
After seeing the film, I can agree with Bomback that Rogue would have felt shoehorned in if they had gone that route with the plot. One of “The Wolverine’s” main selling points is that he is thoroughly alone for the first part of the film. He has to learn to trust others again, and new others at that. I’m glad that the film didn’t have a character like Rogue around, someone who would physically remind him of his X-Past.
To go back to the source material that “The Wolverine” pulled from, though, Rogue plays a very pivotal role in Wolverine’s struggle against Viper and Silver Samurai. The X-Men journey to Japan for Wolverine’s wedding to Mariko in “Uncanny X-Men” #172, just one issue after Professor X’s controversial decision to allow Rogue to join the team. See, Rogue was previously a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and had tangled with the good guys on a number of occasions; she’d even used her powers on Ms. Marvel, permanently draining the former Avenger of her powers and putting her into a coma. Wolverine and Carol Danvers were old buddies, so the Canadian mutant wasn’t exactly keen on having Rogue on his team, let alone at his wedding.
After the rest of the X-Men get poisoned by Viper, only Rogue and Wolverine are left standing to track her down and stop her evil schemes. The two form an uneasy alliance, one that is solidified when Rogue takes a deadly laser blast meant to kill Mariko. Wolverine then shares his healing factor with her, putting his life on the line to save hers (which is also how the first “X-Men” film ended).
Rogue’s addition to “The Wolverine” would have made sense considering the source material, and it could have given Anna Paquin the spotlight she needed to really push Rogue into the confident, take-charge hero from the comics that fans have really responded to. The character was definitely lost in the shuffle in the latter X-Films, and never got proper development. Mark Bomback, you had the right idea! But instead, Yukio filled that role—and filled it very well—so I still consider “The Wolverine” a win.
Would you have liked to have seen Rogue in “The Wolverine”? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!