Jubilation Lee is an X-Men character that has not been included in film adaptations, unless you count the brief cameo appearances in X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last stand. It was an interesting decision on the film-makers’ part to have Jubilee take a back seat in the films given her close relationships to other mutants, particularly with Wolverine.
Her “Mall Rat” Beginnings
Ms. Lee was introduced to X-Men fans in 1989. The girl belonged to a wealthy Asian-American family in Beverly Hills and became a very talent gymnast at a young age. She seemed to have an ideal life, but that would change drastically. In her early teen years, tragedy stuck and both her mother and father were murdered by a pair of hit men, Reno and Molokai.
The teenaged girl was then placed in an orphanage after her parent’s deaths, but it was not long before she ran away and hid in the Hollywood Mall, where she stole food to survive.
Throughout her stay at the shopping complex, Jubilee had to constantly evade mall security, and it was during one of her run-ins with the officers that she discovered her powers for the first time.
While running from the two security officers, she emitted a large, energy blast that temporally blinded and disoriented the men. It was after this occurrence that Jubilee began using her powers to entertain mall-goers for money, but mall security soon tried to apprehend the girl, one again, but this time for her unauthorized performances.
Instead of having to escape the officers on her own, Jubilee received assistance from a few female members of the X-Men team, and she ended up secretly following her saviors back to one of their bases. This is also during this time that Jubilee witnessed Wolverine getting kidnapped by the Reavers, a team of criminal cyborgs dedicated to the destruction of the X-Men.
The teen eventually helps save Wolverine from his captors, and the start of their very close relationship begins as well. The two mutants would go on several missions after the rescue, and these missions helped Jubilee and Wolverine develop a father-daughter relationship, which is why it was so strange to see the X-Men films follow Wolverine so closely without the young mutant that many fans consider to be his “unofficial sidekick.”
Like a Firework
It seemed like a missed opportunity to not show off a mutant with powers that were very underrated in the X-Men cartoon. Jubilee has the power to generate bright bursts of multicolored energy plasmoids from her fingertips, or what she likes to call “fireworks”. These light energies are under her complete mental control, and the strength of the energy varies and can range from a multitude of brief flashes of light capable of temporarily blinding a person, to light with the same capabilities as explosives.
A Chance to Sparkle?
Perhaps she can get her chance to display some of those powers with the upcoming film X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. As I have mentioned in a previous post, Gambit will have his redemption time in the film, and Jubilee may be another character who gets some of the spotlight. She is a part of a team led by Gambit called X-Ternals during the time of this story arc. Jubilee displays a greater level of control over her power in this plot line; in fact, she shows the full extent of her powers by destroying a Shi’ar ship single-handedly. Now that is the Jubilee fans want to see! As details of the film slowly come to light, maybe we will find Jubilee at the forefront of the story, rather than just the background.
One of my favorite male X-Men characters has to be Gambit, otherwise known as Remy Etienne LeBeau. The New Orleans native did not have an ideal upbringing, which is putting it mildly, but it only adds to the depth of his character and his attraction to X-Men followers.
A Nontraditional Upbringing
Abandoned at birth due to his strange, red eyes, Remy was kidnapped by members of the New Orleans Thieves’ Guild. The infant was then given to theAntiquary, a power in the New Orleans Underground who dealt in the stealing and selling of children. The Guild Prophecies, with which the Antiquary was obsessed, mentioned that a red-eyed man referred to as Le Diable Blanc, or the white devil, was prophesied to unite the rival Thieves’ Guild and Assassins’ Guild of New Orleans.
Believing Remy was the man the prophecies described, the Antiquary soon placed Remy in the care of Fagan’s Mob. This was a gang of street thieves who would raise the child, teach him the ways of thievery, and also keep a close eye on the child.
After a decade of living on the streets, Remy attempted to pick the pocket of Jean-Luc LeBeau at the mob’s encouragement. Jean-Luc LeBeau happened to be the patriarch of the Thieves’ Guild at the time, and it was not a coincidence that the mob wanted Remy to cross LeBeau’s path. Jean-Luc took Remy off the streets and adopted him into his own family, just as the mob had hoped… Unknown to the child, his encounter with Jean-Luc LeBeau was carefully orchestrated by the mob in order help the prophecy of peace move forward.
A Lack of Media Exposure
Though Gambit’s story is filled with plenty of interesting, dark subject matter, the mutant has not had much screen time. Gambit did not enter the Marvel universe until 1990, and with the help of the cartoon that also came out in that year, he quickly became a fan favorite; however, aside from the years he appeared in the X-Men cartoon, he has only stepped out of the pages of comic books once with the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Gambit did not have a large role in the film, and his character was not portrayed as seamlessly as I had hoped. He was an underutilized character, and his abilities were not shown to their full potential. In fact, Gambit was depicted as a less threatening mutant in comparison to Wolverine, which is an unfair representation of the red-eyed mutant, considering he did kill omega-level mutant the Dark Phoenix.
Though Gambit was not shown as the fierce fighter comic-book readers know him as, the bio-kinetic mutant will have a second shot at impressing movie-goers with the upcoming film X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016. Not many details have been revealed regarding plot, but there are a few story arcs that the writers could be using for production (something we will certainly discuss soon).
Regardless of the storyline, this is certainly exciting news! Gambit will finally have the chance to show off who he really is on the silver screen, and maybe fans will get that solo film soon after? Time will tell!