Exclusion and Covert Racism: Canada’s Relationship With Minorities

During the leadership race of the New Democratic Party of Canada, there was a great deal of racism directed towards the man that eventually won, Jagmeet Singh. You wouldn’t know it from the way it was covered, though. Jennifer Bush and her heckling were what got the attention of the general public, something that the general public could decry. That was the story that got international attention. But that wasn’t remotely the only racism Singh’s campaign dealt with. Continue reading

Emma Dumont: Engineering and Art

Lorna Dane is my favourite character on The Gifted. So I looked up her actress, Emma Dumont, on Wikipedia, and I was immediately delighted by what I found.

Like many actresses, she’s also a dancer. On top of that, she’s a violinist, a mechanical engineering student, and is into robotics. She embraces both STEM and the arts. So often, people are led to believe that science and art are mutually exclusive, but they’re not. They require many of the same skills, and arguably, they’re more similar than different.

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Sixty Years of the Space Age: Happy Birthday, Sputnik

October 4th, 1957. A sphere of less than a foot radius. And signals detectable by any average Joe with a radio.  Sixty years ago today, Sputnik 1 was launched, and humanity entered the space age.

It didn’t do much aside from orbiting the Earth, but Sputnik changed the world forever. That first little satellite kicked off the space race. It made more people interested in science, both in general and as a potential career path. It contributed to the creation of NASA. It was the first step towards long distance wireless communication. Towards GPS. Towards environmental satellites and space telescopes. Towards rovers gathering data that humans can’t reach. We can’t know what the world would look like if it had never been launched, but it doesn’t require a huge stretch to think that in a world without Sputnik – and perhaps Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space four years later – we wouldn’t have had people on the moon or rovers on Mars. Sputnik may have influenced the development of military technologies, but that is nothing compared to its positive legacy.

Sputnik means travelling companion, and that’s what it was. A different Sputnik took Gagarin into space; all the satellites that bore the same name accompanied the Earth. And the image of that first artificial satellite – that mark of human ingenuity, launched only 54 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight – accompanies all of us as we continue to explore the universe.

Jimmy Carter and Inspiration To Do Better

President Jimmy Carter has been one of my heroes my entire life.

I was born years after his presidency, so I never knew him as a politician. I grew up knowing him as the former president that was out there building houses, fighting disease, and negotiating with world leaders. I remember reading an article once about how he nearly punched the then-president of South Africa for refusing to allow AIDS to be treated. Just a few months ago, he fainted from dehydration on a Habitat for Humanity build site in Canada. He’s ninety three. He’s been doing this kind of thing for decades, and every time I read an article or a quote or one of his books that discusses what he’s up to, I’m inspired. Continue reading

‘Snow Steam Iron’ and Non-Sexualized Violence

I gush a lot about Zack Snyder, and one of the reasons why is that I adore the way he handles female characters. Snyder doesn’t follow the model of making “strong” female characters who are most memorable for being strong or badass. He treats his female characters just as he does his male. He prioritizes well-written and interesting over strong, prioritizes realistic over badass. In his short Snow Steam Iron, he beautifully depicted a story centred around an abused woman without ever glorifying or fetishizing violence. Continue reading

Philosophy, War, and Challenging Conventions: Why Zack Snyder Should Direct an ‘Animorphs’ Movie

From Dawn of the Dead to Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zack Snyder has demonstrated his skill with both stunning visuals and deeply heartfelt moments. Animorphs beautifully blends action and emotion, as I discussed in this post. A movie adaptation wouldn’t necessarily be a great idea. A lot happens over a period of several years, and nearly all of the books contribute something valuable and meaningful. Even most of the fillers were good character pieces. It would be easy to lose some of that impact by trying to condense the story into one movie. In that regard, another attempt at a TV series would probably be a better adaptation. It would allow for more accuracy, as well as a less rushed seeming story. However, if the series were ever adapted into a movie, who better to take on the challenge than Zack Snyder?

Visual Storytelling

A major part of what makes Animorphs special is the characters and their internal turmoil. Each book is written in first person, and some of the most poignant quotes aren’t dialogue but part of their internal commentary. It’s something that would be really hard to bring across in an adaptation without excessive voiceovers, which is where Snyder would be perfect. He’s a very visual storyteller. His scripts don’t have any wasted words. He doesn’t tell, he shows. He’d be able to bring across all the emotion in those scenes without overusing voiceovers.

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Clark saying goodbye to Lois in ‘Batman v Superman’. [Credit: Warner Bros].

Snyder is the king of a distinctive visual style and subverting common tropes. We know for certain that Snyder’s not afraid of so-called silly topics. He’s made his career on geeky interests and comic book movies, after all. He makes bold choices and tries new things instead of constantly playing it safe. He uses his awesome visual sense and artistic eye to create beautiful, epic, memorable scenes in movies based on comic books. I’d love to see him take on the action sequences in Animorphs. They’re all fast paced, bloody, and almost ridiculously violent. They’re horrifyingly graphic, and Snyder is bold enough to commit to that.

Apart from his visual skills, Snyder specializes in philosophy. I still think Batman v Superman is his best work yet because of that. Animorphs is a masterpiece that beautifully questions right vs wrong and never flinches from discussing the realities of war. Snyder often works with religious philosophy, which isn’t the main thematic element in Animorphs, but the issues stemming from the morality of war would be something a little different that he could pull off beautifully. He conveys complicated issues clearly without oversimplifying them. He has mastered the art of making people take things seriously. A huge part of what makes his work special to me is that he clearly enjoys what he does and has fun working in the superhero genre without making fun of that genre. Adapting Animorphs would be a challenge he’s perfect for.

Most of all, though? Snyder’s strength is embracing all of those issues in the big blockbuster type movies that earn lots of money, in a way that a lot of people just don’t see. That’s exactly what Animorphs was. Everyone has at least heard of them. With the perception of them today, both among fans and people that haven’t read them, it’s easy to forget that they were hugely popular in their heyday. They were one of the best selling children’s series ever.

Prominence of Female Characters

Every movie Snyder has made has featured complex, awesome women that are completely different from each other. And his idea of a strong female character isn’t just one that punches people. No, his idea of a strong female character is a smart, brilliant journalist that isn’t a fighter, but is brave enough to stand between her injured boyfriend and the raging vigilante holding a spear that’s trying to kill him and is so important that Superman considers her his world, and the Flash travels back in time to tell Batman that she’s the key. Is a senator that’s not going to bow down to special interests just because she has somewhat similar reservations. Is a victim that fights back when against impossible odds and rendered almost powerless. They certainly can get into physical fights, but that’s far from all they are.

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Babydoll in ‘Sucker Punch’. [Credit: Warner Bros].

Animorphs has fantastic female characters, and I’d love to see Snyder’s take on them. From Rachel, the smart, talented, beautiful golden girl who got thrown into a war and learned she liked it to Cassie, the perceptive, kind, manipulative killer that hated all the violence but was nonetheless more dangerous than Rachel the Blood Knight to Eva, the mother that calmly walked right back into slavery because it was either that or risk open war that would kill billions of people when her slaver was no longer in power, the female characters were just as fully realized as the male.

Deconstruction of Conventions

Animorphs embraces a lot of dark topics. It’s a complete deconstruction of everything you’d expect from a kids’ series about aliens and saving the world. It’s also hysterically funny – made doubly so by how ridiculously nineties it is – with an underlying theme of hope. One book featured the lead characters staging an incompetent rescue of an android from a mall using a Bill Clinton mask, a misspelled sandwich board sign, a lava lamp, and Tommy Hilfiger underwear. One of the books was an extended reference to Yeats’s The Second Coming. The entire series is very reminiscent of Kafka. The last book was dedicated to the aftermath of a three year war and the ways in which the characters recovered – and didn’t – from the trauma of being child soldiers. It refuses to ever be pigeonholed as just one thing. It’s a science fiction war story about slavery and morality that’s told as the story of a bunch of idiot kids trying to save the world.

Snyder is fantastic at deconstructing tropes. Batman v Superman is a political drama on top of an action movie with superheroes. He has directed all sorts of cool, kind of trippy takes on classic genres. I wrote about how Batman v Superman and Man of Steel deconstructed the superhero genre here, and I think the ways in which it does are similar to the ways in which Animorphs deconstructs the sci-fi adventure genre. If Animorphs were better known, I’m sure a lot of people would decry it as “grim-dark”, like they did with BvS. It’s not. It’s grounded. It’s not dark for the sake of being dark, it’s dark because it’s a war story. And Snyder could do it justice better than anyone else.

Implementation

Animorphs shouldn’t be compressed into just one movie. It would need a series to do it justice. If I had to choose just one book for Snyder to adapt, though, I’d have to go with a combination of The Andalite Chronicles and The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, two of the prequels to the main series.  I’d have to sacrifice his take on the main protagonists of the series, but the Chronicles are some of my very favourite books in the series, and it would suit his directing very well.

These two books are set on multiple different planets, which would make full use of his skill with world building. They have a wide range of characters from different backgrounds – the idealistic scientist whose greatest wish was for the sentient species of the universe to explore the stars together; the person who had never known war or violence but found himself forced in the position of leading an army to defend his people’s freedom; the jaded, cynical warrior that had lost friends and becoming willing to do whatever it took to win.

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Krypton, depicted in ‘Man of Steel’. [Credit: Warner Bros].

Ethical issues galore, the difficulty of doing the right thing, complicated and well developed character dynamics – these two books capture a lot of the essence of what Animorphs is while being more self contained than any part of the main series.

Animorphs the book series was geared towards children, just like the TV show. But if a movie were to be made, and made accurately, it couldn’t be. I love the books, but even so, they probably traumatized me for life. There’s a scene in one of them where one of the characters loses an arm, then uses said arm as a club. The first book opens with an alien being eaten alive. Those are things you can apparently get away with in books. Not so in film. So even if Snyder – or any director that would commit to an accurate adaptation – were interested, it seems highly unlikely that any studio would go for an R-rated adaptation of a children’s series.

If more people gave Animorphs a chance, they’d love it. These books are dark. They never, ever shy away from discussing trauma. They’re so clearly an anti-war message that deals with slavery and the ethics of combat and intergalactic politics. But they’re also hilariousEven today, years after I read them for the first time, when I reread them, I still laugh, because the teammate is a slacker who mainly paid attention to girls and sports while in class and loves cinnamon buns and soap operas and caused a scene in a movie theatre because he’d never eaten chocolate before. A Snyder adaptation of it would open a lot of people’s eyes to how fantastic a series it is.

Zack Snyder is a perfect fit for an Animorphs movie because of his grasp on how to present philosophical ideas, his distinctive style, and his treatment of women. This movie will probably never happen, but if it did, it would have the potential to be one of the best science-fiction adaptations ever made.

Superman and the Übermensch: Morality in the DC Extended Universe

I’ve talked before about how Batman v Superman counters Nietzsche’s philosophy in this post. In it, I briefly mention Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch. In a similar fashion to how it subverted the concept of the death of God, BvS subverts the concept of the übermensch.

Nietzsche considered the übermensch the ideal, superior man, someone who could rise above conventional morality to define and impose his own values on the world. He believed this to be what humanity should aspire to. This idea partially inspired the creation of Superman, and it was explored very interestingly in the DCEU.

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The übermensch is a scary concept. The idea of someone that can and will do whatever he wants to is terrifying. That’s the perspective from which a lot of people regarded Superman in BvS – their fear of the übermensch overrode their sense of reason and stopped them from considering the fact that the only thing he had ever demonstrating wanting to do was help out and save lives.

Batman v Superman takes on the übermensch in the style of Crime and Punishment. Superman is the übermensch in a very literal way – he’s the man from above, the alien sent to Earth. Kal El wasn’t born on Earth. He had immense powers that enable him to do things no human can. There would be no way for humans to stop him from doing whatever he liked. A major theme in Batman v Superman is the fear that people have about how it would be impossible to force Superman to comply. He could impose his will on the entire planet – the Knightmare sequence made that very clear. But he doesn’t. He provides a sharp contrast to Zod and the other Kryptonians in Man of Steel. They acted as colonialists, seeking to change the world they found to suit them, whereas Clark was an immigrant and refugee that understood and cared for both the planet that had become his home and its inhabitants.

Even when he disagrees with humans – General Swanwick, Senator Finch – that want him to be accountable to someone, he doesn’t disagree with their position on accountability. He lets the military handcuff him because it would help them feel more secure. He goes to a Senate hearing because he knows the people have a right to the truth. Clark doesn’t use his powers to interfere in politics or international affairs or to stop people from making their own choices. He uses it to help people, to inspire them and give them hope. Throughout both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, the majority of his actions weren’t to do with fighting anyone – he was saving people, rescuing them from fires and natural disasters.

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Clark is constantly second guessing himself. He could do just about anything, but he worries about what he should. He spends all of BvS asking himself what the right thing to do is. From questioning whether he was causing more harm than good to saying, “No one stays good in this world” when he finds out Lex has his mother but still choosing to talk first, not fight. He could do whatever he felt like. But he doesn’t. He carefully considers his actions, doubts himself, and ultimately does what he thinks is right according to the morality instilled in him by his human parents.

Batman takes steps towards becoming something akin to the übermensch when he ignores morality. He brands people; he doesn’t care about collateral damage; he goes so far as to appoint himself judge, jury, and executioner and attempt to murder an innocent man. It’s immoral, but he’s decided it’s necessary and doesn’t care any more. His sense of right and wrong, of justice, is warped, but he can justify it to himself and he doesn’t feel guilty about any of it. Unlike Clark, he doesn’t question what he’s doing at all, not until Clark used what he thought were his dying breaths to ask him to save Martha Kent. And when that happens, Bruce realizes what he was doing was wrong, that no one should be making unilateral decisions like that.

Clark brings Bruce back. He doesn’t impose his own values on others – he inspires them to uphold the values he was taught, that he believes in, because he believes in them so sincerely that other people see hope when they look at him. And the reason he can do this is because despite his physical superiority, he never considers humanity inferior to him. He sees people worshipping him as a god, and he’s saddened and feels alienated. He sees a statue of himself and worries about the people he couldn’t save.

BvS makes it clear that morality isn’t something to rise above, distinguishing it from Nietzsche. At the same time, Clark is depicted as what we should aspire to be. But what makes him worthy of that isn’t his strength, his intellect, or any such thing – it’s his decency. His goodness. His belief that everyone around him is valuable and worth saving, that he isn’t a superior being just by virtue of his powers. It’s a beautiful exploration of philosophy, and a wonderful study of humanity in a world of superpowers.

Recipes for the Student Without Enough Energy to Get Out a Chopping Board: The Egg Scramble

like to cook. But even so, as a full time student, with classes, exams, homework, and labs, a lot of the time, I can’t think of anything I want to do less than go home and make something involving any more effort than one pan, a handful of ingredients, and fifteen minutes.

There is a time and place for ambitious recipes. That time is not in the half hour you have to make and eat food when you’re exhausted and on the verge of passing out in a chair, and that place is not in your probably depressing, tiny campus kitchen. So something quick and easy, filling, and with a few vegetables so you don’t get scurvy and die.

So what do you make? An omelette? Nah, that’s far too put together and fancy for the zombie that is a college student. So the clear solution is to make what’s basically the exact same thing, except less pretty: the breakfast scramble.

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Bless the breakfast scramble, that supreme god king of foods. You’re always there for me when I need you.

Throw some stuff in a pan. Onions, mushrooms, maybe, spinach, basil. Cook them. Beat your eggs, maybe with some milk or half and half or cream or water, if you swing that way. (Don’t use milk. Don’t be that guy) Add your beaten eggs – which any self respecting college student will whisk with a fork and not an actual whisk, because who the hell has the motivation to get a whisk? – to the stuff in the pan. Add some cheese, maybe. Season. I will fight anyone that tries to tell you that thyme, salt, and pepper isn’t the perfect seasoning combination for this saviour of a meal. Cook until done. Dump onto a plate. Eat.

Has there ever been a meal so satisfying? So delicious at two in the morning when you’re finally back from the library and starving? If you add a piece of toast to it, you can even say you’ve had all your food groups! The breakfast scramble: a godsend, and the patron saint of tired students. How we love you.

Costume Design and the DCEU

Costume design in the DCEU has been stunning. The superhero outfits draw inspiration from the comics looks, but veer away from tights and spandex in favour of costumes that capture the spirit of the comics, while also being a little more practical and grounded, things that look better in live action.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is the most well known female superhero ever, and by a huge margin. If the big three in general are Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, the fourth – and the first woman on the list – is Wonder Woman. She’s had a lot of suits over the years her character has existed, of varying levels of quality, but the most famous is the look she wore in both the animated Justice League cartoon and the Lynda Carter series. A major consideration in the design of that suit was the sex appeal. Michael Wilkinson, the Batman v Superman costume designer, took a bit of a different route with it.

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Diana’s DCEU suit is beautiful. It’s practical, with clear Greek influences. It’s something she can move and fight in. The leather and metal gives it a much more grounded, serious, warrior vibe than sticking to the star spangled unitard that is the most iconic Wonder Woman costume, while also loosely resembling Diana’s New 52 look. This suit shows a lot of skin, but neither the costume itself nor the way the movies are shot sexualizes her. Her costume sacrifices some protection so that she can move more easily. The boots are still armour. Her gauntlets span the entirety of her forearms, so they protect her more than the bracelets we see in the cartoon. The WW is everywhere. There are still stars, but they’re a bit more subtle, less reminiscent of an American flag. All those components together help build a suit that looks ancient, gorgeous, and very functional.

Superman

Superman is the most iconic superhero in the world. He’s had a huge number of adaptations before the DCEU, which made it important to create a standout costume. And boy, did Wilkinson deliver.

MAN OF STEEL

The level of detail in Clark’s costume is astounding. The colours in it are rich and almost regal looking, bright enough to be eyecatching and not look dull or washed out, but no so bright as to be distracting when he’s supposed to be the focus of the scene, not the suit. The texture makes such a huge difference when you compare it to Superman suits of the past. Those were all flat spandex. And that’s fine, for a cartoon, but it doesn’t look great in live action. It’s a bit of a dated look. This one is less silly – it doesn’t look anything like a grown man wearing a onesie. You can imagine how it would feel to touch.

Aquaman

The DC Extended Universe is the first live action adaptation of Aquaman that we’ve seen, and as such, it could have gone in many different ways. The pop culture image of him as a kind of loser that talks to fish has stuck around, even though it doesn’t have much basis in canon. Zack Snyder chose to embrace all the awesome potential of the ruler of the seas and went the route of Aquaman the Complete Badass.

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Arthur’s Justice League suit, combined with the fact that it’s Jason Momoa wearing it, makes it very clear that Aquaman is someone you should take seriously. It draws upon Polynesian influences, on Momoa’s Hawaiian background, and that’s an incredibly inspired choice – to make the King of Atlantis Hawaiian makes perfect sense, and to include that in the costume was genius. The shark teeth motif is everywhere, along with a somewhat more subtle spear tip pattern. It’s textured, it’s regal, it’s distinctive. It’s a bold, powerful look, and the costume alone is enough to give us an idea of who this character is.

Mera

Mera’s costumes in both Justice League and Aquaman show off just how much thought went into making beautiful suits for different purposes that capture the spirit of the comics costumes. I might even go so far as to say that hers are my favourite in the DCEU.mera-in-aquaman-movie-997354

This is a warrior queen’s armour. The scaly look, the stylized shoulder pieces. It’s functional and fit for royalty. It’s formfitting, but in the same way as Superman’s or Aquaman’s is. She’s not wearing a painted on catsuit for the sex appeal. The tightness isn’t what you notice about it. It’s very complementary to what Arthur wears – the same colour palette and ornamentation, similar care taken with the minute details. It’s not an exact replica, but it’s very close.amber-heard-mera-aquaman-first-look

Her Aquaman suit is clearly designed in a similar style – the scales, the full body coverage, the fingers free to move, the same green with touches of gold colour palette – but it isn’t a combat outfit, and is a lot less ornate. She doesn’t have the plates at her shoulders, elbows, and knees. She isn’t wearing a headpiece. Instead, she’s wearing what looks more like a wetsuit than a suit of armour. This costume, with the vividness of the colours and the low cut of the neckline, is the closest the DCEU has had to a direct comic-panel-to-movie spandex suit, except the details – the lines, the scales, the texture, the shine – distinguish it and keep it from looking like a cheap, tacky Halloween costume.


I absolutely adore the DCEU costumes. There are a lot more that I love that I didn’t mention, but Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, and Queen Mera’s all are fantastic demonstrations of why the detail put into every costume is astounding. I’m so excited to see more in the coming movies.

How The X-Men Movies Did A Disservice to Jean and Scott

Jean Grey and Scott Summers are one of the most iconic couples in all of Marvel. Marvel isn’t like DC in that superheroes and their love interests are inextricably linked – the characters tend to have a wider range of romantic partners, or they break up with their love interest much more often than in DC. Superman has Lois Lane. Batman has Catwoman. Even people that have never picked up a comic in their life know that – these are pop culture icons, a staple in not just comics, but movies and TV shows. The Marvel equivalent is Spider-Man and Mary Jane. Jean and Scott aren’t on that level of iconic, but they’re still one of the couples that a member of the general public will be able to name. I’ve talked before about how Jean and Scott individually got raw deals, but I think a lot of the reasons they were portrayed badly are tied together.

Jean didn’t have much of a character of her own in the original trilogy, as I pointed out in my other post. Most of her scenes were about how Logan was attracted to her. I heard an argument once that Scott was also a part of this – that Jean’s character had to do with him, that he and Logan were just having a pissing contest over her in the first movie – but I don’t think that’s true at all. In the first movie, Scott was perfectly polite and friendly until Logan manhandled him for no reason and started harassing Jean. And his active dislike for Logan didn’t start until, you know, Logan stabbed a student under his care in the chest. And in Last Stand, Scott was grieving, and he was doing that because he knew her. Not all grief is manpain. This was him having lost the woman he loved and not knowing how to deal with it. Jean was his fiancee, his partner, his friend, and the woman he had a psychic connection with. Logan’s so-called love for her couldn’t compete with that – he knew her for a week and came up with some idealized image in his head that had nothing to do with who she actually was. We can’t equate those relationships at all.

This portrayal of them – barely interacting, Jean as so passive with few real stances of her own after Logan showed up, Scott as a jealous child that was so dependent on her he literally couldn’t survive with her gone – was a disservice to them and the years they’ve known each other. They aren’t just random people that barely know each other that are dating because it’s convenient. They’ve known and loved each other for years. They were friends, partners, and X-Men.

The Last Stand partially adapted the Dark Phoenix Saga, and in doing that, failed to do the most famous Jean Scott story justice. It tried to do two things at once, and it didn’t end up doing justice to either of them. Neither was well developed, and either could have been a good movie on its own. It tried to make a story centred around the mutant cure, and it tried to make one about Jean becoming the Dark Phoenix. Because they tried both, Jean as Dark Phoenix was pretty much just her siding with Magneto instead of Xavier and having stronger powers. The tragedy that defines the Dark Phoenix arc wasn’t there for me, and the deep philosophical issues that should be involved with a story about the mutant cure were barely even touched upon. The Dark Phoenix arc revolves hugely around Jean and Scott and how much they love each other, but Scott was killed off rather than being the reason for Jean coming back to herself. They had all the parts necessary to make something amazing, but the movie we got was instead borderline incoherent.

It could have been a story about the mutant cure and all the mutant rights issues going along with that. That would have been great. It could have been about Scott having to deal with grief over losing Jean and still having to teach and lead the team and protect his people, while also confronting the fact that as much as he hates his powers at times, he won’t ever even consider taking the cure because he’s needed. The leader of the X-Men, and the general of all mutantkind, has to be a mutant. One of the flaws of the X-Men movies was that Scott, the leader of the X-Men, was mainly portrayed as Jean Grey’s jealous boyfriend who goes down first in every fight. He’s so much more than that. He loved Jean, and there is some canonical evidence of him having a hard time functioning outside a relationship, but she wasn’t the only thing in his life. Having a movie centred around him dealing with the mutant cure and civil rights would have established him as his own person, while also paving the way for a future movie about what Scott as the mutant revolutionary he’s been for years now.

It could have also been Dark Phoenix story, with Jean losing control of her powers and being brought back to herself because of love. The Dark Phoenix Saga is a beautiful tragedy about a woman trying to find her place in a world that hates her for what she is. She’s manipulated and hurt and still wants to protect the innocent – we saw that clearly with her stopping the Hellfire Club from attacking the newly manifested Kitty. It’s about love, and how much Jean loves her family, the world, Scott. It would have been an amazing exploration of who Jean is as a person. It would have focused on her. It would have been more of a straight action movie and character piece than the philosophical civil rights issues that would be raised by a cure story.

I think it would have best had they done both. I’d have wanted the cure storyline first, because it should have been Scott’s. It’s a concept that ties in beautifully to who Scott is and what he does. Scott’s character can be summed up as “guy that loses people he loves constantly and has to protect mutants from persecution regardless of any personal issues”. By all rights, The Last Stand should have been about Scott mourning Jean and having to keep fighting for mutants despite having lost her, and the franchise as a whole should have had more Scott. In the comics, Scott is always the important character when it comes to the existential threats mutants face. He’s the one that keeps them alive. Not Logan, not Xavier, not Mystique. And despite being what I consider a better, more complex character than any of those three, the original X-Men films cast him aside for them and play to the common misconception that he’s boring, while the alternate timeline changes his character to something completely different to make him conventionally interesting – and that’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

I love Jean. And I do love the concept of an awesome, powerful woman whose boyfriend/husband/whatever loves and adores and respects with all his heart. But I hate the idea of that being the extent of it, of there being nothing more to said woman’s partner than loving her and following her to the ends of the earth, just as much as I hate it when female characters are flat and exist to be a romantic interest. That’s not Scott at all. Killing Scott would absolutely be a valid story choice, but it has to be for a reason. He needs to be dying for a cause, or to protect someone else, or while doing what he does – not murdered by his fiancée after being so grief stricken after losing her that he couldn’t teach his classes or lead his team or focus on anything he had to do. He loves Jean, but he’s not just her boyfriend, just as she’s not just his girlfriend. Both the cure story and a properly done Dark Phoenix story would have showed that off beautifully.

Both these stories would have revolved around Jean and Scott loving each other, something we barely saw in the movies we got. And that’s a damn shame. These two characters comprise what’s arguably the single most iconic X-Men couple, and the conclusion to a film trilogy about the X-Men, an adaptation of a movie about them, portrayed their relationship badly for the third consecutive movie.