The first X-Men films introduced us to marquee mutants like Wolverine and Storm. For the 1960s prequel X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn has dug deep into X-Men lore and plucked out some of the comic's most obscure mutants.
You may be familiar with the returning characters (Magneto, Professor X, Mystique, and Beast), but what about the rest of the roster? Here's a primer on the film's lesser-known costars.
Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz)
In the comics, Angel is one of Xavier's students. She possesses fly-like powers and is a member of the "Special Class," or those troubled mutants at Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters with less than desirable abilities. After it's revealed that Magneto is secretly the teacher of the Special Class, Angel briefly joins the Brotherhood (for maybe 10 minutes), but sticks with Xavier. Since debuting in the early 2000s, Angel hasn't appeared all that frequently, as she lost her powers. Hopefully the movie will show off her power of acidic vomit.
Azazel (Jason Flemyng)
During writer Chuck Austen's critically derided run on Uncanny X-Men, we met Azazel, Nightcrawler's father (Mystique is Nightcrawler's mother). Why did Azazel have a demonic appearance? Because he was the Devil. Like, Mr. Satan Beelzebub McLucifer.
After Austen transformed Nightcrawler into literal hellspawn, every single X-writer afterwards chose to ignore this completely stupid plot point. It's pretty brazen of X-Men: First Class to include Azazel, as he's probably one of the most hated villains in X-Men history (and not in a "love to hate" kind of way). In any case, there's no way in hell (zing!) First Class will explore (or even acknowledge) his devilish heritage.
Darwin (Edi Gathegi)
Darwin possess the power of reactive evolution, which allows him to survive in all environments — for example, he'll develop gills when submerged. In the comics, Darwin is a member of an emergency X-Men squad Charles Xavier recruits to save the primary team. After this team mostly dies, Darwin's mutant power allowed him to cling to life in an incorporeal state. He's since joined the X-Men and their sister organization X-Factor for several adventures.
Emma Frost/The White Queen (January Jones)
Easily the most famous mutant in this article, Emma Frost is a telepath who also has the ability to transform her body into organic diamond. A different, younger incarnation of her was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine for 30 seconds (but everyone's ignoring that now).
In the comics, Emma began her career as an antagonist of the X-Men. She teamed up with Sebastian Shaw's Hellfire Club, a cabal of wealthy mutants with schemes for global domination. After battling the X-Men on numerous occasions, Emma began helping the heroes — she trained the teenage mutants of the X-Men offshoot team Generation X and later became an official X-Man. Cyclops is her main squeeze these days.
Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon)
The big bad of First Class, Shaw is a mutant with the power to convert kinetic energy into super-strength. You can pummel him all day with a jackhammer, and he'll reroute that beating into a single, Earth-shattering punch. Shaw leads the Hellfire Club, which has teamed up with the X-Men from time to time. However, he's normally content to pursue his own sinister agenda and discreetly manipulate the movers and shakers of the world. Unlike Magneto, Shaw doesn't give a fig about mutant liberation — he just wants to be in charge.
Havok (Lucas Till)
Havok is the younger brother of Cyclops in comic book continuity, but it looks like they've flip-flopped that for First Class. Havok has the ability absorb cosmic radiation and transform it into destructive plasma bursts. In First Class, he's one of Xavier's early recruits.
Riptide (Álex González)
Perhaps the most obscure character in First Class, Riptide is a villainous mutant with the power become a human tornado. Once spinning, Riptide fires disgusting bone fragments at his nemeses — these shards often take the forms of spikes and ninja stars. In the funny papers, Riptide is a member of a mutant assassination team known as the Marauders.
Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne)
Moira may be human, but she's an important part of the X-Men mythos. A Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, Moira first meets Charles Xavier at Oxford University, and the two fall in love. Their romance eventually fizzles out, but she remains a valuable ally to the X-Men.
Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones)
Banshee's an old-school X-Man who has the power to create supersonic screams and fly. In the film, he's a teenager, but in the comics, he's an adult who has a romantic relationship with Moira and leads the young mutants of Generation X with Emma Frost.