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Cable, step aside: how Marvel chose its new X-Men, according to the top editor who helped make the decisions

The From the Ashes editor speaks to which characters got "sidelined" for the relaunch, and why

Image credit: Marvel, YouTube

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The X-Men relaunch is mere days away as of this writing, with a very familiar cast of Marvel's mighty mutants set to take readers out of Krakoa and into the From the Ashes era. But exactly how did Marvel choose which characters would shoulder that heavy burden? After all, there are literally hundreds of fan-favorite mutants out there - which of them deserve to relaunch the brand?

Thanks to one of Marvel's top editors, now we know.

Writing in his weekly substack, Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort has been pulling the curtain back on the House of Ideas' editorial process with some regularity. In the most recent edition, Brevoort broached the topic of character selection after a fan wrote in inquiring about their own favorite.

"Does Rasputin IV appear in this new phase of the X-Men," asks Alison Cabot, "or was she shelved?"

Rasputin IV, in case you haven't been following X-Comix recently, was a creation of the villainous Mister Sinister in an alternate timeline that ended up jumping into the canonical timeline, as X-Men characters tend to do. She has the powers of several mutants combined, and made her real-time debut in the 2023 Sins of Sinister storyline ... but we'd previously seen glimpses of her in House of X/Powers of X, way back in 2019, however. As you might be able to tell, Rasputin IV's history is a complicated one, and for that reason, it appears she won't be appearing in the relaunch.

"One of my first decrees to all of my creative teams as we started things up," writes Brevoort, "was that I wanted everything to take place in the here and now. And I wanted it to be digestible for ordinary people who hadn’t been following the books for a couple of years. So that meant momentarily sidelining any characters who came from the future or from an alternate timeline or any of that stuff."

He continues, "[I] wanted a clean entry point, and there was already a ton of baggage from Krakoa that needed to be covered without trying to do alternate future origin or 'a chimera made from the DNA of four other mutants'."

Related: Marvel's X-Men Krakoan Age 2019 - 2024: An Obituary

If you've kept up on the X-Men relaunch announcements, you'll see how they all follow Brevoort's philosophy. The characters on the covers of upcoming X-Books are folks like Cyclops, Jubilee, Emma Frost, and Wolverine - mutants that even the most casual of readers would recognize.

"Even relatively popular characters, such as Cable and Bishop were sidelined for this reason." Brevoort says.

Of course, every rule comes with its exceptions, and there was one character to whom Marvel gave a pass, despite their complex history.

"I permitted Rachel [Summers] to be a part of X-FORCE," Brevoort admits, "because she was attached to Betsy [Braddock]. She’s also a long-established character, one that I think you can get into without even needing to immediately mention 'grew up during Days of Future Past and was a mutant-hunting slave-hound'."

(To be fair, Tom, "grew up during Days of Future Past and was a mutant-hunting slave-hound" is actually one of the less complicated X-Origins.)

But if you're favorite X-Man with a mind-bogglingly complicated history isn't part of the relaunch just yet, don't worry. There are plenty more characters on the way.

"They’ll all begin to show up here and there as we get things established," Brevoort confirms.

Hopefully, for the sake of Rasputin IV's fans, things get established pretty soon.

Join Popverse in our own little X-Mansion as we cover just about everything you need to know about the X-Men. Learn how Marvel's mighty mutants are classified by power, or why the Krakoan Age of comics is coming to an end. And once you're done with those, keep up with the characters' big screen outings via Popverse's X-men movie watch order.

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Grant DeArmitt avatar
Grant DeArmitt: Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. As Povperses Staff Writer, he crisscroses the pop culture landscape bringing you the news and opinions about the big things (and the next big things). He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.
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