Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler)

NightcrawlerSurprise surprise, we already have an official image from the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, featuring a character we didn’t see for a while: Nightcrawler, who’ll be portrayed by Kodi Smit-McPhee. Not much is known about Nightcrawler’s role in the film, apart from the fact that he’ll be part of the new team of teenager X-Men gathered by Charles Xavier (maybe his relation with Mystique will be finally explored). Of course, he already appeared in X2: X-Men United in an older version, portrayed by Alan Cumming: in the movie, he was brainwashed by William Stryker into attacking the President of the United States, and he later joined the X-Men in defeating Stryker and his men. Behind the scenes, we know that he abandoned the X-Men since he didn’t like their violent methods (actually, it was just Cumming who didn’t want to undergo the make-up again for the small part they asked from him in X-Men: The Last Stand). Waiting to see what Smit-McPhee will do with a character that thanks to Cummings remains one of the best portrayals in the franchise yet, let’s see who the original one is.

The birth of Kurt Wagner wasn’t exactly a normal story: a German noblewoman, Raven Darkholme (actually the mutant shapeshifter Mystique) had married Baron Christian Wagner, a noble from a remote village on the Bavarian Alps, in Germany. During one of her husband’s receptions, Raven had met one of the Baron’s business partners, Azazel, a mysterious and fascinating stranger from La Isla des Demonas. The two started a relationship, and Raven got pregnant. Soon after, Azazel abandoned his heartbroken lover, telling her to raise their son as if he was the Baron’s one. The Baron knew he was sterile, so he had some doubts regarding the baby’s paternity…but Raven cut short his doubts by killing him, making it look like a tragic incident. Unfortunately, while nightcrawlercomics1she was delivering the baby, the uncommon shape of the newborn made her labour even harder, and she lost concentration, revealing her true, blue-skinned appearance; plus, her baby was covered with a thin blue fur, with a pointy tail and ten fingers between hands and feet. The Baron’s servants, horrified, spread the word, and soon a mob of superstitious peasans gathered around the castles with torches and pitchforks: forced to run for her life, Raven escaped with the baby, but during the running she dropped the newborn in a well. Believing baby Kurt to be dead, Mystique fled. Actually, the demonic mutant Azazel used his powers as a teleporter to save the baby, and brought him to another one of his paramours, the sorceress Margali Szardos, telling her to raise him. Margali brought Kurt to the circus she worked in as a fortuneteller, and the baby grew up happily, “adopted” by all the circus artists, who had no prejudice at all towards his weird appearance, and spending his time playing with Margali’s biological children, Stephan and Jimaine. Because of his unnatural agility, Kurt became the acrobatic star of the circus, and started hiding in plain sight: during the show, he could show himself freely, as the audience believed him to be a man in a scary costume. With his enlarged family to take care of him and free to be himself in front of everyone, Kurt was happy.

When Kurt got older, a Texan millionaire, Arnos Jardine, made an offer to the circus owner Herr Getmann to “buy” the blue boy and to lock him in his freakshow. Wanting to save her adopted son, Margali allowed him to escape, helped by her friend Armen Freilich. Getmann, however, spotted him, and as he was about to shoot Kurt, the young mutant teleported for the first time, escaping certain death. He seeked refuge in a nearby church, where he was welcomed by the local priest, Father Wagner. During his time spent with the priest, Kurt became a devout nightcrawlercomics2Catholic, and embraced his own humanity despite his demonic appearance. Kurt spent good time with the priest, but it was short: Getmann tried to torture the boy’s location out of Freilich, who ended up taking shelter in that same church. Surrounded with an angry mob once again, Kurt teleported Armen to safety, then came back to save Father Wagner: Kurt was more than able to subdue and kill Getmann, but Wagner reminded him of his newfound humanity, and the young mutant refused to react. Just before the crowd gathered by Getmann shot and killed both Kurt and the priest, everybody around the church stopped, as if they were frozen, with the only exception of Kurt himself: it was an effect of the powers of Charles Xavier, an American telepath who had come to recruit Kurt for a new generation of X-Men. Xavier modified the presents’ memories so that they remembered the blue mutant to have died in the church’s fire, and offered Kurt a new house and family, promising he would have never been seen as a monster again. Kurt agreed to follow Professor X, and, with the nickname Nightcrawler, he joined Cyclops and the other new members of the X-Men in a mission to save the original team from the living island Krakoa. The mission was a success, but the integration between the old X-Men team and the new one wasn’t exactly an easy process; eventually Kurt’s attitude and good heart won the respect and the affection of every single teammate. With time, Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters became truly a new home for Kurt: finally, he had the family he had always looked for.

Kurt Wagner is an extremely gentle and good-hearted man, with a kind and sensitive soul that clashes with his horrific appearance. As Nightcrawler, his mutant powers make him extremely agile and athletic, and allows him to teleport to short distances traveling through Brimestone Dimension; he can perfectly see in the dark, and has become with years of training an extremely proficient swordsman, wielding even three swords at a time thanks to his prehensile tail. The most loyal of friends and the kindest person who ever entered Xavier’s School, Nightcrawler is the living demonstration that physical appearance doesn’t determine nor reflect a person’s inner nature, a pacifist at heart who desperately fights for a future in which humans and mutants can cohabitate in mutual respect…and maybe love.

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13 Comments

  1. […] the Cathedral, the most remarkable were probably the blind vigilante Daredevil and the mutant Nightcrawler). The only one Lantom was personally involved with, however, was Tandy Bowen, best known as the […]

  2. […] his wife’s pregnancy, and that a furious crowd had apparently killed both her and the baby, Kurt. When time came, Azazel finally gathered all of his children, thanks to his psychic powers, in […]

  3. […] of the current members of the X-Men. In X2: X-Men United she battled Mastermind along with Nightcrawler to free Professor X, while in The Last Stand she unofficially became the team leader […]

  4. […] attacked by the mercenaries. Thhe call, however, had been received, and soon Cyclops, Phoenix and Nightcrawler arrived to save the day. The X-Men defeated the White Queen and her men, and they returned Kitty […]

  5. […] began. Her presence in the movie is justified by the fact that the authors needed somebody with Nightcrawler‘s powers, but without having to call Alan Cumming back for the role. Anyway, let’s see […]

  6. […] she murdered her husband when he became suspicious of the child’s true father. When little Kurt Wagner was born, Raven was forced to abandon him too in order to save herself, since the monstrous […]

  7. […] fight. Thanks to R’Chel (a mind-controlled Rachel), Raina and the others rapidly subdued Nightcrawler, Storm and Bishop, with only X-23 and Psylocke avoiding […]

  8. […] Along with the other X-Men Xavier had recruited (Kenyan Ororo “Storm” Munroe, German Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner, Canadian James “Wolverine” Howlett, Apache John “Thunderbird” […]

  9. […] Three incident, Banshee accepted Xavier’s request, and joined Storm, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Nightcrawler and Colossus in the second incarnation of the X-Men. The rescue mission put the new X-Men […]

  10. […] managed to identify him with his superhuman senses, and he engaged him in battle along with Nightcrawler: Proteus tried to possess Wolverine, but was repelled by the Adamantium in his skeleton (in his […]

  11. […] children in the psychiatric ward put her in contact first with the mutant Storm, than with Nightcrawler, who was investigating on what looked like a demonic invasion. Chris started cooperating with […]

  12. […] battle to the Club’s leaders. During the ensuing fight, Pierce found himself squaring against Nightcrawler, Colossus and Wolverine, and it was the latter who managed to nearly sever one of his arms with […]

  13. […] the royal family brought war to Latveria and they joined forces with Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler of the X-Men to free their people from Doom, brother and sister […]


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