The Bisexual Mystique

Rebecca Romijn as Mystique

When it comes to movie adaptations of popular comic book characters, certain creative liberties are almost always taken to make the characters more “relatable” to a wider audience than the comic book reader. There is not a comic book-based movie character in existence that follows their original storyline to the letter. On all of these occasions, particular characteristics and/or abilities have been altered to the filmmakers’ ideal of what moviegoers want to see.

The recent X-Men movies are no exception to this rule. Take, for example, the widely popular character of Mystique (played to sexy, scaly perfection by Rebecca Romijn). In the movies, Mystique is portrayed as Magneto’s second-in-command, and there is also an undertone of a more personal relationship between the two.

Mystique has a brief interaction with Nightcrawler in X-Men 2: X-Men United during a shaky truce between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor Xavier’s fighters. And she has no qualms about Rogue’s attempted murder at the hands of Magneto in the original X-Men movie. These instances are a far cry from the original comic book storyline in which Mystique heads her own Brotherhood, has only a passing acquaintance with Magneto, and is mother to Nightcrawler and Rogue.

More notably, and disappointingly, missing from the films is any trace of Mystique’s bisexuality.

Not that this is not the first time that the character of Mystique has been locked in the closet. Mystique made her first comic book appearance in Ms. Marvel #16 in 1978. The mutant shapeshifter could assume the form of any living being, although her own natural persona was that of Raven Darkholme, a young woman (though she is believed to actually be in her eighties) with blue skin, yellow eyes, and red hair. In the mid-1930s she met fellow mutant Destiny, her lifelong friend and lover — although it would be years before the latter was revealed. Destiny was a telepath who had foreseen many catastrophic world events, and together she and Mystique set about trying to prevent them.

During a period of separation from Destiny, Mystique went on to have an affair with fellow mutant Sabretooth and gave birth to a human son. Disappointed that her child was not also a mutant, Mystique abandoned him. She then married German nobleman Christian Wagner. Unsatisfied in the marriage, she used her shapeshifting powers to have numerous affairs and became pregnant. She gave birth to a blue-skinned, yellow-eyed son who would become Nightcrawler. Not quite yet the mothering kind, Mystique also abandoned him.

She reconnected with Destiny and the two women resumed their relationship. Mystique then came across a shotgun-wielding runaway girl named Rogue and took her in. Destiny’s intuition told her that Rogue would become a powerful asset to them and they raised the girl together. Mystique cared very much for her foster daughter, but their relationship was still a strained one, especially as Rogue joined the X-Men instead of remaining with Mystique’s Brotherhood.