In June, Marvel pulled off a wedding shocker by marrying longtime lovers Rogue and Gambit within the pages of X-Men Gold #30. It only took 27 years of courtship and enough ups and downs to last a lifetime.
Writer Kelly Thompson set the stage for their union in the Rogue and Gambit miniseries earlier this year. Now, Thompson is writing the couple's ongoing adventures in Mr. and Mrs. X, which recently debuted in comic book stores. SYFY WIRE caught up with Thompson to talk about her new X-Men spinoff, during which she told us that she wasn't initially aware Rogue and Gambit were heading to the altar.
"I knew it was a possibility last fall," Thompson says. "And once it was a possibility people were more and more excited about the idea so I began developing the pitch for their ongoing book and I also began making some adjustments to the Rogue and Gambit miniseries to get Gambit and Rogue where they needed to be for a marriage to make sense."
According to Thompson, this wasn't always the plan for Rogue and Gambit. In fact, her original ending for that miniseries wasn't expected to bring the couple back together.
"When I pitched and even when I had started writing I had actually kept the ending a bit vague so that we could end it with them together or with them going their separate ways," Thompson says. "The idea was to tell a great story and to help these two great characters get through all this intense baggage from their past - so that they could go in any direction we wanted from there."
For Mr. and Mrs. X, Thompson has been joined by Oscar Bazaldua, who will be the artist for at least the first five issues. Thompson expressed her admiration for Bazaldua's work on the title, especially the couple's wedding in the first issue.
"I love what Oscar's doing, he's so great to work with," Thompson says. "He's got such a clean lovely style and everything has so much energy — which is a great fit for Rogue and Gambit. A lot of those pages with Gambit and Rogue in sheets are pretty high up there as far as 'favorite images' go... but I still have to go with that incredible double page spread of their wedding kiss. I'm secretly hoping we get a second printing so that kiss can [be] made into a cover — it definitely deserves it!"
Rogue's foster mom, Mystique, crashed the ceremony, and for the first time in a long time, the mother and daughter duo actually embraced each other. However, Thompson was less optimistic about a long-term reconciliation between the two.
"I don't really think anything has changed for them in their relationship," Thompson says. "I think everything they said in that scene is true, but it's also at best a truce being called. I see it simply as a matter of Rogue having a beautiful day and wanting to keep it that way. And being willing to, if only for a moment, look past everything that's been toxic in her life with Mystique so that she can still have that beautiful day. We'll see what happens next for them. Mystique is always up to something and that's impossible for Rogue to forget... which is probably for the best."
After being able to enjoy their honeymoon in space, however briefly, Rogue and Gambit have been roped into an intergalactic adventure with a few familiar faces.
"It was always going to be a honeymoon story... and setting it in space immediately injects sci-fi and superhero elements to a 'romance story,'" noted Thompson. "It was also a great way to put Gambit and Rogue in the kind of story we don't always get to see them in. I also love the idea that Gambit tries to get them as far away from X-Men shenanigans as possible so they can have some time to themselves but that destiny has other ideas. Certainly, the opening pages of Issue #1 are telegraphing that idea pretty directly."
Readers of Excalibur may recognize a former member named Cerise, who made her return in Mr. and Mrs. X. Thompson told us that Cerise will be a part of the first storyline in space and expressed her desire to see the character back with the X-Men.
"Cerise will be appearing throughout the first arc but her role is tied to a few mysteries we're exploring to I don't want to say more," Thompson says. "To be honest I'd love to bring her back into the X-Men fold more permanently as I'm a big fan of the character (and she was great with Nightcrawler, too) but we'll have to see."
The first issue's ending also reunited Rogue with her Uncanny Avengers teammate, Deadpool. During their time together, the two nearly pursued a relationship until Deadpool's mistakes drove them apart. How will the Merc with a Mouth react to missing out on his chance to be with Rogue?
"I think that question has already been answered for him pretty clearly in the end of Gerry Duggan's last few...issues," Thompson says. " But just because you know the answer doesn't mean it stops you from having feelings, you know? And Deadpool loves to pick at his own wounds... especially if it's funny and can mess up other people's lives a bit."
Deadpool won't be the only X-Men character interested to learn about Rogue and Gambit's nuptials.
"I think Gambit's family is the biggest missing element — his father Jean Luc and Tante Mattie especially," Thompson says. "I didn't think it made sense for them to be there given the way the wedding happened... But Jean Luc and Tante Mattie [are] a missing piece for Gambit that I'd love to rectify. I have ideas! Of course Belladonna and Magneto are interesting questions, too."
First, the couple has to survive their space adventure, and Thompson isn't going to make it easy on them.
"The rest of this arc has very little downtime," Thompson says. "They are being hotly pursued by what feels like the entire Shi'ar Empire. And we're pretty wall to wall with cool guest stars — we've got Deadpool, Cerise, Technet, Deathbird, The Imperial Guard, Gladiator, and The Starjammers. And there will be some pretty intense repercussions in this story for our couple... again, as telegraphed in those opening pages."
Eventually, Rogue and Gambit will make it back to Earth. But Thompson only offered a few broad hints about what lies ahead for them.
"I have a cool 'bottle episode' planned for Issue #6 that I'm really excited about and which will have a lot of familiar faces as guest stars, but arc two is still being worked out, so I can't say much."
Mr. and Mrs. X #1 is out in stores now. The second issue will be released this month.