Minor character spoilers ahead for X-Men: Apocalypse (nothing plot-related).
Let's imagine for a moment, as [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) hits theaters, that you have the power to choose a set of mutant abilities for yourself. Bearing in mind that your skillset should make you both useful in situations of peril and undeniably badass, do you choose...
- The ability to hack into the mind of any living human or mutant;
- The ability to shapeshift into a perfect representation of a stranger;
- Or the ability to generate tiny fireworks from your hands?
If you chose the third option, congratulations! You are a certified Jubilee fan, and possibly also a little bit insane. You may remember that Jubilee was initially expected to have a decent sized role in Apocalypse, so what happened?
Let's break down the comic book history of the colorful mutant and take a look at where it's all gone wrong for Jubes on the big screen.
Who Exactly Is Jubilee?
Jubilation Lee is a mutant hailed from Beverly Hills, CA who, like so many classic superheroes, comes armed with a tragic backstory.
When Jubilation was a teenager, her wealthy parents, who had come to the US as Chinese immigrants, lost all of their money on the stock market. In the very same weekend they were then assassinated by a hitman who had mistaken them for their neighbours, also named the Lees. Talk about rotten luck...
She then began hanging around the mall, getting into trouble with security guards and inadvertently sparking her powers, before going to Xavier's school.
Traditionally, her powers have been kind of lame — her big party track is the ability to create pyrotechnic explosions (miniature fireworks) from her hands. That might explain why a recent CheatSheet article passionately outlined the many reasons future X-Men movies should steer clear of Jubilee.
Unlikely Fashion Icon
It's pretty much impossible to argue that Jubilee's beloved yellow jacket, which she rocks in various comics since the character's inception in Uncanny X-Men #244 back in '89, is considerably more iconic than her actual powers.
Although her powers drastically altered after becoming infected with a strain of vampirism, a result of a bite from the son of Dracula (naturally!), the sheer ludicrousness of Jubes' origin story and her underwhelming original mutation are probably behind Bryan Singer and Simon Kinbergs' hesitance to do a proper Jubilee story in an X-Men movie.
Wasn't Apocalypse Jubilee's New Dawn?
Still, remember how those first promo images suggested Jubilee, as played by Lana Condor, would have a pretty decent role in Apocalypse? If ever Jubes was going to strike out on the big screen, a movie set in the colorful '80s would be the perfect opportunity for her to don that florescent yellow jacket.
Here's what Lana Condor, who plays the latest incarnation of Jubilee on the big-screen, had to say about her heroine prior to the release of Apocalypse:
She is a student at the X-Mansion and she’s been here for about 10 years ... I think in this film she serves as a timepiece, ‘cause you’ll never really forget that you’re, like, in the ‘80s. She also serves as kind of comedic relief at times when the real S-H-I-T is going down.
The idea that she's been at Xavier's school so long is interesting (but also kind of confusing - does nobody ever graduate?), but if Condor hadn't shared that soundbite, you'd never know from watching the movie. Unless I'm mistaken, she also doesn't have any particularly comic lines of dialogue.
In fact, Condor gets more lines in a viral mock-infomercial advertising Xavier's school than she does in Apocalypse itself. She leaves the X-Mansion a grand total of once, and that's to go the mall. There was even a mall scene in which she, Jean and Scott find a Dazzler EP in a record store, but that was cut (expect to see it on the deleted scenes when the Blu-Ray release hits).
Which, in a way, kind of sums up Jubilee in the X-Men movies. A character who is a major component of the comics has pretty much been paid dust on screen, appearing four times, played by three actors, never having anything to do. Sure, her fashion game is strong, but have you honestly ever thought "Damn, what this perilous situation really calls for is a little more Jubilee!"?
Maybe you have. Maybe there is a place for Jubilee on the big screen. But for now, it seems the equally beloved and maligned mutant/mallrat with almost thirty years of comic book history will be consigned to the page.
Images and gifs courtesy of various artists on Tumblr. The seriously incredible header art with Scott and Jean was made by Paul Hoppe, whose portfolio you should definitely check out. Watch the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer below, and tell me...