[identity profile] innerpoise.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: Can’t Get You Outta My Head
Author: [livejournal.com profile] innerpoise
Spoilers: Both movies
Email: aryn_dro at yahoo dot com
Personal Website: dessert first
Quick Note: Major thanks to [livejournal.com profile] em_meredith, [livejournal.com profile] purple_smurf, [livejournal.com profile] silly_cleo, [livejournal.com profile] devildoll, and [livejournal.com profile] misskatherine for the impromptu beta! Y'all rock.


When X-Men the movie came out all the way back in 2000, it was one of the first among the many, many comic book movies that’ve been made of late. It was supposed to be all action! All the time! Wolverine! Cuttin’ stuff! And big ole ‘splosions! But X-Men: The Movie, while it had all the necessary snikts and ‘splosions, at its heart centered on two people who happened to be thrown in the middle of everything, their immediate connection, and their unlikely relationship. Wolverine and Rogue, two characters whose relationship in comics and cartoons had rarely been touched upon, suddenly had an entire movie’s plot hinged on their chemistry and the growing feelings they had for one another. It’s complicated and angsty and it’s this huge catalyst for not just X1’s plot but also for Wolverine and Rogue’s individual choices and how they grow as characters.

The thing about X-Men is that there are about, oh, 73 different ‘verses, each with their own slightly different canon and characterizations. X1 and X2 took huge liberties with even the most generally accepted pieces of X-Men canon. It’s movieverse, where everything is topsy turvy. Jean understands medical science! Storm’s meek and annoying! Wolverine’s tall! Oh it’s a mad, mad world.

Logan : What the hell are you doing?
Rogue : I'm sorry. I need a ride, I thought you could help me.
Logan : Get out.
Rogue : Where am I supposed to go?
Logan : I don't know.
Rogue : You don't know, or you don't care.
Logan : Pick one.

-(X-Men: The Movie)

Wolverine aka Logan, in movieverse, starts off as a loner. Lo. Ner. Logan looks out for Logan and Logan likes it that way. He has no home, no family, no real name, and no memories. All he knows is that he woke up naked in the woods fifteen years ago with no clue of where or who he was. Anything else is just vague flashes and nightmares. He does know that someone gave him the codename Wolverine and that he is a mutant with highly attuned senses and the ability to heal quickly (and consequently, not age). He also has an adamantium skeleton and claws in both hands that were installed before he can remember. He's spent those past fifteen years on his own, cultivating his image as a Tough Loner, getting by by fighting for money, and doing other mysterious loner-type things we don't know about.

Rogue aka Marie is another mutant loner by choice. We know a bit more about her back story. After having the worst First Kiss in the history of awkward first kisses, she discovers that she is a mutant. She involuntarily sucks out the energy, memories, powers, and eventually the life of anyone who she comes into skin-to-skin contact with. She runs away from her nice, suburban southern home so her parents won’t have to deal with having an untouchable freak for a daughter and spends eight months on her own before she by chance meets Logan. Movieverse Rogue, as opposed to traditional comic!Rogue, is younger (somewhere between 17 and 18) and more subdued. At times she shows hints of her tough and sassy side (taking off the gloves in X2, for example) but on the whole she is shy and reserved. She’s not as secure in her loner status as Logan is. She’s the one who eyes him in the bar during the news report about mutants, she’s the one who hides in his truck and asks for his help, and she is the first one who chooses to stay with the X-Men and call the mansion home. It’s her fear of herself and her own power that drives her away, first from her home and later from the mansion the day after the Late Night Logan Touching Fiasco. She doesn’t want to be trouble or a threat to anyone, and so she’s a girl, on the verge of adulthood, hiding from her own life, afraid to get close to anyone but at the same time craving a connection with others.

X1 is rife with canon fodder. In the first part of the movie when they’re basically strangers, they’re still immediately protective of the other. Him in the obvious ways: asking after her as soon as he wakes up at the mansion, immediately going after her when they find out she ran away. And her in the way she worries if his claws hurt and goes to him when she hears him having a nightmare. The way they react to each other. He doesn't hesitate around her, he's not afraid of touching her. And she's not intimidated by him at all. They're a danger to each other, yet they're the only ones who are comfortable around the other. Again, it's the whole Two-Outsiders-Being-Together thing.

The bedroom scene, the aforementioned Late Night Logan Touching Fiasco, violently throws them closer together. Rogue goes to his bed in the middle of the night. She goes to his bed in the middle of the night because she hears him having a nightmare. She herself had been unable to sleep, so it’s possible she went to him to be comforted as much as she did to relieve him of his dreams. Either way she’s there in the middle of the night in this almost stranger’s bedroom to try to reach out emotionally in some way to him. Then Logan accidentally gets stabby and everything changes. He’s crying and shaking and desperate because his power has gotten away from him. But she turns the situation around and shows that she is his equal in terms of strength by touching him and nearly killing him the way he had nearly killed her. In thirty seconds they are no longer passing strangers. He’s invaded her body, she his mind.

“Rogue eased one arm up slowly and gently touched his face, as if he were a long-lost lover and this would be the last time she would ever see him. For a short moment her touch was light. Wonderful.”
- (X-Men: The Movie: The Novelization Page 106)

Then there’s the train scene the morning after when Rogue runs away from the mansion.

Logan: I'm sorry about last night.
Rogue: Me too.
Logan: You runnin' again?
Rogue: I heard the professor was mad at me.
Logan: Who told you that?
Rogue: A boy at school. You think I should go back.
Logan: I think you should follow your instincts.
Rogue: The first boy I ever kissed was in a coma for three weeks. I can still feel him. And it's the same with you.
Logan: There's not many people that'll understand what you're going through. But I think this guy, Xavier, is one of them. He seems to genuinely want to help you. And that's a rare thing, for people like us. So whaddya say? Give these geeks one more shot? ... Come on, I'll take care of you.
Rogue: You promise?
Logan: Yeah. Yeah, I promise.

-(X-Men: The Movie)

Logan makes promises and commitments to no one. Not to Jean, not to the X-Men, he barely agrees to cooperate with Xavier even after he offers Logan potential information about his past. Yet here he is promising himself to Rogue. It’s a huge new change for him and it’s one of the few things he sticks to, both later in X1 and in X2 when they’re escaping from the mansion and she says that they [herself, Bobby, and John] need him. Both times he takes care of her at a sacrifice to himself. At one point in the Statue of Liberty he’s restrained by Magneto and all it takes is her plaintive cry for help and Logan is stabbing himself to get to her. Stabbing. Himself. Of course he knows he’ll heal, but it’s still not exactly pleasant. It’s interesting that Logan has spent the last fifteen years considering himself invulnerable and just when he’s found someone who can hurt him he suddenly has to save her from Magneto, the second person he’s met who can do serious permanent damage to him. It’s the first time he has to be strong in the face of his own potential mortality and he still thinks Rogue is worth the risk without a second thought. At the end of his struggle at the Statue of Liberty, Logan has gone all that way and fought so hard only to hold her cold, dead body. He chooses to, as far as he knows, sacrifice himself so that maybe -maybe- she’ll live. He’s holding her, crying (not for the first time, either! Big Bad Wolverine becomes a blubbering baby because of Rogue a couple times throughout the movie), willing her back to life.

Then there’s their final goodbye scene. His dogtags are his only piece of his former life, the only clue to his history. And he hands them to her at the end of X1 without a second thought, just a promise to come back for them. He's making promises of commitment. He's Wolverine and he's making a commitment. He will come back, she will see him again. Until then she owns an important piece of him and can hold it in the palm of her hand. (The infamous dogtags pop back up in X2. We find out that Rogue had been wearing the dogtags around her wrist, at least when she went to bed. They end up back in Logan's possession, until he throws them away as a sign that he's letting go of his former life and his obsession to discover his past. Which is great for him, but totally sad for shippers who lost their big piece of shiny symbolic shippy jewelry.)

Their dynamic is interesting in that in some ways they’re total opposites and in other ways completely alike. They're two very different types of loners who are undeniably drawn to each other. He has always cut himself off from others and keeps himself emotionally distant, choosing to keep his relationships physical. Fight 'em or fuck 'em, then run. Then you have Rogue who is untouchable and forced to keep herself physically distant. Yet they spend the entirety of X1 screwing that up. Logan, dead set against caring about any political movement for mutantkind or anyone who isn’t Logan, cares about Rogue. She makes him vulnerable, something he’s not used to. She can make him physically weak with a mere touch. She already knows what he’s really like under the Tough Loner façade. He has spent years cultivating his image as an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in flannel, yet suddenly here’s this girl who can emphasize with him. She knows his thoughts, understands his fears, and shares his nightmares. There is nothing of himself that he can hide from her. And she makes him vulnerable in that he cares enough about her to put her own life ahead of his.

“As far as he was concerned, he would get Rogue back on his own, or die trying. It was finally something worth dying for.”
- (X-Men: The Movie: The Novelization Page 154)

For Rogue, she has someone who can physically touch her ... kind of. Logan at least doesn't go into a three-week coma from one small touch. He touches her, and she instantly knows more about him and the way his mind works than he's ever allowed anyone else to know. He isn’t afraid of what she could physically do to him and she isn’t afraid or intimidated by his presence. It’s interesting to note the way their body language changes throughout X1. In the truck when they’ve just met, she is twitchy and awkward while he is impassive and nonchalant. Then at the end when she sees him off, it’s a complete turn around. She is calm, she looks him in the eye and smiles at him, completely at ease in his presence. Meanwhile Logan is the twitchy one, shuffling and fidgeting with his bag. She is not afraid of him or what she could accidentally do to him, while he is unnerved knowing that he is on unfamiliar ground; he knows that he can no longer just play Tough Loner Guy around her. That’s totally new for him. For her part she is stuck with him constantly in her head. Even when he’s gone he’s still a very real presence in her day-to-day life. Different fanfic writers have their own unique interpretation of what this means and how absorbing so much of Logan affected Rogue, but they all in their own way show that it reinforces their connection. Logan will always be first for Rogue because she literally cannot for one moment forget him even if she wanted.

In X2 their shared scenes are fewer and things are a bit different. We do have the nudge wink scene of Mystique trying to get to Logan and at one point briefly transforming into a tempting, touchable Rogue (so see? Even Mystique sees it). But most of the movie focuses on their other Official, Movie Designated Romantic Interests.

One of the biggest obstacles (besides the spontaneous claws of death and the no touching EVER rule) is this presence of romantic interests. First there’s Logan and Jean. In nearly every X-Men ‘verse, Logan has always wanted Jean. In the comics she is a constant in his ever-changing world. In the comics, their relationship is based on years of trust and love and working together. In the comics, their relationship is deep and complicated.

However, this isn’t comicverse. Jean is designated as Logan’s official Romantic Interest because she is in the comics, not necessarily because of anything meaningful between them in the movies. He is immediately attracted to her because, well, she’s Famke Janssen and he has eyes. Jean likes the flirting and the attention because, well, he’s Hugh Jackman and she has eyes. By openly lusting after Jean, Logan simultaneously gets to torment Scott. And he can never resist an opportunity to harass Scott, to challenge his role as the alpha male of the X-Men. In X2 it’s essentially much of the same heavy flirting. But when she rejects him after the kiss, he has such a look of resignment on his face. Not heartbreak or torment that the only woman he will ever love has rejected him, just an “oh well, I guess that’s that then” face. By the end of the movie he has accepted her rejection just as he is coming to terms with her death.

Wolverine : She did make a choice Scott, it was you.
- (X2: X-Men United)

Then there’s Bobby and Rogue in what has to be one of the more random pairings in any X-Men ‘verse. Bobby is very cute, very much a boy, and a very vanilla one at that. In X1, he’s the first person we see show an obvious, outward romantic interest in Rogue even after he knows about her mutation. He’s nice, non-threatening, and he isn’t prone to driving off for undetermined lengths of time. He’s like the Anti-Logan. Rogue obviously cares for him in X2, but it’s still overshadowed by her deeper connection with Logan. When she and Bobby nearly kiss on the couch, all it takes is the sound of a motorcycle engine to make her grin and promptly forget all about Bobby. Their reunion in the foyer is a great indicator for their relationship at that point. Rogue’s grinning like an idiot and immediately goes to hug Logan; in contrast we had seen her just a few seconds ago be awkward and hesitant to get too close to Bobby. Logan returns the emotion, hugging and smiling back at her. It’s one of the few times we see Wolverine being happy and unguarded. He's joking with her and also grinning like an idiot (by Wolvie standards) up until Bobby breaks in on them. He practically has to drag her out of the foyer and away from Logan. Logan's reunion with Jean on the other hand is closer to normal, reserved Wolverine behavior.

Later during the raid on the mansion, Rogue’s primary concern becomes Logan. “I have to find someone,” she says in a cut scene. We see her with Bobby and John, but it’s not until she’s found Logan and convinced him to go with them that she’s willing to leave. For Bobby’s part, he really seems to care about her and sees Logan as a threat by the way he possessively freezes Logan’s hand when he shakes it, trying to exert his power. He's the one who declares himself Rogue's boyfriend when she's still fumbling to give Bobby a more innocuous title. Logan doesn't seem to take their relationship too seriously either since he immediately asks how they do anything physical. He doesn't have much regard for their privacy as a couple (or else he's looking for ideas). Bobby is aware of their closeness. He doesn't see Logan as Rogue's protective older brother-figure; he sees him as a threat to his status as Boyfriend of Rogue. It’s almost a mirror of Logan challenging Scott through Jean. Rogue likes Bobby, and likes being liked by Bobby; but even Bobby is aware that her deeper emotions are reserved for Logan.

W/R is a ship that is based essentially in canon. Their feelings for one another are all right there on the screen. Shippers take that connection to the next natural level. That's what I love about this relationship. It's not just about pretty people hooking up (although there is that) and it's not just gratitous angst (alhtough there is that). It's a commitment-phobic guy finding himself commiting to a girl who wants to commit to someone but physically can't; yet she is somehow linked to him. Their minds and fates are inexorably tied to the other's whether they like it or not; now how are they going to make that work?

Fandom stuff! Everything you need to be corrupted.

The WR Beta mailing list
[livejournal.com profile] wolverinerogue

General Fun Stuff
Wolverine and Rogue.Com
W/R Fanfiction Archive
Cheeto Run
Official W/R Fanlisting

Movieverse Information
Devildoll's Overview

Comic Information
Uncanny X-Men
W/R Cannon Fodder

Highly Recced Recs
Blackout by Jamie
Chasing the Blast by Victoria P.
Every Purpose Under Heaven by Macha
Fissure by Ransom
His Terrible Swift Sword by Yahtzee
The Journal Series by akskully
Jus Ad Bellum by jenn
Life Less Static by Molly
More Important Than Touch by Diebin
Of Friends and Good Intentions by Jengrrrl
Reasonable Doubts by Gowdie
Run by Dark Ferrett
Safety In Numbers by Elizabeth
A Scent of Plums by darkstar

Other Rec Lists
Katie's Recs

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