X-Men: First Class Character Profile: Azazel

Posted by MattDemers (362 posts) - - Show Bio

Something that really interests me about X-Men: First Class is that they've decided to take some liberties with characters we've already come to know. Havok will be older than his brother, Scott, and Azazel, the father of Nightcrawler, will have a previous association to the Institute for Higher Learning that didn't exist before.

In the comic book continuity, Azazel made his debut in Uncanny X-men #428 and was created by Chuck Austen and Sean Phillips. It is explained that he is Nightcrawler's biological father, which explains the latter's devil-like features and their shared power of teleportation.

Azazel is the leader of the Neyaphem, a group of mutants who look particularly demonic. They have a counterpart "angelic" group, called the Cheyarafim, which were banished to the Brimstone Dimension. Nightcrawler uses this dimension to "bamf" in and out of when he teleports.

== TEASER ==

Azazel plays the demon role well: he has the power of mind control, teleportation, dark magic, swordsmanship and immortality. He can also control beings that come from the Brimstone dimension; these qualities make him absurdly powerful. He is heavily implied to be the inspiration for Satan in Judeo-Christian religions due to his activity and fighting with the Cheyarafim during Biblical times.

He can also shape-shift, which leads to his relevance in the plot. Trapped in a (conveniently) hell-like realm and fancying himself a bit of playboy, Azazel disguised himself as a "normal" person multiple times, seducing women and impregnating them.

Nightcrawler was the result of one such union with a young Raven Darkholme, who was married to a German Baron Wagner at the time.

When Mystique tried to kill the baby after Wagner found out about his wife's mutant powers (and his "son's" demon-like features) it was Azazel who saved Kurt from falling over a waterfall. Aside from Nightcrawler, Azazel also fathered the teleporting mutants Kiwi Black and Abyss, who he mind-controlled into opening a portal for him to escape his dimensional prison.

If this sounds convoluted to you, you are not alone. Much of Chuck Austen's run on Uncanny X-Men is reviled for its anti-religion overtones and general confusing nature. If you haven't caught the plot hole above, let me point out that if Azazel could impregnate women on Earth and save his newborn son, what did he need his children to open a portal to him for?

Emma Frost and Azazel in X-Men: First Class

It comes as no surprise, then, that producer Brian Singer wants to throw much of the previously-established character out in favour of an anti-Nightcrawler:

"I’m also excited about Jason Flemyng as Azazel, which is a really cool character. It’s like this sinister alter ego of Nightcrawler in a way, which again brings some of the things that we like about that character but at the same time has a different quality."

Brian Singer, in an interview for Hero Complex

As Singer's last X-Men project was X-2 (where Nightcrawler was featured heavily) it makes sense that he would want a similar character. While Azazel didn't get a character trailer like our good buddy Beast, his actions in First Class' trailers can be summarized thusly:

  • He teleports
  • He looks evil
  • He contrasts well with Emma Frost, visually (see above)

But the real question is: am I short-sighted for believing he won't do anything else?

I honestly don't know how to list what to expect from Azazel in First Class apart from him to be an "evil" Nightcrawler, take Magneto's side during the split and then hint at a Mystique hookup when her and Beast inevitably break up. His powers will likely be focuses to teleportation in order to avoid confusion for viewers, further diluting his value.

What's worse is that because I know his prior history as a much more powerful mutant, his presence meddling in "normal mutant affairs" just seems out of place. From the trailers we can assume he's associated with the Hellfire Club, but really, would he need them?

The point I want to make is that because Azazel is going to be changed from the comics so much in order to accommodate the film, his role will likely be completely different from the comics, as well. For all intents and purposes, Azazel is a different character in this film than Uncannny X-Men, and should be treated as such.

We'll have to wait until the movie comes out to get the whole picture, but until then, I'll leave it to you choose whether his track record merits optimism.
---
Matt Demers is a Toronto journalist who writes columns for ComicVine and other places on the Internet. You can find him on Twitter or his website.

#1 Posted by Sobe Cin (599 posts) - - Show Bio

as long as he's a bad guy, I'm happy.

 


 

#2 Posted by Atari_Graphics (176 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not paying to see anymore Fox Marvel movies.

#3 Posted by Baddamdog (2223 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not judging anything from what's been seen in trailers until I actually see it

#4 Posted by csimon (2110 posts) - - Show Bio
@Atari_Graphics said:
I'm not paying to see anymore Fox Marvel movies.
same here
#5 Posted by cyberninja (10413 posts) - - Show Bio

Fantastic article .  

#6 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

In truth, he's probably there because Nightcrawler's appearance in X2 was so wildly successful, and the people in charge want him to be included in the film. Singer realized it would be difficult to integrate him into it because of how he came into X2, and just replaced him with Azazel. I don't really blame them. Let's remember that when 12 year boys go see this movie, there going to see a Nightcrawler-esque character Bamfing and kicking ass -- they're not going to care if it's Kurt or not.

Actually, Azazel is one of the more interesting characters being included in First Class, in my opinion. I'm intrigued by his presence and like the 12 year olds that I just mentioned, I want to see action sequences similar to the ones in X2.

#7 Posted by TheOlympian (111 posts) - - Show Bio

I think you said that Azazel is a part of Xavier's "first class."  He's not.  He's in Shaw's Hellfire Club.  I think...

#8 Posted by Autopsad (93 posts) - - Show Bio

C'ant be worse than Draco... but i'm really intrigued by his presence in the movie. I think he could become useful.

#9 Posted by Iron_Turtle (583 posts) - - Show Bio

With so little in common with the source material. Why call him Azazel?

#10 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

X-Men first class is going to be bad. it looks cool. but i've called it since the beginning, it's going to be bad. Better than Wolverine. But still bad.

#11 Posted by Out_of_Space (720 posts) - - Show Bio

Looks good

#12 Posted by frogjitsu (481 posts) - - Show Bio
@Atari_Graphics said:
I'm not paying to see anymore Fox Marvel movies.
I'm tending to be in the same boat.  I'm tired of Fox butchering my beloved X-men.  But still, I can't say I won't see it, but I don't see it happening unless it gets crazy positive reviews or something like that, which I doubt.
#13 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

Red and blue make purple... not indigo! Marvel!

Thats science!
#14 Posted by Mutant God (3057 posts) - - Show Bio

Azazel could only be on Earth fo a short time, he needed the children to open the portal so he could be on Earth as long as he wants and use all of his powers
#15 Posted by Atari_Graphics (176 posts) - - Show Bio
@frogjitsu said:
@Atari_Graphics said:
I'm not paying to see anymore Fox Marvel movies.
I'm tending to be in the same boat.  I'm tired of Fox butchering my beloved X-men.  But still, I can't say I won't see it, but I don't see it happening unless it gets crazy positive reviews or something like that, which I doubt.

I'm a huge movie buff and a comics lover and when I go see a movie I usually catch the midnight show opening night. I'm gonna take back what I said earlier about not paying to see anymore Fox movies and I'm gonna say I definitely wont go see this opening night but if some of my pals who I respect and talk comics with tell me its amazing then I might go see it.

#16 Posted by Elenatintil (21 posts) - - Show Bio
@TheOlympian said:
I think you said that Azazel is a part of Xavier's "first class."  He's not.  He's in Shaw's Hellfire Club.  I think...
That has been my understanding as well.
#17 Posted by joshmightbe (24946 posts) - - Show Bio

One problem with this article, it talks about Azazel not fitting as a member of Xavier's institute but the trailers clearly show him as working with Shaw who is the bad guy in this movie so his only association with the xmen will probably be fighting against them

#18 Posted by ImperiousRix (1069 posts) - - Show Bio

Going by the description by Brian Singer, it brings up the one thing that I'm worried about with this movie; are most of the characters going to be one-dimensional and disposable like they were in many of the other X-Men films?


The reason I liked X-2 so much is even despite the large cast, most every character seemed fleshed out or otherwise they weren't used a lot in the film.  Sure, it's cool to see your favorite X-Men on the big screen, but I'd rather they do them right than just throw them in there.
#19 Posted by Shadow_Thief (2509 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm a little more relaxed now that they seem to be billing this as more reboot than strict prequel. If I can just close my eyes and tell myself that it's AU, it almost seems watchable.

#20 Edited by Gallivant (55 posts) - - Show Bio
@joshmightbe said:

One problem with this article, it talks about Azazel not fitting as a member of Xavier's institute but the trailers clearly show him as working with Shaw who is the bad guy in this movie so his only association with the xmen will probably be fighting against them

I was about to say the same thing. My best guess is that the Inner Circle is being used by Azazel to fulfill some dastardly plan. I can even imagine that it might be the other way around too where the Inner Circle is using Azazel and found someway to gain leverage on him in order to fullfill their plans.

HAH! what if we even get a first glimpse of them wanting to control The Phoenix. I sure hope not but i wont brush it off just yet. I just want them to bring sentinels into the storyline even Nimrod or Mastermold.

Also, why the hell didnt they do something with is eyes? It makes him look to human, idk maybe his eyes will change with his emotions or something.
#21 Posted by frogjitsu (481 posts) - - Show Bio
@Atari_Graphics said:
@frogjitsu said:
@Atari_Graphics said:
I'm not paying to see anymore Fox Marvel movies.
I'm tending to be in the same boat.  I'm tired of Fox butchering my beloved X-men.  But still, I can't say I won't see it, but I don't see it happening unless it gets crazy positive reviews or something like that, which I doubt.

I'm a huge movie buff and a comics lover and when I go see a movie I usually catch the midnight show opening night. I'm gonna take back what I said earlier about not paying to see anymore Fox movies and I'm gonna say I definitely wont go see this opening night but if some of my pals who I respect and talk comics with tell me its amazing then I might go see it.

Thinking about it, I usually only go to see the latest Pixar or Dreamworks animated films and Comic Book or Sci Fi films, but I haven't seen a single X-men movie yet in theaters.
#22 Posted by Icon (2085 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd like to point out that some of the "liberties" in the film are actually backed up by the comics. For instance, Havok was older than Cyclops in the Ultimate U as well. 


Since there are so many different versions of these characters and so many retcons to continuity (and different continuities) within the comics I don't think it is fair to dismiss the film for creating its own version of each. Most of the differences are merely cosmetic anyway. 
#23 Posted by Green ankh (998 posts) - - Show Bio

this film keeps looking better to me.
#24 Posted by Emperormeister734 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

what I wanna know is there be some scenes with Azazel and Mystique, I MEAN will we know more about Azazel in the movie

#25 Edited by The Impersonator (5555 posts) - - Show Bio

I gotta say that this movie will be like epic since its 140 minutes. Even though it doesn't stick with the comic book continuity, I can at least enjoy the movie with a different version of the X-Men.

#26 Posted by carnivalofsins00 (938 posts) - - Show Bio

I've noticed how people that I know that don't read comics and are unfamiliar with comics for the most part, are really excited to see this.

#27 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

Matt, he can move between dimensions momentarily but needs his children so that he can permanently break the spell that holds him to the Brimstone dimension and then lead his armies to conquer and all that jazz. Anyways all that matters is that Azazel sucks and Chuck Austen's run was indeed a very, very, very interesting and controversial time in Uncanny's history. Glad they didn't take any elements from Holy War. 

#28 Posted by PhoenixoftheTides (3600 posts) - - Show Bio

He sucked in the comics so bad and made it so that I was happy by the time Kurt died. Honestly, this may sound quite cynical, but I think they just wanted to re-use the teleportation graphic effects used in X-2, because there are a lot more villains that could easily fill this role.

#29 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

So much has been changed about the X-men in the movies that Im so surprised to see people actually act surprised.  It's done now.  It's an interesting way to show some other characters for once other then Wolverine, Storm, and Jean Greay.  Maybe Havok will get more deserved screen time then his brother.  Poor Scott.  
#30 Posted by Meteorite (3351 posts) - - Show Bio

Azazel is such a lame character. They really should do a retcon that he was lying about being Nightcrawler's father or something.

#31 Posted by kamionero (313 posts) - - Show Bio
@PhoenixoftheTides said:
He sucked in the comics so bad and made it so that I was happy by the time Kurt died. Honestly, this may sound quite cynical, but I think they just wanted to re-use the teleportation graphic effects used in X-2, because there are a lot more villains that could easily fill this role.
Totally agree. And they are using his possible fling w Mystique as a validation story-wise... I bet the obligatory after-credits clip will be a hint at Kurt's conception/birth.

He was a stupid idea in the comics, he'll probably be a stupid idea in the movie...
I wonder if his role in the HFC will be like, if he'll be trying to join them like Mastermind did, work with them like Blackheart, or be kind of an aide like Tessa. 
#32 Posted by wilsonlew (2 posts) - - Show Bio

I am very disappointed with what I read here.  It's not surprising though, the mutant movies have been butchered since Xmen.  I had such high hopes for this one.  I will give it a shot but it will have to be a VERY GOOD movie with the changes that has been made...HAVOK OLDER THAN SCOTT.....COME ON NOW

#33 Edited by dorsk188 (236 posts) - - Show Bio

Eh... Azazel seems to fit in pretty well with the Hellfire Club (as a traditional mutant, not the immortal devil fallen angel Austen version).  I'm relatively satisfied with his inclusion.  Not that it matters as far as I'm concerned.


Azazel (and by extension Austen's run on X-Men) could have been very good if effort had been made to give some explanatory power to it.  Why not tie Azazel and his demon / angel mutants into the Apocalypse mythos (although thinking about it, that storyline's complicated enough).  It was a huge mistake to make his motivations so cliche.  "The dread monster trying escape his shadowy realm" hasn't been interesting since H. P. Lovecraft ascended the genre to artistry 100 years ago.  But the Excalibur series, and Earth X proved that Nightcrawler's ties with pseudo-supernatural can be deep and intriguing if handled delicately.

@csimon said:

@Atari_Graphics said:

I'm not paying to see anymore Fox Marvel movies.
same here
Make that three.
#34 Posted by riri4life (7189 posts) - - Show Bio

Thx for schoolin me on Azazel....I was very confused.

#35 Posted by VickyVons (232 posts) - - Show Bio

i'l when the page first loaded azazel's face scared the crap out of me


#36 Posted by Kairan1979 (16864 posts) - - Show Bio

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