Non Sequitur: X2 Cameo

For some reason, I was reflecting on X2: X-Men United earlier this week when I had a minor epiphany: Wolverine meets Snowbird at Alkali Lake.

If your eyes just glazed over, perhaps some explanation is necessary.

At the end of X-Men, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) tells Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) that he may be able to find clues to his past at “an abandoned military compound at Alkali Lake in the Canadian Rockies”, and at the beginning of X2 Wolverine has traveled to Alkali Lake.

Snowbird is a member of the Canadian supergroup, Alpha Flight. The daughter of an Inuit goddess and a mortal man, Snowbird has the power to transform into any animal native to Canada.

Following me so far? Good.

When he arrives at the military compound, Wolverine encounters a wolf.

Wolverine at Alkali Lake

The wolf doesn’t appear to be bothered by Wolverine’s presence, neither attacking nor running away. Instead, it just lopes calmly into the abandoned compound. Wolverine follows and finds that Alkali Lake does seem to be truly abandoned.

As an aside, Wolverine’s investigation of the Alkali Lake compound bugs me. The compound isn’t actually abandoned; William Stryker has an entire underground base there in which he builds a copy of Xavier’s mutant-detecting device, Cerebro. If Stryker’s people had been moving in and out of the underground base, Wolverine would have detected the scent of people or (more likely) vehicles that had passed through recently. If, however, Stryker only reactivated the facility after Wolverine was at Alkali Lake looking for answers, would he and his people have had time to get everything up and running and then build Cerebro 2? I don’t know.

I seem to have digressed. Let’s recap:

  • Wolverine is in Canada.
  • He encounters a wolf that behaves in a distinctly un-wolflike fashion.
  • Alpha Flight is a group of Canadian superheroes.
  • One of the member of Alpha Flight is Snowbird.
  • Snowbird can transform into any animal native to Canada (such as a wolf).

Did director Bryan Singer and the writers of X2: X-Men United actually intend to include Snowbird in the movie, or is that just a regular old wolf? I can’t say for sure. Singer doesn’t make any mention of it in the director’s commentary on the X2 DVD. Maybe it is mentioned elsewhere, but I haven’t seen it.

But here is the icing on the cake:

Alpha Flight Folder

That’s an enlarged portion of the desktop of Lady Deathstrike’s (Kelly Hu) computer, and there’s a folder labeled “Alpha Flight” right in the middle. Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) has broken into Deathstrike’s office in order to find a way to free Magneto (Ian McKellen) when she stumbles across plans for Stryker’s copy of Cerebro. The computer holds a treasure trove of names related to the X-Men and Marvel comic books in general. The folder directly above the one labeled “Alpha Flight” is labeled “Franklin Richards”. Franklin is the son of Reed and Sue Richards, also known as Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Woman, half of the Fantastic Four.

I’m digressing again.

To conclude: Weird wolf + Canada + Alpha Flight folder = Snowbird

At least to me it does.

Man, I love being a geek.

13 thoughts on “Non Sequitur: X2 Cameo”

  1. Would a wolf, easily at or near the top of the foodchain in Canada, be frightened of Wolverine? Are wolves in the wild naturally afraid of humans, or is it a learned behavior?

    Then again, Wolverine isn’t human, and the wolf may be unaccustomed to mutants. Wolverine, IIRC, is known for his more ‘animalistic’ behavior. A wolf may just consider him an anomaly, rather than a threat.

    Given Wolverine’s heightened senses, wouldn’t he have recognized said wolf as a mutant? That would mean it was Wolverine was acting out of place, no?

    To make this longer, and therefore appear more intelligent, I’ll now recap.

    While Wolverine may indeed have met a member of Alpha Force (if that is true congrats, geek), I am not convinced that the behavior of the Canis Lupus in question is in fact odd. By contrast, I find Wolverine’s actions out of character in light of your argument.

  2. Given Wolverine’s heightened senses, wouldn’t he have recognized said wolf as a mutant? That would mean it was Wolverine was acting out of place, no?

    I suppose that would depend on the exact nature of Snowbird’s transformation. The longer Snowbird is in the shape of a particular animal, the more she behaves like that animal. This suggests to me that she is not simply taking on the outward appearance of the animal, but becoming the animal, in which case she might very well smell like a wolf.

    Contrast this to Mystique, who can alter her outward appearance but does not take on any unique characteristics or personality traits of the person she is imitating. For example, the “claws” she has when she looks like Wolverine are actually an extension of her flesh, and she feels pain when the real Wolverine cuts them off. (Never mind the fact that her hand doesn’t appear to be wounded later; that’s a continuity gaff.)

    As to Wolverine not smelling like a human, I don’t know that it has been established that mutants have a distinct odor. Their brainwaves are certainly different, as Professor X points out, but Wolverine has not displayed any ability to distinguish between mutants and humans based on their scent, so I would suspect that any such differences are so insignificant as to be practically nonexistent.

  3. If, however, Stryker only reactivated the facility after Wolverine was at Alkali Lake looking for answers, would he and his people have had time to get everything up and running and then build Cerebro 2?

    Unfortunately, my own attempt to explain the discrepancy falls apart upon closer examination:

    In the opening sequence of X2, Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) — operating under Stryker’s influence — attacks the President of the United States. Later, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) uses telepathy to read Nightcrawler’s memories and determine that Stryker is at Alkali Lake. As the attack on the President occurred prior to Wolverine’s visit to Alkali Lake, the underground base there would have been fully active and he ought to have been able to detect the scent of vehicles, humans, or even Nightcrawler’s recent passage through the area.

    Yeah, I’m overanalyzing this.

  4. They’ve been a little inconsistent with Wolverine’s scent abilities anyway, methinks. Just contrast his being able to distinguish the Mystique-Storm from the real Storm by smell in X1, to not noticing Mystique-Jean Gray entering his tent until his hand brushed the scars. I think he would’ve smelled her within seconds of her entering, well before the necking began.

    And I’ve always felt that Logan should’ve been able to smell “something” at the Alkali dam as well, whether or not he may’ve been able to pinpoint what “it” was could’ve been another thing.

    Just my $0.02.

  5. Just contrast his being able to distinguish the Mystique-Storm from the real Storm by smell in X1, to not noticing Mystique-Jean Gray entering his tent until his hand brushed the scars. I think he would’ve smelled her within seconds of her entering, well before the necking began.

    Agreed. The Mystique-Jean Gray issue is actually the second bit of X2 that bugs me.

    But that wolf was totally Snowbird.

  6. Agreed. The Mystique-Jean Gray issue is actually the second bit of X2 that bugs me

    Wait, wait, wait, wait…..wait!

    This stuff actually bugs you? For true?

    Geek.

  7. Wait, wait, wait, wait…..wait!

    This stuff actually bugs you? For true?

    Geek.

    Yes, it bugs me. For true.

    Not “keeps me up at night” bugs me, but “seems sloppy while I’m watching the movie” bugs me.

    I’m a geek. I wear the label proudly.

  8. At least you put limits on your annoyances.

    Haven’t written the director yet?

    We watched “The Edge” last night, and I commented to MFC about Elle McPherson’s attire and makeup when she was supposedly going to bed. These things amuse, rather than annoy me.

    Wear the label. Teach junior how to find a wife in spite of it.

  9. You might want to pick up a copy of the Cliff’s Notes.

    Ahh, yes. Life accelerated with a fancy black and yellow border.

    Although mostly reserved for classics.

  10. The longer Snowbird is in the shape of a particular animal, the more she behaves like that animal. This suggests to me that she is not simply taking on the outward appearance of the animal, but becoming the animal, in which case she might very well smell like a wolf.

    Were that the case, if she remains as said animal too long, can she turn back? If she can always turn back, part of her is not animal at all and can be sensed.

    Behaviour alone should not be enough to throw off Wolverine. Since I am totally unawares, has Wolverine ever ‘bonded’, perhaps even symbiotically with another predator? Does he sense fear in others?

    A nice can of worms you have opened.

  11. I am not aware of Wolverine bonding with a predator in the manner you suggest, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. As to his ability to sense fear, you may be thinking of the Man-Thing.

    The part of Snowbird that remains non-animal (she’s half god, so I don’t think “human” applies) is intangible. Physically, she is a wolf, but it is her personality that will eventually be absorbed by the animal’s instincts. Again, this suggests that her transformation occurs on multiple levels, not just the physical. That said, it also suggests that the physical transformation is complete, so much so that she risks having her personality “overwritten” by that of the animal whose form she has adopted.

    Can Snowbird’s non-wolf personality be sensed by Logan? Perhaps, though probably not by scent.

    It is also possible — especially given that Wolverine has spend considerable time in Canada — that the two have met before. That is one possible explanation for Wolverine’s reaction (or non-reaction) to what appears to be unusual behavior in a wolf.

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