On Deathstrike’s right is Azazel, another “X-Men” villain but a less beloved one. Introduced during Chuck Austen’s, shall we say, unpopular run on “Uncanny X-Men,” Azazel is (or was, since it has since been retconned) the father of Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler. Like his son, Azazel is a teleporting mutant with a prehensile tail. While Kurt has blue skin, Azazel has red — for good reason, because he’s also a millennia-old demon lord with a heart as black as his appearance suggests.

1960s-set prequel film “X-Men: First Class” ditched the mystical side of Azazel. There, he’s just a mutant involved in the Hellfire Club, a mutant supremacist organization trying to turn the Cold War hot so the Children of the Atom can rule the ashes. He’s not explicitly connected to Nightcrawler either, but the movie being a prequel and their powers being depicted with the same special effects does imply a connection. Azazel in “First Class” is Russian, here, turning his appearance into a funny enough joke about red (as in Soviet) devils and showing how for the mutants, their identity trumps human ideology.

Jason Flemyng often works with “First Class” director Matthew Vaughn (he hasn’t shown up in “Kingsman” yet, but he did appear in “Layer Cake” and “Kick-Ass”). So it’s not surprising that when Vaughn left “X-Men,” so did Flemyng; Azazel is killed offscreen in the gap between “First Class” and sequel “Days of Future Past.” Will “Deadpool & Wolverine” bother luring the actor back for what’s sure to be a small role? Stay tuned.

“Deadpool & Wolverine” is scheduled to release in theaters on July 26, 2024.



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