Kelly Thompson studies one of Marvel’s greatest relationships!
Few comic book couples have captured readers’ hearts like Rogue and Gambit.
The two mutants might seem perfect for each other, though over the years, a range of obstacles have pulled them apart. On January 3, however, writer Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez will unite the duo once again in ROGUE & GAMBIT #1! The five issue limited series sends Anna Marie and Remy LeBeau on a top secret mission, forcing them to dig deep into their shared past like never before.
We spoke with Thompson about pitching the series, examining the relationship, and filling in a few moments we’ve never seen!
Marvel.com: What do you remember being your first exposure to Rogue and Gambit as a couple? Do you recall what you thought of them at the time?
Kelly Thompson: Like a lot of fans of a certain age, my first exposure to Rogue and Gambit—and the X-Men—was “X-Men: The Animated Series.” I was immediately smitten with them as both individuals and as a sexy, but tragic couple. I think it’s fair to say they proved to be my biggest motivator in searching out comics, and I quickly fell in love with those too.
Marvel.com: Did you look back at their relationship in preparation for this book? Did any moments surprise you?
Kelly Thompson: I did a massive read and reread as I prepared the pitch. And I’ve continued rereading as I write. Part of the concept of our limited series does delve into Rogue and Gambit’s past, but in a really accessible continuity-light way. It was fun rediscovering things I loved—and some I’d forgotten from their past.
Definitely one of the most exciting things will be getting to show a few big “between the panels” flashback moments, including the first time Rogue and Gambit ever met—which if you can believe it, has never been seen before. As a super fan—and writer—it felt pretty incredible to be given that honor (and responsibility).
I had the idea to take on such a task, so if I don’t deliver it will be a little bit like I dug my own grave. Woo!
Marvel.com: What do you think makes Rogue and Gambit one of the most interesting couples in comics?
Kelly Thompson: I think, initially, a lot of the appeal of Rogue and Gambit—for good or ill—was the “will they/won’t they” tension of their relationship. And that’s a razor’s edge to dance on; it’s almost impossible to maintain that kind of tension and, as a result, I think they’ve suffered some particularly rough roads. But no matter what they have endured, they have undeniable chemistry on the page together…it’s palpable.
And of course they’re also extremely hot. That never hurts!
Marvel.com: What can you tell us about their undercover mission? How might it help rekindle things or drive them apart?
Kelly Thompson: The very nature of their mission demands that they face a lot of their old issues head-on, which brings out both love and resentment in them. I can’t really go into detail about the plot and how it functions, but if we’re successful, I think it really clears the field for them as a couple and gives them a chance for a fresh start…but we’ll have to see if they opt to take that chance.
Marvel.com: It sounds like issue #2 will feature an in-depth look at Gambit and Rogue’s history. How did it feel to compile and compress all of that emotion?
Kelly Thompson: Our story really functions on two levels, to my mind—on one hand it’s a pretty simple action-adventure story high on fun with some romance thrown in. And it’s very accessible for new or lapsed readers, despite all that history, thanks to some of the functions of the plot. But there’s also a separate, more esoteric layer for people interested in that kind of thing that I think has more to say about who they are (and have always been) as a couple and what that means for them. For their past and their future. In this way, I hope there’s something here for everyone.
Kick off the limited series with ROGUE & GAMBIT #1, by Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez, on January 3!
Pere Perez reunites the mutant heroes and sends them undercover!
Seeing an ex out in the world usually leads to an awkward encounter. There’s so much in the way of unresolved emotion and old feelings bubbling up to the surface. Now, imagine all that with a fellow super hero you still occasionally have to work with.
That’s where our title characters find themselves as the five-issue limited series ROGUE & GAMBIT kicks off on January 3 thanks to writer Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez. Kitty Pryde sends the star-crossed duo out on an undercover mission that promises to bring up all kinds of feelings between the two.
We talked with Perez about reuniting these former flames, looking back at their history, and working with Thompson!
Marvel.com: These two characters have mountains of history between them. How much of that did you look into after signing on for this book?
Pere Perez: The script Kelly gave me has a lot of information, both written and in images, about the history of those guys, so almost everything I need is there. Luckily, [many] of the things we’ll see referenced in the book come from the 90s version of those characters, and I’ve read most of that stuff. When I was in high school, I was buying pretty much all the [X-Men] titles, so it’s just a matter of refreshing what I read years ago.
Marvel.com: Given their past, how do Gambit and Rogue initially react to one another and how does that play out on the page?
Pere Perez: We start our story at a point where their relationship is not at its best. So, it’s a matter of seeing how they deal with all that emotional baggage while trying to work as a team. That will act as sort of a healing process through the story. My challenge here is trying to reflect all that evolution with their expressions and body language, as well as the page layout.
Marvel.com: In this story, our heroes get sent on an undercover mission to find missing mutants. Do you enjoy playing with the tension that comes from this spy-like situation?
Pere Perez: Indeed! It has that kind of James Bond vibe to it, and I think the readers will have a good time trying to solve the mystery. It has a very calculated balance between action, suspense, romance, horror, and some humor. What else can you ask for?
Marvel.com: Was there any discussion about which costume or costumes Rogue and Gambit would wear when they need them? Do you have a favorite from their wardrobes?
Pere Perez: Yes, mostly with Gambit. I did a round of possible re-designs for the suit, but we ended up sticking with a pre-existing one which is pretty close to his classic suit. And let’s say we’ll not only be seeing one costume for each of them throughout the book. Also, Kelly had a very clear vision of how she wanted to see the guys while not in costume and she gave me a lot of fashion references to begin working on their looks.
Marvel.com: It sounds like you and Kelly are working well together on this book so far.
Pere Perez: It feels very organic. Her scripts are powerful and meticulously written. She has a very clear vision on how those two should act and I feel that I have all the necessary information in her scripts, so I can draw from there all I need to make them look alive. Also, she is very nice and always willing to help, so working with her is a real pleasure.
See how these two former lovebirds get along in ROGUE & GAMBIT #1, coming from Kelly Thompson and Pere Perez on January 3!
Kelly Thompson brings the mutants back together this January!
Prepare for a new chapter in one of the Marvel Universe’s great ongoing stories.
This January, writer Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez reunite ROGUE & GAMBIT for a brand new team-up series! The star-crossed lovers need to discover the source of mutant kidnappings across the world—and the answer won’t come easily.
But perhaps the bigger question lies in whether or not they’ll be able to stand each other’s company long enough to finish the job.
We caught up with Thompson to whet the appetites of Rogue and Gambit fans everywhere.
Marvel.com: Describe the difference between writing this series and your previous work on HAWKEYE or CAPTAIN PHASMA.
Kelly Thompson: You end up using slightly different muscles. I’ve done a lot of “solo” stuff and a ton of “ensemble” stuff, but this has been my first time writing a team-up book…except for GENERATIONS: THE ARCHERS, and of course the forthcoming Marvel Legacy arc in HAWKEYE. But I think it’s safe to say that Gambit and Rogue act pretty different than Kate and Clint do.
The trick, for me, has always just been about finding the voice for each character and then pinpointing what changes in each when you put them together—for both good and ill.
Marvel.com: What kind of chemistry or dynamic did you want to highlight between these two characters?
Kelly Thompson: I think we all know that a Gambit and Rogue book can actually be a very tricky thing. Fans want a lot of things from the characters—and they’re not always the same things. We obviously can’t please everyone, but for me, the important thing about finding the right chemistry for these characters, and for our story, was to address the rich history Gambit and Rogue have—while also forging ahead and cutting new paths for them. So instead of shying away from that history, I built the story around it and we’re leaning into it—in what I hope reads as a creative way—that will be rewarding to longtime fans, but also accessible for those who might be new to the characters and curious to find out what’s so great about them and why fans both love and hate seeing them together.
I think as readers and fans (and I am both!) we often feel like we’ve already seen everything we could possibly see with Gambit and Rogue when it comes to their dynamic together. My greatest hope has been that we’re doing something new and different here—something a little outside the box—that still respects what came before. Gambit and Rogue are the comic book characters I have loved the longest in my life—they literally brought me into comics. Writing them has been a dream come true, but also, the pressure feels very on to do justice to them and to bring their many fans something they can really love. To write a story that will stand the test of time and carve a path for their future.
Marvel.com: How did you and Pere Perez approach these characters visually?
Kelly Thompson: Pere does such a great job. To be honest, this has been a very complicated book visually—it requires a lot of reference, research, and detail in the scripts—and of course that only makes things more complex for the artist. I can’t expand on that too much without giving some things away. It’s one of those things where you write a page and just hope that the artist can handle the demands (because you know they’re a lot) and then you see their version of the page and it’s better than you could have imagined. That is such an awesome moment on any book.
Marvel.com: What can you tease about how this story begins?
Kelly Thompson: We’ve got an all-new big bad that will be a lot of fun. I can’t reveal motives, but suffice to say they’ve got them in spades (no pun, I swear). Gambit and Rogue get assigned to the mission by Kitty, in part due to their long history together.
And while sometimes it may seem like their baggage might sink them on this assignment…I think we’ll see it’s what helps them survive. Even if that’s not how it feels in the heat of the moment.
ROGUE & GAMBIT, by Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez, arrives in January!