Baddies That Need Movie Love: The Sentinels
I am back with another edition of Baddies That Need Movie Love, number 14 to be exact. I am headed back to the MArvel Universe, specifically the X-Men, and taking a look at the Sentinels; the giant mutant-hunting robots that have terrorized Xavier and his kind for over 40 years of comics.
Let's rewind about 20 years to when the always popular X-Men cartoon premiered. The first two episodes of that series (save for the pilot where Wolverine had an Australian accent) were devoted to the introduction of the Sentinels, who we first see busting into a shopping mall, trying to capture Jubilee. But their sheer power and diligence to complete their task is very evident in those two episodes. Of course, Jubilee is then rescued by several of the X-Men and she is quickly integrated into the team. Throughout this series, the Sentinels were prominently featured and it bought them to the attention of the mainstream TV audience, when previously, only readers of comics were likely able to pick them out. We've now had 5 live-action X-Men films and the closest we have come to seeing Sentinels in one of them was in the Danger Room at the beginning of The Last Stand and to say it was a total let-down would be a massive understatement. I'm thinking it's hie-time we see these giant mutant hunters take to the big screen!
The Sentinels were the brain-child of Bolivar Trask, a noted anthropologist. He created them in hopes that they would protect humans from the growing "problem" that the newly discovered Mutants potentially could bring about...in his eyes at least. During a televised debate with Charles Xavier, Trask made his creations known and activated the giant robots. However, the robots turned rogue and kidnapped Trask and Professor X, taking them to Master Mold. Naturally, the X-Men arrived and, with the assistance of Trask who had seen the error in his ways, took down the Sentinels. Shortly after that, Bolivar's son, Larry, created the Mark II Sentinels, hoping to complete the task his father initially set out to do. Bolivar had given his son a medallion that hid his mutant genes from the Sentinels and not knowing this, he removed the medallion and was killed by his own creations. The Mark II Sentinels were disposed of when Cyclops tricked them into flying into the sun.
Once Henry Grinch started "Project: Wideawake," the madness once again ensued. Gyrich purchased Sentinel robots that were created by Sebastian Shaw, a mutant himself and an attempt at recreating Nimrod, an advanced Sentinel from the future, was unsuccessfully made. Under the command of Dark Beast, several government-owned sentinels were reprogrammed. This group of Sentinels was opposed by the impressive team of the X-Men, The Avengers and numerous other heroes. In the process, the parents of Jolt were killed and the Green Goblin (Phil Uric) was forced to retire due to his equipment being damaged.
The twin sister of Professor X, Cassandra Nova, convinced Donald Trask III, the last living relative of Bolivar Trask, to activate an abandoned Master Mold in South America. She also duplicated Trask's DNA so she would be able to control the robots. She then used the Master Mold to send two massive, highly altered Sentinels to Genosha. There, they killed nearly 16 million mutants. At this same time, Nova programmed a large number of Nano-Sentinels to attack the blood cells of all the residents of the Xavier Institute. Just as she was captured by Wolverine and Cyclops, she infected herself with these nanite-sized killers. These Nano=Sentinels were all destroyed by Xorn, save for the few that were used to restore Xavier's legs and spine.
The Sentinels have also appeared in the storylines of other Marvel characters. Loki, the Asgardian trickster, sent the Tri-Sentinel, a group of three Sentinels that were combined by magic, to destroy New York City bye demolishing a near-by Nuclear power plant. Aided by the Uni-Power, Spider-Man became Captain Universe and destroyed the Tri-Sentinel before it could complete its task. The Tri-Sentinel returned, however, when a group of survivalists gathered its parts and it rebuilt itself. The robot was destroyed on a sub-atomic level by Spider-Man with the aid of Nova (Richard Rider). In a war against Kang the Conqueror, a group of Sentinels was sent to his space station. But, having a vast knowledge of robotics, Kang reprogrammed the sentinels and sent them back to Earth.
More recently, the Office of National Emergency (O.N.E.), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, had ordered a group of Sentinels to stand watch over the Xavier Institute. Naturally, many of the X-Men were hesitant about this idea, specifically Rachel Summers, who was reminded her of a time, where an anti-mutant future existed. This group of Sentinels, however, is piloted and was created with the assistance of Tony Stark and was trained by James "Rhodey" Rhodes, the former War Machine.
As most of us know, the Sentinels have played an integral part in the X-Men mythos, as well as in the stories of many other characters in the Marvel universe. They are a massive threat to the mutant community, as well as a non-traditional foe for them to take on. The fact that FOX has neglected to recognize this is a shame. Now, I don't want this to turn into an anti-FOX article, so I will leave it at that. The Sentinels could provide for a very unique and interesting storyline, one that include any number of X-Men, so it isn't really necessary to re-write any of the current storylines (though it would be preferred).
As I mentioned earlier, we were given just a taste of what could have been in The Last Stand and fans screamed, and still are screaming, for more of the sentinels. This summer's X-Men: First Class proved that the franchise is still popular and can pull in crowds, as well as good reviews, so it is likely that FOX will continue with the franchise and with the "fresh start" (albeit altered from tradition), it might be a good opportunity to bring in yet another new Baddie for the X-Men to take on. With the new direction of this franchise, could this be a good time to bring in these massive mutant hunters? I say yes!
Usually, at this time, I select an actor to portray the potential on-screen villain, but there is no need in this case as they could all be portrayed using computers. The Transformers franchise has proven that robots on a large scale can be produced and they look damn good. The same technology could be used here, but would likely be cheaper. Now, I don't know jack nor shit about computer graphics, but I assume only one version would need to be created, then use that same image repeatedly, as all Sentinels are indetical when they are created.
If you have suggestions or want me to highlight a Baddie you'd like to see, be sure to send me an email! I will see what I can do! Be sure to check out the past installments of "Baddies that Need Movie Love:"
Black Tom Cassidy
Ventriliquist & Scarface
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