One of the most popular and longest lasting members of Marvel’s X-Men is Storm. Born Ororo Munroe as the daughter of a tribal princess from Kenya, (though Storm was raised in both Harlem and Cairo), her childhood upbringing as a skilled thief eventually brought her to the doorstep of Professor Charles Xavier. He noticed that her ability to control the weather would make her a useful asset to the X-Men and she has been a member ever since. As a trustworthy, dedicated, and strong-willed member of the team, Storm has been positioned as not only the co-leader of the X-Men, but often at times, the top leader in charge of the group. This character certainly deserves the accolade as she has spent the last several decades being both an integral part to making the team a cohesive unit and being a fan favorite among comic book lovers. These reasons are why Storm has remained such a recurring part of comic book lore and why she has retained her presence as part of Marvel’s ever-growing universe. Anyone with the slightest knowledge regarding comic books knows exactly who Storm is, but there is still a plethora of facts about the Goddess of the Plains that remain unknown to even her most avid of fans.
Storm has a history in the comics that extends as far as the mid-70s. It’s understandable if there are a few things that the average fan isn’t going to know about her. The mythology of her character goes as far as what we have seen of her inked on the page, on the big screen, and on the silver screen. The legacy extends further than anyone could possibly keep up with, but just for fun, we’re going to try and do just that with this list. By examining the character’s history through comics, movies, shows, and other media, we’re going to try to inform on 15 things about Storm that you probably never knew about until now.
15. Marvel’s 1st Black Female Superhero
Storm made her big debut in 1975 in Issue #1 of Giant-Size X-Men and her introduction marked her as the first black female to take up a major role in one of the biggest comic book houses, Marvel. As a black character, her presence was preceded by characters like Luke Cage, Blade, John Stewart of Green Lantern lore, etc. But these were all black males. Mainstream comic books never featured a black woman positioned of such high status until Storm appeared in her first Marvel panels. As argued by authors like Gladys L. Knight (a writer, not the singer), racial identity and her social status as a mutant have always heavily defined Storm’s character. With the X-Men launching around the same time as the Civil Rights Movement, mutants represented the plight that minorities (African Americans especially) would face during the 70s. For that reason, Storm entered Marvel canon at the perfect time and would remain the primary symbol for a generation of readers for years to come.
14. Originally Envisioned as a Male Character
As Marvel was entering the 70s, their creative team felt that they needed a new team lineup for the X-Men to replace that of the 60s generation. One of those next-gen characters stepping in would be Storm. Despite how influential Storm would later become as a female hero, that wasn’t always the intention. When comic book artist, Dave Cockrum, was originally penciling the concept of Storm, he decided to combine two of his unused characters, Black Cat and Typhoon. Black Cat had a similar costume to Storm, only minus the cape and with hair resembling something more like Wolverine’s own black mane, and could turn into a humanoid cat. Cockrum would later scrap his ideas for Black Cat when he realized during development that a slew of new female heroes were being introduced, such as Tigra, a humanoid cat. Deeming Black Cat to be useless, Cockrum opted to add Typhoon, a weather manipulator, to the team. When Marvel’s creative team told Cockrum they didn’t want an all male X-Men team, he took Typhoon’s powers, applied them to a black woman, gave her a modified version of Black Cat’s costume, and just like that, Storm was born.
13. Her Mohawk Look Was “A Bad Joke”
We all remember seeing Alexandra Shipp’s new punk portrayal for Storm in X-Men:Apocalypse and thinking the costume change was an attempt at making the character hip to a modern audience. What few people know is that this look dates as far back as Issue #173 of Uncanny X-Men from the 80s. The artist who designed this look, Paul Smith, was quick to tell CBR a few years ago that this was just “a bad joke that got way outta hand.” When designing new hairstyles for Storm that would fit her following the character losing most of her hair, Smith produced several portraits. One of which included a mohawk in the vain of Mr. T. He did so as a joke, thinking his creative team would surely look the other way and choose another one of his designs. They did the opposite and picked the mohawk. Smith pleaded that it was just a joke and would be a bad idea to include in the comics, but given his departure following Issue #175 was set prior to beginning his run, his vote didn’t count.
12. She Used to Be a Vampire
In Uncanny X-Men Issue #159, the X-Men would take on Bram Stoker’s very own Dracula. In one particular encounter, Storm was nearly bitten by the Prince of Darkness, but was saved. However, in the alternate reality of Mutant X, she isn’t. There, she is bitten and turned into a vampire who adopts the name Bloodstorm. While initially given a supporting role in Mutant X, this new version of Storm won fans over enough that she’d become the breakout star of the series. She even received her own solo series. Despite transitioning into a creature of the night, Bloodstorm retained her superhero status and would employ close allies, Kitty Pryde and Forge, as her blood vessels. Whenever she needed blood, she would drain the two mutants of their own, but never enough to kill them. She did, however, split from the X-Men and join another superhero team, The Six. Her vamp phase would come to an end when she entered and saved a parallel universe. As a reward, she received a blood transfusion from that universe’s Storm, ridding Bloodstorm of her vampirism.
11. Hooked Up with Wolverine
For those who are only familiar with the platonic relationship displayed between Storm and Wolverine in the X-Men movies, some may be surprised to learn that the two were much more intimate in the comics. While most comics portray the bond between Wolverine and Storm as something more on a professional level, there are comics out there that went further. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, for instance, the two shared a brief romantic relationship that put the two in a love triangle with Beast. Wolverine’s love towards Storm was not reciprocated until it was too late and when Storm did not feel that love in return, she chose Beast. This was probably the best decision not only for Storm, but for fans as well given how most audiences find it hard to see the romantic chemistry between Wolverine and Storm and prefer the two to be platonic together. Though, in Issue #114 of What If…, they are married with a daughter named Kendall.
10. Went Rogue From X-Men; Killed Wolverine
In the 2010 comic book series, X-Men Forever, Storm betrayed the X-Men as an agent for the Consortium, an anti-mutant group, and went as far as to kill Wolverine. She also killed Black Panther to take his place as ruler of Wakanda. When the X-Men searched for her for answers in New York City, they encountered an adolescent version of Storm. It turned out that this younger version of Storm was the real Storm while the adult traitor version was a clone created as part of a plan to destroy the Consortium. Unfortunately, the clone was driven mad when part of her powers included an energy-absorbing matrix that absorbed part of the Shadow King’s psyche. Given that the Shadow King feeds on the hatred of humanity, it’s understandable why adult Storm went nuts. Meanwhile, young Storm was the result of a freak teleportation accident which split both versions from each other. The two Storms would merge together, turning Storm good again. She’d resume her place as Queen of Wakanda to fix the damage that her evil self caused.
9. She’s Claustrophobic
While superheroes can be all powerful and, under some circumstances, virtually invincible, that does not exempt them from sharing our most basic fears. Despite having the most extraordinary of abilities, even mutants have something to be afraid of or something that gives them anxiety. For Storm, she’s claustrophobic, which is the fear of being in tight spaces with seemingly no chance of escape. This fear dates all the way back to her childhood. While living in Cairo with her parents at age 5, a fighter jet crashed into her family’s home during the Suez Crisis and resulted in the death of her parents. A young Ororo was left orphaned with an intense case of claustrophobic. Even as an adult superhero, her fear got so intense that she’d occasionally cradle into a fetal position in a catatonic state whenever put in a small space. In recent years, it appears that Storm has more or less conquered her claustrophobia. That or writers tend to forget about adding her fear to continuity. If we want to think of Storm’s journey as an inspiring tale of someone who got over their biggest fear, let’s go with the former.
8. Her Toad Line Was Meant to Be a Running Gag
One of the cheesiest, most ridiculed lines to ever come out of a comic book movie came in the first live action X-Men movie from 2000. Right before she killed Toad, she said, “You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” Everything from the deadpan delivery to the writing made the line too cringe-worthy for audiences to accept. However, the line would have been tolerable if some scenes were not deleted from the final cut. Originally in the script, the line (added by uncredited script doctor, Joss Whedon) was built up as a running gag where Toad would say “You know what happens when a toad…” and say something relating to the current situation before committing a dastardly deed. This would’ve culminated in Storm giving her own similar line, only the “same thing that happens to everything else” part was supposed to be delivered in an offhand “Ah, well duh, same thing…” way. Kind of like a dad joke. The problem was that all those aforementioned Toad scenes were cut and Halle Berry delivered the line too seriously, making the line sound stupid.
7. Angela Bassett Almost Played Storm
A common fan casting among fans of Storm for years has called for the character to be played by legendary actress, Angela Bassett. Halle Berry did a fine job in the role—despite being given some horrendous dialogue—but it is still a common belief that Bassett would have excelled in the role to perfection. Fans almost got their wish in 2000 when Bassett was in the running to play the role for the first live action film. There are conflicting reports as to why she did not end up playing Storm. Some reports claim that Bassett turned the role down while other reports claim that the studio opted for a younger actress when they concluded that Bassett was too old to play Storm. Whatever the reason may have been, we’ll just have to use our imaginations to decide if Bassett would have been a good fit to play Storm.
6. Original Voice Actress Related to Martin Manhunter
Avid comic book fans are all interested in seeing crossovers and connections between the two biggest comic companies, Marvel and DC Comics, so this next tidbit should be an especially interesting one for them. When the first animated series for the X-Men hit the airwaves in 1992, Iona Morris was the voice of Storm for the season one and the first seven episodes of season two. Storm’s voice was replaced by Alison Sealy-Smith from thereafter. The Morris family’s superhero driven resume does not start and end with Iona Morris. DC fans may recognize the name Morris thanks to her brother, Phil Morris, who played the Martian Manhunter for the teenage Superman drama, Smallville. So technically, in real life, the Martian Manhunter and Storm, properties of DC Comics and Marvel respectively, are related. Both siblings helped provided iconic voices and presences to their respective characters and would help define these characters for a generation of viewers.
5. Kenyan Accent Dropped Because Berry Can’t Do One
As previously mentioned, Storm was originally born in Kenya. To match the comic book’s canon, Halle Berry elected to include a Kenyan accent to her performance in the first film. Although, oddly enough, that accent would magically disappear for Berry’s remaining appearances in the X-Men movie series as Storm. While neither Berry or the filmmakers behind the X-Men films have ever addressed the reason as to why Berry dropped the accent, it is commonly assumed that the change was made because Berry cannot do a decent Kenyan accent. Again, this has never been officially addressed and this is mere speculation, but it is a logical conclusion that many fans have come to. Berry’s performance in the first film was critically panned mainly due to the fact that her attempt at a Kenyan accent came off as unnatural. As soon as she dropped her accent in later films, her performance was regarded as an improvement even to the point that her work in X: Men: The Last Stand earned Berry a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Action Star.
4. Body Temperature Changes with Her Environment
There are deeper complexities to Storm’s weather manipulating abilities that even some of her most well versed fans are not aware of. For example, according to the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update #1, her powers allow Storm to adapt to the climate of her environment. Meaning that whenever her surroundings are too cold, her body gets warmer and if her surroundings are too warm, her body gets colder. Her body is also able to compensate to atmospheric pressures. She’s able to see in complete darkness and according to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe – X-Men, her powers enable Storm to breathe while flying at any speed. Her powers also protect her from air friction. Some will see this sort of detail as overthinking on behalf of the writer, but it’s actually cool and fascinating to see how much detail a writer is willing to put into what a fictional character’s abilities can and cannot allow them to do.
3. Joined The Avengers
Given how deep her ties to the X-Men run, some would be surprised to learn that she defected from the group at one point in favor of The Avengers. In the aftermath of Marvel’s Fear Itself event from 2011, the roster for the Avengers was drastically shaken up. One of those shake ups included Storm joining the team in Volume 4, Issue #19 of Avengers. She would leave The Avengers in New Avengers Volume 2 Issue #24 a year later to rejoin the X-Men just in time for Marvel’s Avengers vs X-Men event. Even with her brief time as part of The Avengers, it was an awe-inspiring and even refreshing sight for audiences to see Storm fight alongside the likes of Captain America and Daredevil when fans had become so accustomed to seeing her battle next to X-Men like Wolverine after so many years. Even more shocking is that The Avengers weren’t the only other Marvel team that briefly took Storm away from her X-Men duties.
2. Joined The Fantastic Four
This one must be especially shocking for those who originally thought that the Fantastic Four were solely comprised of The Thing, the Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, and Invisible Woman. Despite the foursome moniker, what many people do not know is that there have been several members who have stepped in and out of the Fantastic Four; Storm being one of them. During the infamous Marvel event, Civil War, the Fantastic Four were a family divided. Mr. Fantastic was all for Tony Stark’s Superhuman Registration Act, Invisible Woman and Human Torch were against it, and not wanting to be a part of a fight between friends, The Thing fled to France. In Fantastic Four Issue #543, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman took a leave of absence from their superhero duties to deal with the aftermath of Civil War. To temporarily take their place, the Fantastic Four took up the services of both Storm and the Black Panther. Why Black Panther you may ask? Well, believe it or not, him and Storm were an item at one point.
1. Hooked Up with Black Panther
In fact, the two did more than just hook up. Black Panther and Storm got married in Black Panther Issue #18. This marriage would make Storm the Queen of Wakanda. Their initial meetings can be hard to boil down thanks to some retconning of their 80s encounters, but judging by a 2006 mini-series originally written by Eric Jerome Dickey, the two met and fell in love as young teenagers before their destined paths took them in different directions. When they reunited years later, the two rekindled their romance and had a grandiose marriage ceremony covered by BET. By the comic book standards of the average couple, T’Challa and Ororo were exceptionally happy. Everything was well until the 2012 Marvel event, Avengers vs X-Men, found them on opposite sides of the battle line. It all culminated when King Namor of Atlantis took the opportunity to destroy T’Challa’s country of Wakanda. Seeing the destruction that this fight caused to his country, he had his marriage to Storm annulled and cut ties with her. Thankfully, when the dust settled and tensions cooled, the two decided to remain friends.