Mantis, the empathetic alien sporting some impressive antennae in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, was an adorable addition to the MCU — though Drax would disagree about her being “adorable.” The on-screen Mantis was quite different from the Mantis of the original Marvel comics, and her original co-creator wasn’t thrilled with how they changed his creation for the movie.
“Well, I was not happy with Mantis’ portrayal,” Steve Englehart told Polygon in an interview published Wednesday. That’s not to say that Englehart, who, alongside Don Heck, first brought Mantis to comics in 1973’s The Avengers #112, hated the on-screen Mantis. No, he just didn’t see anything resembling the character he originally made, which is kinda fair.
“That character has nothing to do with Mantis,” he said. “I will say that I liked the film quite a bit overall, they’re doing good stuff and I enjoyed my night at the movies so long as I turned my brain off to the fact that that’s not Mantis up there. I really don’t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis. That I do not know.”
“I wasn’t impressed with what they did with Mantis but the Mantis on the screen was entertaining, I liked her but that’s not Mantis,” Englehart added.
In the comics, Mantis was originally a half-Vietnamese, half-German human woman who was raised on Earth by a cult of militaristic Kree aliens, with the intention that she’d eventually mate with a telepathic plant alien species known as Cotati.
This, uh, was obviously not the case in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Englehart did give Marvel props for adequately compensating creators when their characters make it to the big screen, and as he mentioned, the MCU’s Mantis was fun (if extremely different from his original iteration), so it’s not all bad.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now in theaters.