Continuity Conundrum

Part 1 - Remy LeBeau: the Man, the Myth, the Deception

One of the things I remember most about the 90's animated series was Gambit's accent. At the time, he wasn't on my list of favorite characters (although he got points for being sweet on Rogue), but I loved the way he talked. Years later, when my brother's friend from New Orleans came to visit, I couldn't wait to meet him...I was sorely disappointed when he opened his mouth to speak. He didn't sound anything like Gambit.

This should have made me suspicious.

But I chalked it up to his being away from home for so long (he'd been attending college in Pennsylvania), and I thought that maybe the writers at Marvel got a little carried away with the whole accent thing.

More recently, when my best friend suggested we go on a trip to New Orleans, I was overjoyed (to read about my trip, click here). I've heard so many conflicting stories about the city - the debauchery, the beauty, the craziness, the wonder - that I couldn't wait to see it all for myself. I'd also finally get to see the place Gambit grew up, and solve the mystery of his accent.

I guess I should've known better than trust the guys at Marvel. I mean, they once wrote about catacombs beneath New Orleans (since it's is below sea level, you can't dig far enough down for a grave, much less build catacombs), so why would they get a silly thing like an accent right?

But I digress...I spent 5 nights in the French Quarter. I'm under the impression that Gambit grew up in the Quarter, but I could be wrong. I know he grew up somewhere in New Orleans, though, so I was in the right area at the very least. And let me tell you, no one had an accent even close to his. In fact, the accents I encountered within the city were often slight southern ones, if that. The strongest accent I came across belonged to our French tour guide...and, um, it was a French accent.

Wait...there's more.

During our trip, my friend and I also spent a couple days driving around more rural parts of Louisiana, and we visited the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, where we learned all about Cajuns. Aha - Gambit is often referred to as a Cajun. Long story short - the Cajuns were originally French settlers in Nova Scotia, Canada...but they were kicked out, and came to New Orleans. The people of the city didn't really like them, so they traveled to the countryside and settled there instead. And Cajuns do talk like Gambit - they mix French and English, and have the same accent Gambit had in the 90's cartoon and the comics.

So what's my problem? Well...if he's a Cajun, he should talk they way he does. But then he probably wouldn't have grown up in New Orleans. I'm very aware of the fact that he was stolen from a hospital when he was a baby, so it's quite possible that his parents were Cajuns. However, even if this was the case, if he was raised on the streets of New Orleans, he wouldn't have been exposed to the Cajuns' unique manner of speaking, and wouldn't have an accent.

See what I mean? This simply couldn't be!

My problem is the lack of research and effort put into creating this character. Now, I'm willing to admit that my fanfics may not be entirely accurate. I do my best to use the comics (or animated episodes) as resources when I write, but to be honest, I don't have the time to do extensive research...nor do I have access to all the resources out there. But I also do this as a hobby, for free...the guys who write these comics are paid to write them. I expect them to do research on the places they're writing about so they don't build catacombs in a place where you can't even dig six feet without your hole filling up with water...I expect them to learn about the people they're writing about, to know where they come from and how they speak.

In the end, the Evolution version of Gambit is probably the most accurate, as far as his accent goes, although he shouldn't be using French words or speaking in a French accent if he grew up in New Orleans.

Don't get me wrong - I still love Gambit and his accent, and I'll continue to write him as he's written in the comics/animated series (for continuity's sake). But would it have been so hard for Chris Claremont to learn a little bit about Louisiana before he decided to create a character from New Orleans?