Interview: Chris Claremont on ‘X-Men Forever’, part 1
This is the first part of a very long interview with Chris Claremont that started on the topic of X-Men Forever and branched into a number of other areas. We start the interview today to tie in with today’s release of X-Men Forever Alpha, and we’ll be running more as we get closer to the release of X-Men Forever #1 next month.
ComicMix: X-Men Forever Alpha is a reprint of the first three issues plus an eight page bridge to the
new series, correct? What do we need to know going in?
Chris Claremont: Essentially
nothing. Those were the issues going in, to establish all the fundamental
parameters: the X-Men are a team of heroes that are based at Xavier school for
gifted youngsters at Salem center, outside of New York City.
CM: So you’re
starting up right from where you left the book in 1991.
CM: Is this House Of C, then, as compared to House of M?
CC: No, it’s the
Marvel Universe, there’s no real change to it, other than the fact that in a
very practical sense that the subsequent sixteen, seventeen years of material
following my departure doesn’t exist.
CM: So this is a
new forked off continuity.
CC: Yes. We’re
essentially picking up where I left off and the only acknowledgment we are
making to the passage of time is that if a label needs to be placed on #1, #2,
and #3, they occurred in the opening months, weeks, whatever of 2009.
everything that happens since in mainline Marvel continuity has not happened
and is not going to happen?
that relates to the X-Men specifically has not happened. The origins of
characters that were established after I left are not necessarily the origins
that we will encounter here. For example, the reality in this book is that
Sabretooth and Wolverine are father and son. Betsy Braddock has not been
transferred into a cloned dead Asian body.
CM: Do you find
it strange that people are looking at this series and referring back to your
original run as the time when X-Men continuity wasn’t convoluted?
CC: It’s intriguing, it’s challenging. Hopefully it’ll be fun.
CM: After all, when you left you had so many different balls in the air, and now you compare it to current X-Men continuity and we look at your day as, “Oh, gosh, it was all so simple then, there were only two alternate futures we had to worry about.”
CC: And also the foundation of the work was derived from me and Louise Simonson and Larry Hama doing Wolverine. That was it. What we’ve had since then is a score of books and far more writers contributing material, incorporating their stories into the Canon, rejected by the Canon, revised – – you know, the passage of time since then has not been perhaps as smooth as it had been up to then. So we’re kind of going back to a simpler time in the firmament, but on the other hand, once for their we can go tearing off into all sorts of fascinating possibilities… none of which necessarily incorporates the future history as we know it. A lot of the things that are happening in X-Men Forever have to do with the X-Men’s fundamental perception of the world around them, which is about to change on a significant level. That can’t help but have repercussions with the rest of the marble universe; the only thing we have to bear in mind is that were going to see those repercussions from a single focus perspective, that of the X-Men – – or that of the eight or nine characters on whom this series is focused. Were not going to be cutting back and forth to, “this is the Avengers’ view of things”, “this is the Fantastic Four’s view of things”, “this is Spidey’s view of things”. We only see them through the X-Men’s eyes.
CM: When last you left the X-Men, we had the blue team and the gold team and their roster of about a dozen mutants.
CC: And a very crowded school.
CM: Which leads some to believe that you’ll be clearing off some cast members.
CC: No, the way it works here is that the blue and gold teams were a proposal on Charlie’s desk at the time of X-Men #1 through #3. The initial expectation was that post #4 they would be incorporated and that was how the future progresses. However, things are going to happen in four and five and six and seven – – well, I say four and five and six and seven. Things are going to happen in the first arc of Forever that knock those plans into a cocked hat. The other thing to know is that the first five issues take place in a single night. And that night is going to change the X-Men’s world completely. And with each change their they will get all other farther and farther away from the history as it evolved because this is a totally different future, totally different mindset, and a totally different world. My vision is not the vision of the fifteen guys who followed me.
CM: Why did you decide to fork continuity rather than take over the X-Men the way they are now?
CC: I had a vision of where I wanted the book to go. Jim [Lee] and Bob [Harras] and I disagreed vehemently. The vision never came to pass. In going back and starting over again, picking up where I left off, I took the vision that I had and incorporated the world as it evolved since then, and why things are the way they are and what it means. And it’s proved, to me anyway, to be a surprisingly fascinating and vital direction for the characters and the series that is very true to the essence of the extent, but casts the whole concept into a totally different light and differentiates it from what exists in Uncanny and the rest of the line. It’s not the idea that I’m copying their stuff, or showing how I can tell their stories better. This is my vision, these are my stories. And the ideas, I think, our new ideas people haven’t thought of this before. So I thought, far better to go with something new for better or worse and surprise the audience and hopefully intrigue them, especially in a reality when the happy ending is not guaranteed.
CM: Because you don’t have to worry about continuing characters or keeping things the same all around for licensing reasons.
CC: Right. Not my problem. Death is not a marketing inhibition.