Friday, 17 May 2013

Chris Claremont Views On X-men

I promised all comic geek enthusiasts a post on what Chris Claremont said about X-men and here it is.

It was only a 45 minute interview so there wasn't a whole lot of time to go into detail.  Yet there were some surprises for me.

He talked about geeking out when George Lucas called to ask him to write the Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy, which continued Elora Danan's story from the movie Willow.  It's cool to think that even someone as recognized and influential as Chris Claremont still geeks out like the rest of us. 

He said he did not like the multiverse setting which Marvel has been using (where all of the various comics are interwoven and things which happen in one affect the other).  He prefers the old days of completely independent and thus sometimes mutually impossible titles and storylines.

He wasn't happy about how JMS ended his Spider-man run.  (And to be fair, neither was JMS, who posted an apology to fans.)  He spoke about how it was part of the inherent conservatism of comic books.  Writers can't risk alienating long term fans or new converts by giving them something too different.

He says he was influential in setting up the X-men movie with Bryan Singer and spoke to him extensively about how to deal with the characters.  He had a wish list of people to play the roles.  His first choice for Wolverine was Bob Hoskins.

(I'll give you all a minute to run to imdb.  Bob Hoskins was the lead in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and played Smee in Hook.)


He would have left a very different impression than Hugh Jackman.  Just saying.

But it does fit with how the character was originally portrayed.  Logan was code-named Wolverine because he was small, but unrelenting and ferocious (just like the animal).  He didn't have the commanding physicality of Hugh Jackman, but had to convey threat through attitude.

Claremont also said he didn't think the Marvel writers should have given Wolverine an official origin story.  This is something I agree with.  The mystery of a man without memory who could effectively be immortal was part of what made Wolverine interesting as a character.  It gave fans something to play with.

That said, I don't think Marvel really had a choice.  Too many writers had gotten too cutesy in placing Logan at almost every significant historical event.  For someone who was supposed to have an unknown past, we had been treated to way too many glimpses of it.

It's no secret that Wolverine is one of my favourite characters and Claremont spoke about why he felt that was.  He said almost every writer he worked with was drawn to Logan's character.  The character has a deep internal conflict between what he is capable of and what he aspires to be and what he needs to be in order to protect those he cares about.  That's like catnip to a writer.  We just can't not play with it.

It was incredibly interesting to hear what Claremont had to say and worth every second of waiting for over an hour in line. 

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