To commemorate next week’s digital release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, we sat down with legendary comic scribe Chris Claremont, writer of the original Dark Phoenix Saga. Read on to hear Chris’s thoughts on comic book adaptations, good and evil, the future of X-Men movies, and more.
V = Vudu
CC = Chris Claremont
V: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.You’ve created some of the most iconic characters in the [X-Men] franchise. We’re really happy we get to ask you some questions.
CC: Well, thank you.
V: As a comic writer and creator, what has this huge boom in superhero movies and TV been like for you? Did you see this coming at all?
CC: I suppose in a way yes, because from the moment I started at Marvel as an associate editor we’ve always been trying to interest movie and TV companies in the characters and the stories.
Stan [Lee] and I talked with Jim Cameron in 1988 about an X-Men project that [he] would produce. You know, it’s partly a matter of being in the right place at the right time both for the creators and the material, and that’s what happened in 1998. We got a 20 year run out of it, which is not too bad.
V: One of the longest running movie franchises, period, I would say.
CC: Well, I have a suspicion The Avengers might catch up.
V: It’s looking that way, although there looks to be some synergy coming.
So the Dark Phoenix Saga, in particular, has been adapted multiple times in movies and TV. It’s a story that fans love to revisit and Hollywood loves to retell. Why do you think this story holds such a particular fascination to movie fans and comic fans?
CC: Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s a cracking good story. It’s a story about love, and horror, and courage, and sacrifice. It’s a story of moral choice.
It’s essentially: What do you do if you have the power to one day save creation from its own destruction, but a week later you commit planetary genocide? Where is there a balance? When you have that level of ability tied to a physical reality that is mortal. You know, it’s essentially growing up.
V: [The Phoenix] ends up being something that harms [Jean] as much as it helps her in so many ways. Does that symbolize anything to you? Is there any sort of real world inspiration for what she has going on there?
CC: Well we all have the potential within us for awesome good and awesome evil. We’d like to think we all have the capacity to grow and to learn and to mature. The trick is, can we do so in time to prevent the commitment of any unforgivable act?
V: One more quick question: It’s been teased by Kevin Feige that we’re going to see some mutant content in the MCU going forward.
Do you have any advice for the people who might be putting their fingerprints on these characters you worked with going forward?
CC: I have 10 fingers. If you want to make a movie about the X-Men, give me a call. And the one thing that I think we can all take for granted is that Marvel Studios will find an interesting and exciting and engrossing way of figuring out what to do next.