Even if you’ve never heard the name Chris Claremont before, you’re most likely aware of his work with comics, especially the X-Men. All the X-Men movies are largely based on his work, especially X-2 which takes influences from God Loves, Man Kills, and X-Men: The Last Stand which draws inspiration from the classic Dark Phoenix Saga. If that’s not enough for you, he’s created about 500 comic book characters and even co-wrote the best-selling comic book of all time. Today at Supanova 2013 Claremont held a seminar discussing his work, where fans were eager to ask questions and learn more about the legendary writer.
A major focus during the seminar was The Dark Phoenix Saga, where he spoke of killing off Jean Grey. When asked what he thought about other writers bringing her back from the dead, he said “I’ve been in better moods.” In fact, when he first heard it was going to happen while eating dinner at a pub, he ran down to the office enraged, only to find out it was locked and walked all the way back to the pub to finish his dinner.
Yet another character he was asked about was Captain Britain. Stan Lee said they needed a new character to appeal to the British market and Claremont put his hand up excited, stating his thoughts were along the lines of “Hey it’s a gig! $12 dollars a page? That’s $120! That’s rent for the month!” With this in mind, he wasn’t upset about other writers who later on changed the character. While ten issues were published, Claremont revealed he actually wrote eleven. The first issue was apparently “trashed” because it didn’t have an origin. He suggested the second issue could tell the origin story, but Stan Lee said that idea was “stupid”.
When asked about his Wolverine collaboration with Frank Miller, Claremont told the audience a story about how he was giving Miller a three and a half hour lift in his car. Claremont said that Miller originally didn’t want to do Wolverine because he thought the character just snarled and killed things, but Claremont convinced him there was a lot of depth to the character. The plot for the debut issue was 20 pages long, single spaced in 12 point font with excruciating detail. Details included the color of the water and the breed of bear Wolverine fought. However soon after this, Claremont realised Miller had the same idea for the texture and just needed the action to pencil. So Claremont then learned to “shut up” and by the fourth issue the plot was done within just a 20 minute phone call. He also joked that the reason Wolverine is popular is because “he is Hugh Jackman” and in the next film he would like to seem him do a dance number with Anne Hathaway. But then said he thinks the character is popular because he has lots of mystery, and the worst thing a writer can do is to reveal Wolverine’s personal secrets.
When asked what his favourite X-Men was, he struggled to think of one but eventually settled on saying Kitty Pryde. He said he spent 5 years fighting to get Kitty but then the “son of a gun” Joss Whedon killed her off by sending her away in a “giant space bullet” which he thinks was cheesy. That being said, he concluded with “…but I like Joss. I saw The Avengers four times!”
Another major theme of the seminar is the future of his works. In regards to The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past, he said he’ll be just as surprised as we will be as he doesn’t know anything about them. He said he doesn’t know what WILL happen, just what SHOULD happen as he wrote the source material. When asked about Days of Future Past being set in 2013 (it was published in 1981), he defended himself by stating “I didn’t think we’d make it to 2013…we were on the brink of nuclear war!”