Chris Claremont is one of the X-Men's most prominent writers, and Len Wein is one of the co-creators of Wolverine.
TMT had the opportunity to take part in a round table interview as well as an exclusive interview with Len and Chris at this weekend’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. You can read the exclusive interview below.
Len, Why is Wolverine from Canada?
No reason in particular, I just threw a dart at the map in landed in Canada, I said fuck it, he's from there. No, what really happened was, at that time x-men comics weren't selling in the states, but was selling in a lot of other country's, and the marketing people at Marvel decided hey lets make the characters from all these different locations to help boost the sales. The problem was, they didn't tell us where they were selling, so we just made the different characters wolverine included from wherever we felt like.
Claremont, your known for writing very strong female heroes, which is your favorite to write?
I've known them all so long how do you pick favorites, I could say I love this about storm or so and so is very cool for this. There really is no way I could narrow it down to just one character, I love writing all of them, for different reasons.
Len, How did creating Nightcrawler come about?
The thing about Nightcrawler is he started out just as a visual. We had a bunch of characters drawn up, that hadn't been developed yet. We wanted him to be the nicest guy on the team as well as the most Christian, partly just due to the fact that he looks like a very demonic character. We also thought it would be great for him to be best friends with Wolverine, just to really throw people off. Sometimes we would do ridiculous things just for the fun of it, no story arch, no plan, just for fun.
As far as Nightcrawler's ethnicity and his origin, that relates back to the Marketing people wanting every hero to be ethnically diverse and from all over the world.
What kind of decision making goes into killing off a character?
In some cases it's just a lazy writer, someone who doesn't care about that character. I'll notice someone is killing off a character, and I'll ask them why, they tell me because I hate them, so I say don't use that character anymore. One writer may hate a character they're writing and want to kill them off, but that doesn't mean that when they're done someone else isn't going to come along and love that character, but look now that character is dead.
Other times we'll plan to kill someone off right from the start. It can be for different reasons, they're popularity starts to fade off, or it serves a story arch that may last several months or years. A lot of factors are usually taken into consideration before killing someone off.
Back in the day, Marvel said if they're dead they stay dead, but now you can kill a character today and bring them back next week.
Len, What was your involvement with the X-Men animated series from the 90's?
I worked as a writer as well as director for a short period of time. I know that I worked on at least three or four episodes, but I was actually credited and paid for five (laughs).
What are your opinions on the Marvel Live Action films?
I loved Iron Man, can't wait for the sequel, and I liked most of the X-Men films. I always thought the casting was amazing. I mean Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, for Wolverine and Storm were great. They got the heights right for Wolverine and Storm, except in reverse (laughs).
When Lauren Shuler Donner cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, that's when you could tell she'd earned her money, that casting was brilliant!
Robert Downey Junior as Iron Man, how many people heard this and thought, yes this is the guy. Another situation with amazing casting.
What do you think about Hollywood's current infatuation with comic book movies?
It all has to do with the studio executives. Their number one job is to keep their job. They pick books and characters that people will know, and then hire actors that at the same time are "hot", and if the movie fails, they can say how could I have known this would fail.
It's plausible Denial ability!