I first met and interviewed writer Chris Claremont while covering New England Super Megafest Comic-Con for AiPT! in 2017. As a longtime X-Men fan, I showed up with an eXtensive list of questions (and comics for signing purposes, of course)–only to find that Claremont’s line never really died down. At conventions, you never have to wait too long to chat with most writers and artists. That wasn’t the case with Claremont back in 2017 and it remains true to this day based on the never-ending lines for the legendary scribe at day one of Terrificon 2019!
Seriously, more people were lined up for a chance to get their copy of Uncanny X-Men #137 signed by Claremont than went to go see Dark Phoenix in theaters.
Sadly, endless lines meant my lengthy list of interview questions would once again need to be trimmed on the fly. After day one officially came to a close–and with security yelling in the background that it was time to vacate the venue–I made the most of my five minutes with the man who created so much of the mutant mythology we know and love. Here’s what we were able to get through before time was up.
AiPT!: Chris, you’ve had a chance to revisit various X-Men characters in a lot of recent short stories…
Chris Claremont: I wouldn’t say a lot. I’ve done about a half dozen.
AiPT!: It seems like a lot. You did the Kitty Pryde story in The Wedding Special, the Cyclops story in The Exterminated…
AiPT!: So how has it been getting to do these smaller, more intimate character stories?
Claremont: Fun. You know, it’s a chance to work with some good artists and to tell what–I like to think–are some good stories.
AiPT!: Speaking of new stories, what can you share about the upcoming New Mutants: War Children?
Claremont: It’s Bill Sienkiewicz and me doing it. Basically, I like to think of it as our next issue–it only took us 32 years to get around to it and i think it’ll be a kickass story. But that’s up to Bill.
AiPT!: On the note of picking up where you left off, I’d like to ask about X-Men Forever. Were the majority of the storylines featured in the series things you never got to do in your original X-Men run or were they entirely new ideas?
Claremont: It evolved very quickly simply because I had ideas. It never occurred to me to kill off Wolverine until a young editor suggested it. By the same token, it never occurred to John [Byrne] and me to kill off Jean until it was presented to us as “you have no choice.” In this instance, the idea of killing off a major iconic character–yeah, you’d love to, but theoretically you’ll always be told “no.” In this instance, since we weren’t part of the A-list paradigm, we could.
And then, of course, once we did it, 10 years later, they did it for real. Why am I always ahead of my time?
AiPT!: Switching gears to the movies. What advice do you have for Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios as they set out to adapt the X-Men?
Claremont: I would think my advice to anyone who is doing an adaptation–who is immersing themselves in the Marvel Omniverse–if it pertains to a specific book, I would take advantage to as great an extent as possible the creators of the original source material. Utilize them. A lot of the concept and characters and conflicts that we’ve built and established on paper could easily be transposed to film, but the devil–as always–is in the details. But it would probably cost–especially in left coast terms–nothing to utilize the creators. Why not give it a shot? But that’s an incredibly complicated and complex series of questions and answers.
AiPT!: Are there any X-Men characters you created that haven’t made it to the big screen that you’d still like to see adapted?
Claremont: All of them. Oh yeah, I mean pick one. The one thing that Fox has in its favor is, in terms of Legion, they’ve done it right and as right as one could wish for. And the thing that won my love right off the bat is the fact they gave Bill Sienkiewicz and me appropriate credit right at the top of the list.
I think that’s what any creator would love to see with respect to any of their creations. Not bunched together in a series of micro fonts at the end of the credits. But again, that’s just me.
AiPT!: Thank you for your time, Chris!
While so many questions of mine will have to remain unanswered, I’m grateful for the few minutes I once again had with Chris to talk X-Men. And if you want a little more from him, be sure to check out X-Men Monday #23, which will be online August 12 and feature interviews with the many past X-Men creators I had a chance to speak with at Terrificon… along with a few surprise guests.