Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chris Clarement talks about 'Wolverine,' 'Days of Future Past' (flashback)

In this installment of my "X Marks the Spot" series leading up to Friday's release of "X-Men: Apocalypse," the focus is everyone's favorite mutton-chop rockin', cigar-chompin' mutant.

Who knew that what would become one of the most well-written, most valuable and sought-after limited series ever published by Marvel Comics was first discussed during a traffic jam …?

WARREN, Mich. (March 2014) — Legendary X-MEN writer Chris Claremont may not have created Wolverine, but he sure wrote dozens of stories that have shaped how fans perceive the most ferocious and popular of Marvel Comics’ mutants.

Claremont’s 1982 WOLVERINE limited series with artist Frank Miller and inker Josef Rubinstein is one of the greatest and timeless issues published in the history of comic books. And for me, it certainly remains one of the four finest limited series Marvel has ever published. (HAWKEYE, X-MEN AND THE MICRONAUTS and the four-issue VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH are the other three.)

So it stands to reason we fans would want to know how the now legendary WOLVERINE came to be.

During a Q&A session at the 2014 Great Lakes Comic-Con in Warren, Mich., someone asked Claremont how he pitched the limited series to Miller.

The story starts with Claremont driving Miller from — where else? – a comic book convention.

“I gave him a lift from San Francisco to Los Angeles,” Claremont said.

Soon enough, the pair ended up in a traffic jam due to a traffic stop by ICE — i.e. immigration authorities. (So we can thank the feds for this one!) Claremont referred to it as a “five-mile tailback.”

“Because I had nothing else to do, I pitched him WOLVERINE,” the writer said.

It sounds like Miller was a hard sell.

Claremont recalled Miller saying he didn’t want to draw four issues of just Wolverine fighting. Claremont said he didn’t either and told Miller his story would include angst, “true love and heartache,” Japan – and ninjas, of course.

“I outlined the story and he sounded intrigued,” Claremont said.

“We had four fun issues. We told our story and got out.”

‘The Wolverine’ film 

Fans' first questions at the Q&A were seeking Claremont’s opinions on “The Wolverine” film and director Bryan Singer bringing his “Days of Future Past” story (UNCANNY X-MEN Nos. 141 and 142) to the big screen.

“When it comes to adaptations, the author of the original source is the last one (to know anything),” Claremont said.

First up: “The Wolverine”

Claremont said he believes the first draft of the script “was very good.”

But when Darren Aronofsky left the project, “they had to find a new director,” he continued, and the new director, James Mangold, wanted to make some changes to the script.

“And that’s well within their right,” Claremont added. “What you saw (in the theaters) was the result of his second look at the movie.”

Claremont, who acknowledged star Hugh Jackman was happy with the finished project, said much of the film is based on or taken directly from WOLVERINE.

The writer specifically talked about the sequence with the bear followed by Wolverine’s confrontation with the hunter in the bar. Logan having “words with the guy responsible” was one of the scenes Claremont said was lifted straight from the limited series.

“(But) Yukio doesn’t show up until he (Wolverine) was in Japan,” he added.

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ film

“As far as I know, Brian isn’t finished shooting,” Claremont said, referring to Singer. (Keep in mind Claremont made this statement March 1, 2014.)

Claremont raved about the quality of the cast, mentioning nearly every actor and actress by name and the character they play.

As far as how he might react after “Days of Future Past” is released, Claremont had this to say: “I”ll either be in a real good mood or you won’t want to come near me.”

Want to hear more from legendary writer Chris Claremont?!? Of course you do!

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