CCI: X-Men Panel

CBR's live coverage of Comic-Con International in San Diego continue with Marvel's X-Men panel. On hand for the discussion are Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Director of Communications Arune Singh, Marjorie Liu, Daniel Way, Rick Remender, Chris Yost, and Peter David.

Singh began by describing "Schism" as "the end of the X-Men as you know them-that's not hype." Alonso said "Schism" will "position them as a struggle for hearts and minds" in a way similar to the Xavier/Magneto rivalry. Both Logan and Cyclops have "strong and defendable positions," and fans may be divided about whose perspective they agree with.

Singh reiterated yesterday's announcement that "Schism" will be released day-and-date digital, with the entire X-Men line available in simultaneous digital release by the end of the year.

"Generation Hope ties in in a major, major way," Singh said, especially with issues ten and elevin.

"X-Men: Regenesis" begins in October with a one shot by Kieron Gillen and Billy tan. Alonso added that mutants would be divided along ideological lines, and "each team will have a very specific mission statement."

Editor Nick Lowe appeared on video describing "Schism," with various editors performing small bits with him as he walked down a hallway at Marvel HQ.

On one side, a new series "Wolverine and the X-Men" will launch in October, while on the other, "Uncanny X-Men" gets a new #1. Emma Frost was the only character shown. "You'll notice there's no Cyclops," Singh said. "You'll have to read 'Schism' to find out why."

Remender spoke about the current "Dark Angel Saga" in "Uncanny X-Force," which takes place in the Age of Apocalypse universe. Singh added that "Schism" would affect all X-Men teams, X-Force included.

David said that "X-Factor" #230, tying in with "Schism," "is one of my favorite scripts I've ever turned in." He said he enjoys the team dynamic of "people sitting around talking about what's going on," and that the "personality-driven" tone of "Schism" fits very well with what he's doing in the series. Rahne's baby will be born soon in a story that "leads to the death of one of the team," followed immediately by the "Schism" crossover.

David also described working with oncoming artist Leonard Kirk previously on "Supergirl" as "a highlight of my career," and described him as "an artist who you know, whatever you throw at him, he can handle it."

Yost spoke very briefly on "X-Men: First to Last," which concludes this week, but he added that he has several "secrety" projects coming up.

Singh announced "X-Men #1 20th Anniversary Edition," recolored by Tom Mason, for October, celebrating the best selling comic book of all time.

The next announcement sees Ron Garney returning to "Wolverine," and that Wolverine is being forced out of San Francisco. "He needs some money, so he goes to his stash. But someone's stolen his stash, and that's a very bad idea. He's going to get it back, and he'll tear apart San Francisco to find it."

X-23 will be facing the FF, and Liu spoke on that series. The first year of "X-23," she said, was about establishing her character, while "the next year is about introducing her to the Marvel Universe."

"When I get the pages from Phil [Noto] and Sana [Takeda], I am blown away," she said of her artists.

"Daken: Dark Wolverine" came up next, a character created and popularized by Liu and Way, now written by Rob Williams. Daken will be trying to rise through the ranks in LA and will encounter Moon Knight. "A lot of characters are moving to LA, and there's a reason for that," Singh said.

Way then talked about Evil Deadpool. "Evil Deadpool is a collection of Deadpool's former body parts that were thrown into a dumpster and gelled together," Way explained. Though "he has two right arms," Evil Deadpool has all the abilities of regular Deadpool but without any morality.

"Evil Deadpool does lead into something really big, but I don't have clearance to talk about it yet," Way said. But Singh showed a screen with only the word "Dead," in the style of Deadpool's logo, with the subtitle February 2012.

Singh then opened the floor to questions.

A fan asked whether SWORD would cross over into X-Men. "The place you're likely to see it cross over is 'Astonishing X-Men,'" Alonso said.

The next question: "When's Jean coming back?" "It's not the 616 Jean," Remender said, "but Jean plays a big role in 'Dark Angel Saga.'" Wolverine will have to deal with a living Jean Grey and Nightcrawler.

Alonso said that the decision to reboot "Uncanny X-Men" is "rooted in story." "We didn't make the decision lightly. Over the years since I joined Marvel, there have been times we could have and didn't, you follow me?" But now, there's "a reckoning" between Cyclops and Logan, and that this fully replaces the dynamic of "crusty old guys" Xavier and Magneto.

Mike Carey will be handling Starjammers in "X-Men Legacy," Singh said, adding that the spacefaring team plays a role in "Regenesis."

David said that there will be more Darwin. "I do not believe for a second that he died in the most recent X-Men. His whole schtick is he can't die! You killed the guy who can't die." He added the character will certainly return in "X-Force."

Asked about Hope's relationship to Jean Grey, Singh said there may not be a connection, while Alonso coyly suggested quite the opposite. "We can't say anything without giving away what Kieron [Gillen]'s doing," Singh said.

"X-Men," "X-Men Legacy," "Generation Hope," and "X-Force" will continue beyond Schism, Alonso and Singh said. "None of them are on the chopping block," Alonso added, saying there are covers for the rest of the year "and beyond." Each series will have a role to play. Singh later added that the same applies to "New Mutants."

Alonso also said that "there's a reason 'Fear Itself' and 'Schism' come to a conclusion the same month," adding that the X-Men will play a large role in the Marvel U.

Asked about Psylocke's seeming loss of telekinesis, Remender said it's simply a power he's not interested in using. He added that "Uncanny X-Force" will also try to sort out Psylocke's convoluted history, and noted that if all her powers were included, that too would be convoluted. "Does she still have bionic eyes, do I deal with all the Spiral stuff? If you try to work in everything that's been done with Betsy Braddock over forty years, I'd blow my brains out."

The creators were asked which X-Men paradigm they would choose. "Wolverine-his side sells better," David said. Alonso said it was a good question, saying "I wish I could say I'm on Wolverine's side, but I'm not." He added, in response to the question's phrasing, "don't assume Cyclops will be around."

Asked if any characters would return from Age of Apocalypse, Remender said, "I don't want to give anything away, but we're going crazy with it." There will be ramifications in the other X-books, and "something will come back."

Remender said that his story will explore "what Death is," why Apocalypse was chosen as the first mutant, and more.

A fan asked about Mimic. "There are no immediate Mimic plans, because we really don't like him that much," Alonso laughed.

Asked about another fan-favorite character, "You might see Maggot coming back-I'm not saying that definitively," Remender said.

"There are very very exciting things coming up for Age of Apocalypse, you will not believe how exciting," Remender said, following another fan questions. He's making an effort to "tidy up" and define that universe.

Asked about Cable, Singh said, "we can't say anything about Cable, except that he is very dead right now." "Or is he?" Alonso said.

David was asked whether Scarlet Witch's returning Rictor's power in "Children's Crusade" and how involved he was. "Well, they called me about it and explained the story reason-it wasn't just like, 'we're doing this, suck it, David!" The change will be reflected beginning in "X-Factor" #225. He did not incorporate the shift immediately in order to avoid spoiling "Children's Crusade" in the event that miniseries ran late.

David added, "He displays his powers to Shatterstar, and the first thing he says is, 'I can't wait to show Rahne.' And Shatterstar says, 'Excuse me?'" This will complicate their relationship to a new degree.

The Gamemaster is still in X-23's head, Liu confirmed, a development that will be dealt with later on. "He finds her fascinating because her mind is so quite," the writer said.

Yost said the "Avengers" cartoon can use pretty much any Marvel character, including Wolverine.

Asked how the Cyclops/Wolverine dynamic could play out if Cyclops was off the board post-"Schism," Alonso said, "Well, Martin Luther King isn't around. But there's an idea." Whether Cyclops or Wolverine was ultimately right in his choices will be the true conflict.

Shatterstar and Longshot's similar DNA will be addressed in "X-Factor," David said, but "as with everything I do, I'm not going to do it right away. I'm going to drop hints over a year or so and drive fans crazy, and read everything they say about what they think is going to happen, and do the opposite."

"Iceman has a big role to play in a book coming out toward the end of the year," Singh said in response to a fan question about the character. "The Age of Apocalypse Iceman plays a huge role in 'Uncanny X-Force.'"

Molly of the Runaways may return, and those characters will be used throughout the Marvel Universe. This does not mean, Singh said, that the team is being broken up.

With that, the panel concluded.

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