X-POSITION: Chris Claremont

Chris Claremont, the writer behind some of the most revered X-Men stories throughout the mutants' history including "Dark Phoenix Saga," "Days of Future Past" and many more, now presides over a Marvel universe very different from the one we've known. Since its beginning as a bi-weekly series a little over a year ago, picking up from where Claremont left off with 1991's "X-Men" #1-3, "X-Men Forever" has seen the fall of Beast and Wolverine, the rise of Storm as an evil conqueror, the reveal of Tony Stark as one of the world's greatest villains and the exchanging of Nightcrawler's and Rogue's powers, as the entire team faces early deaths thanks to Mutant Burnout. And while Nick Fury may have their backs, the Avengers, mysteriously, do not.

With "X-Women" in stores this week, "New Mutants Forever" debuting next month and the famed X-writer set to appear at San Diego's Comic-Con International, Mr. Claremont took some time from his busy schedule to answer your reader for the latest X-POSITION!

Without further ado, here's Margaret White to lead us off with a simple question about playing favorites.

Why does Lockheed seem to prefer Ororo to Kitty?

I'm assuming by "Ororo" you're referring to 'Ro (the not-quite adolescent iteration of the former leader of the X-Men). Actually, Lockheed's helping out his true friend Kitty, by keeping a watchful eye on the new arrival. Bear in mind, 'Ro's powers are just manifesting; they function inconsistently. Mostly, the girl depends on her wits and her skills as a thief (both those honed by Remy and those she learned apparently on her own growing up in Cairo - which, in her case, appears to be Illinois, not Egypt.) But being a kid - and an adventurer, and a thief - she is more than inclined to act on impulse and get herself into serious trouble, as we're about to see in "XMF ll" #'s 4 & 5. With the X-Men short-handed, Kitty can't be in two places at once, looking after 'Ro while working with the team. So, she's asked Lockheed to fill the gap.

I'd reckon every kid wants a dragon for a babysitter. Next up is Sharif Youssef, who wonders about storylines past and future.

Hi Chris,

So far my favorite storyline in X-Men Forever has been that of Storm conquering Wakanda. She is totally out of her gourd! But clearly, she's not totally corrupt if she feel that Kitty has turned on her when Kitty slashes her face for killing Wolverine. Do the events of the X-Tinction Agenda with the Genegineer, David Moreau, - the means by which he restored Storm's adult body - still stand in the forever-verse?

Also, Mystique used Nightcrawler's immunity to mutant burnout to inoculate Rogue, but did she have another, ulterior, motive? Was she trying to make Rogue her genetic daughter as well as to show Nightcrawler and Rogue that they are siblings?

Hi Sharif --

The basic rule-of-thumb for "XMF" is that if I wrote it, it counts. That said, especially as relates to what happened on Genosha, there are (regrettably of necessity at the time) plenty of time-gaps in the story where readers see perhaps the start, perhaps the conclusions of actions and events, but not always the connecting moments. Lots might have happened back then that we know nothing about. But also which I suspect we're about to learn.

As for Mystique's motivations, all I can say is keep reading. Answers may well be coming far sooner than you think.

Niels van Eekelen had his wish granted, and now wants to know more.

In a previous X-Position, I asked you if Illyana was going to show up in "X-Men Forever," and I think it was the next week that the first covers with her for the "Black Magik" arc were shown online. So I just wanted to say: Thank you, you provide excellent and speedy service.

1. That storyline of course let many questions unanswered. Will you be answering some of those and exploring the bond between Kitty and Illyana further (I've always loved that relationship) in "Forever 2?"

Niels --

Firstly, you're more than welcome (re: Illyana.)

At the moment, I have to say that there are a great many other characters to focus on and conflicts to be addressed (if not outright resolved). Lots of material is in the proverbial pipeline, which means that pre-established stories, such as Illyana, will simply and sadly have to wait their turn. The other thing to bear in mind is that Kitty's undergoing a whole host of somewhat scary changes herself; as she herself notes, she's not the girl Illyana remembers. The sorceress (like Perfect Storm before her) may find herself up against a far more formidable and fearsome adversary than she anticipated.

2.Non-Forever-related, if you could work with any modern artist that you haven't worked with yet, who would it be?

I'm afraid that list is far too long - but hope always springs eternal!

Next, Scott and Jean's relationship is on MarvelMaster616's mind.

1. I get the Jean/Logan plot you established early in Forever. The annual was probably one of the best stories of it's kind in that regard. But where on Earth did the Jean/Beast plot come from? Jean and Logan established an attraction before X-men 1-3. I never saw such hints with Jean/Beast.

My argument would be that this is an untold story dating back to the days when the X-Men were first founded and all the young men on the team (save perhaps for Bobby, being a tad too young) had their eyes on Jean. Back then, as I recall those early days, Warren was initially quite interested in Jean - very much Scott's rival for her attentions. Hank, being tactful as well as courteous, saw early on that he wasn't in the running and stepped back from that emotional fray. Until circumstances changed.

2. I know you've gone on record as having soured over the Scott/Jean relationship after what happened with Madelyn Pryor and you've done a number on them on X-men Forever. But is there still a chance you'll bring them back together in Forever? You did more than any other writer to establish them as THE X-couple of the ages. Have you completely given up on them?

I would suspect they both have some growing up to do before anything like that happens. Both of them have histories they have to deal with (Scott's whole imbroglio with Madelyn and Jean's with Phoenix) before they can move ahead as individuals, let alone any kind of potential couple. Each in their own way, they're both damaged goods; their wounds have to heal, otherwise anything they try to build will be grounded on sand, not solid rock. The point here is neither they nor the readers can take anything for granted; you'll just have to tag along, hoping for the best, and see how things pan out. I won't at this point guarantee any specific ending, just that the journey itself will be worth the investment.

Speaking of Jean having a lot to deal with, Salman Raja wonders whether there's not something important she's neglecting.

Dear Mr. Claremont,

Shouldn't Jean have contact with the child Nathan? Doesn't Nathan in some ways belong to Jean as he is her half-son? He is the son of her clone so they would be related in some type of mother-son way besides from birth.

I must say that I have enjoyed your "X-Men Forever" book. Can't wait for your "New Mutants Forever" book. Thanks for your time.

Salman --

How do you explain to a little kid that Jean looks just like his Mom but isn't his Mom? Better to let him mourn the loss of Madelyn and get on with his life amidst his Great-Grandmother (Scott's Grammy), his Grand-dad (Corsair) and their extended family (Alex and Lorna). Remember, he's maybe 6, on the brink of starting school; the poor kid has a lot on his plate. How d'you expect him to deal with - even to understand -- the admittedly complicated reality of Jean's past, and adding to it the dynamics of her relationship with Scott? At this point, she and Scott both feel it's better that she keep her distance until Nate's old enough to comprehend what happened between them.

AcesX1X continues with another question about our favorite mutant redhead, followed by a query about Xavier and Fury's history.

1. Madelyne Pryor is dead, but in "Forever," I assume Jean Grey still has Maddie's memories encoded on her brain. Is there a chance that the Jean we've seen in "Forever" is tapping into any of Maddie's wilder ways?

Whatever makes you think that Madelyn's ways were any more "wild" than Jean's herself? I think the key thing to remember here is that Jean is now as she was then, her own woman. You'll just have to see how things play out from there.

2. Nick Fury and Professor X have established a really fluid working relationship since Forever started. Will we get to see an exploration of Professor Xavier's past relationship with Nick Fury? It'd be great to see this side of Xavier's life fleshed out more.

At the moment, we'd enjoy those flashback stories solely from Nick's perspective, Charles being way off-planet these days. (Although of course, I conceded there's nothing save editorial support keeping us from doing a story set with Charley among the Shi'ar.) It's certainly a possibility, though for the moment, Nick has lots of other things on his mind (assuming he's even still alive, which as of the end of "XMF ll" #2 remains somewhat questionable).

With Mr. Claremont's "New Mutants Forever" on the horizon, BlackJack would like to see the writer return to these characters to an even greater degree.

Would you ever consider taking over the current "New Mutants" book if the position become open? You created the characters being utilized in that title, is it hard to see someone else writing the "grown up" version of the team?

From my perspective, I am writing the "New Mutants" book. The challenge is to create a story and characters that are so engrossingly irresistible that readers will flock to it in droves, thereby inspiring Marvel to keep the series going. I like to think that I, and Bob McLeod and Bill Sienkiewicz are all doing our part; now it's up to you readers.

That sounds like a challenge!

Next up, neling4 is hoping to see more of a certain formerly-blue elf.

Mr. Claremont,

I'm sure you don't remember, but we met at the Comic-Con in 2008 and you later responded to my email. I have another question now:

I am enjoying your "X-Men: Forever" series, but I was hoping for more Nightcrawler, particularly since his death in the main Marvel 616 universe. Will we be seeing more, a LOT more, of Kurt and his new powers?

Thank you for your time.

Hopefully we'll have the chance to meet again at this fall's NY Comic-Con (I assume that's what you're referring to), or perhaps at San Diego in a fortnight or so.

With respect to Kurt, one of my favorite characters: you betcha!

Rounding things out, Justin K. is curious as to whether certain events have (or will) play out in "Forever" as they have in the other Marvel universe.

Shortly after "X-men" #1-3, we see the X-men Blue team go against Fenris and Omega Red, and the Gold Team goes to the Hellfire club only to have a run in with Fitzroy and the Sentinels. "X-Men Forever," the first part, went beyond that and all, but will we be seeing the original Hellions in "X-men Forever" at all? With the story coming out differently, will we still see Bishop appearing?

Justin --

With respect to the story arcs you're referring to in "X-Men" and "Uncanny," they all occurred after I left the series, which means they're outside the structural frame of "XMF." In terms of whatever's inside the cache acquired from the Russians, we've no idea what "Omega Red" specifically refers to; that's a mystery yet to be revealed. As for Fenris and the Hellfire Club, again you'll just have to wait and see.

As for Bishop, he's outside the purview of "XMF." Sorry.

Many thanks to Chris Claremont for joining us this week at X-POSITION. Next week we return to the 616 Marvel universe with the X-Editors. Drop me a line by Friday with "X-POSITION" in the subject and I will send along your questions on the "X-Men" relaunch, "Uncanny," "Legacy," "X-Force," "X-Factor," and any other mutant title or storyline you care to think of!

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