Over the past year, Dennis Hopeless has put the time-displaced teen team of X-Men through the wringer. They've fought classic X-villains like the Blob and Toad and two of them -- Genesis and Beast -- even took a dangerous tour of Ancient Egypt. Recently, the team's gone up against a returned, hellish version of Madelyne Pryor -- and Beast himself underwent a mystical makeover. There's one original X-Man that Hopeless hasn't written yet, but that's soon to change. As part of the line-wide ResurrXion relaunch, Hopeless will take Jean Grey on her first ever solo adventure.
This week in X-POSITION, "All-New X-Men" and upcoming "Jean Grey" writer Dennis Hopeless joins us and answers all of your questions about everything from Beast's recent transformation to the Phoenix's return and more.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Dennis! Let's kick things off with a few questions about Beast, the first coming from Mic.
After seeing and loving the new Beast form, will we see Hank turn into this beast at will? Will it be an ongoing thing in ResurrXion?
Dennis Hopeless: Mic! As Hank implies at the end of the issue, that story is far from over. It will absolutely continue in a big way. I can’t say how or where just yet, but you’ll definitely learn more soon.
And here's the second Beast question, this one from YeahX3.
What was the inspiration behind Beast's sorcerous transformation? It's interesting that teen Beast was adamant about not experimenting on himself like his adult counterpart, but ended up doing exactly that but in a different way.
YeahX3! Right?! Turns out fighting one’s natural inclinations can be tricky. Teen Beast went way out of his way to avoid becoming his older self… And ended up taking a totally different road to more or less the same spot.
From the beginning we always wanted to show Hank struggling to catch up with modern science while struggling to avoid his older self’s missteps. I knew that was going to mean taking a different path. I don’t recall what exactly inspired it but I do remember writing Punk Rock Wizard Beast on Jeff Lemire’s napkin at a Marvel Creative Retreat. Jeff rolled his big dumb Canadian eyes and I knew I had something.
Recent issues of "All-New" also brought back some characters from your "Inferno" "Secret Wars" series, and CraigTheCylon wants to know more about them.
If "Inferno's" Goblin Queen and Nightmarecrawler (it's a better name, admit it, ADMIT IT!) escaped Battleworld to Earth Prime via Limbo or some other hell dimension, does that mean the same could hold true for that series' Colossus, Domino and Boom Boom? Not saying I would rather read about them than most Marvel books currently published, but...no, I am absolutely saying that.
CraigTheCylon! First of all, Nigthmarecrawler is an awesome name. No argument here. Secondly, anything is possible. I don’t have any more "Inferno"-related stories planned, but all I would take is the right spark. Marvel editors are pretty open-minded about mining past storylines and characters. Just takes the right pitch.
That said, I will always take any opportunity to write Colossus, Dom and Boom Boom. Chances are I’ll slip them into something somewhere soon.
CraigTheCylon also has a question about the upcoming "Jean Grey" book.
What is it about the Phoenix Force that frightens young Jean so much? Is it simply the weight of another woman's destiny she's seen too much of already, or is it more to do with the potential loss of control over her own mind and life to some vast interstellar thing with unclear motives? Or has she simply been exposed solely to more recent tales of the Phoenix, which tend to paint it in a very negative light?
Teenage Jean Grey is horrified by the tortured life her older self lived. From Jean’s perspective, it was nothing but perpetual pain, death and rebirth. That’s her nightmare. And at the center of that nightmare is a massive intergalactic firebird. I suppose there’s an argument to be made that she’s oversimplifying a complex situations… But that’s easy to say from over here in our armchairs. It’s Jean’s life and future at stake. She wants no part of it.
Back on the "Inferno" front, MarvelMaster616 has a question about Madelyne Pryor.
In "All-New X-Men," you had the Goblin Queen make her overdue return, but she didn't spend much time getting acquainted with the O5 X-Men or making things awkward for Teen Cyclops. Is there a chance she'll show up again down the line? You'd think the prospect of tormenting a teenage Cyclops would be too tempting for her.
MarvelMaster616! Yeah, that’s just not what this particular story was about. There’s definitely a possibility you’ll see something like that down the line. I yanked The Goblin Queen out of hell so that she’d be around for all sorts of stories. I love this version of Maddie. She’s such a self-satisfied hedonist and just a blast to write.
And here's a "Jean Grey" Q from MarvelMaster616 too.
What would you say is Jean Grey's endgame? Is she trying to not end up dead? Is she trying to escape the Phoenix Force? What is her goal in this endeavor?
Jean is trying to avoid her older self’s Phoenix curse and the tortured life that comes with it. In the beginning, Jean won’t know exactly what that means or how to go about it, but she’s dedicated. The series follows Jean as she travels around learning about The Phoenix and preparing herself (trying at least) for the inevitable battle. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store.
With ResurrXion right around the corner, somacula has a question about "All-New X-Men's" future.
So, is "ANXM" continuing during ResurrXion? I know the cast is going to "X-Men Blue," but the book has showed that it can sell on name alone. So is there any chance it continues with a different cast?
Somacula! I’m writing an issue of "All-New X-Men" this week. We’re not done yet.
You've been writing the time-displaced teen X-Men for a while now, but Kamose1234 is interested in the one you haven't written yet.
How does it feel to write a Jean Grey solo series after your "All-New X-Men" run, given how she was a founding member of the group but not present for your duration? Ironic?
Kamose1234! I wrote a teenage Jean Grey in "X-Men: Season One," which was my first paid writing gig. I immediately fell in love with the character and writing her again feels like coming home. She’d have been on my "All-New X-Men" team if Jeff Lemire weren’t such a stingy monster. If I’m honest, we arm wrestled over it and he won… but I still say there was some sort of cheating involved.
There are plenty of X-Men out there that could guest star in "Jean Grey," but Sardorim wants to know about one specific hero.
Will Jean consult the #1 Phoenix expert, Rachel Grey-Summers, in regards to her Phoenix problem? No one else alive knows the Phoenix and how to control it like Rachel does.
Sardorim! Yes! Of course! Right off the bat.
That'll come as good news to plenty of X-Fans, for sure! Next, Hiago asks a question about the new series' premise.
Some readers feel a little fatigued about Jean being always connected to Phoenix. An expectation that some of us had, is that maybe teen Jean would follow a separate way from the fire bird. How do you feel about it? Must Jean always be connected to Phoenix, in a way or another, or is this just a path she must face before going on with her own life?
Hiago! My entire pitch was based on that feeling. It’s a feeling Jean herself shares. How do you dodge your destiny? How do you fight against it? I think readers will be very pleased with our take on all of this. It’s not a standard Jean/Phoenix story.
And we'll close out this week with a hypothetical from akiresu_.
Now we're coming up to the end of the ANAD X-Books, if you were initially hired to write a teen x-book, but couldn't use the O5 characters, who would have been your picks?
Akiresu! Great question! Also hard to answer. Off the top of my head (and assuming I don’t have to explain age differences), I’d write (teenage) Boom Boom, Beak, Eyeboy, Snot, Idie and Molly Hayes.
Special thanks to Dennis Hopeless for taking on this week's questions!
Next week we're doing our fourth annual New Year's round-up X-Position, and we want to hear from you -- the fine readers of this column! Go ahead and send in a few words answering one, some or all of the questions below and we'll print the best responses in our final column of 2016. To keep all of your responses a surprise to your fellow X-Po readers, we will only accept those sent in via email. All submissions need to be in by Monday, December 26.