Comic legend Chris Claremont on the legacy, and future, of the X-Men franchise

Outside of stalwarts Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, comic writer Chris Claremont has arguably had the biggest impact on Marvel’s X-Men in the history of the franchise. So, what does he make of the comic’s film counterparts?

Claremont wrote the acclaimed and best-selling Uncanny X-Men run for almost 20 years, and chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the franchise’s transition to film and why he thinks it has been one of the most enduring franchises in box-office history.

Turns out Claremont played a key role in getting Fox to greenlight the first X-Men movie by going to bat for the concept and selling it as a bankable idea. He also opens up about what, exactly, makes the X-Men so relatable and where he wants it to go next. From pay cable to more movies, Claremont thinks there’s still a ton of untapped potential.

Check out some excerpts below: 

“Back in ‘98, ’99, when I was VP editorial director at Marvel, I had to write a memo to Fox explaining how to make the X-Men relevant to the audience as a film-story concept. The project was just this side of turnaround, and apparently my memo tipped the scales in its favor. Back then, that felt totally great — and the success of the film illustrated the potential a properly done comic book project could have on the movie market…

We have all these superb actors, playing all these great characters — as both writer and audience, I just want to find ways to bring them to cinematic life as richly as they deserve and, in the process, leave the audience hungry for more. [It is] a franchise with the depth of character and concept that make it valid as film concepts or TV concepts, as ongoing series or limited series, on network or perhaps cable…

You don’t have to play to the traditional cliché of folks in skintight suits. You can take the out-of-this-world element of the concept and present it in terms that make the conflicts and characters meaningful on personal levels to the mainstream viewing audience. Where it comes to the X-Men family, as far as I’m concerned, the sky isn’t the limit; it’s just the first leg of a wonderful adventure.”

Along with the first trilogy of X-Men films, the First Class trilogy is set to wind down in a few years with Apocalypse. You also have the Wolverine spinoffs, and the upcoming Gambit standalone with Channing Tatum. That’s a boatload of movies and stories, but it still feels like they’ve only scratched the surface of where the X-Men could go.

Do you agree with Claremont’s take? Where would you like to see the X-Men go next?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

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