FAQ with the Creators

Journal Entry: Sun Sep 18, 2011, 9:10 PM

While at San Diego ComicCon 2011, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting several people who worked in the creation of X-men Evolution, including, among others, Steven E. Gordon and Robert Skir. Mr.Gordon was both a director of several episodes, in addition to being the character designer, and even doing some of the animation and storyboards. Mr.Skir was a co-creator of the series. This means he was one of the people who did all the work getting the show made. While he wasn't involved in the production of the show for the entire run, he did write the show's "bible"; the multi-page document breaking down the world, the characters, and all the important ideas of the show.  Some of these initial ideas were changed once the show actually got underway, but it's still a fascinating look into how the show started out.

Anyway, I recently collected questions from you all to ask to these wonderful gentlemen, and they were kind enough to give us their personal thoughts on the various matters. Now... for some reason, some of your questions didn't get copy-pasted correctly when I e-mailed Mr.Gordon, so his perspective is missing on a few of these... Additionally, some of these questions were previously answered by Mr. Gordon when I e-mailed him several years ago. I've put his previous answers in Italics, as well as his current answers :3

WHY did the show have to end?
SEG: That's an answer that I can only answer in vague terms since I don't want to offend any future employers. I can tell you another season had been originally part of the original contract and plan, but for several reasons KidsWB and Marvel decided not to go through with the next season and just wrap it all up at the end of season 4. Needless to say we were disappointed.
RS: All good things have to end, eventually. But if it was up to me, it'd still be on... With a lot of turnover in the lineup (as people graduate and move on to other things, and villains become good guys, and new people begin manifesting their powers and need guidance, etc...)

Do you ever read any of the fanfics or look at fanart created by the fans for the show?
SEG: I've never read any of the FanFic (though I understand some of it can get quite "interesting"), but every now and then I stumble across some of the FanArt (some of that can get quite "interesting" as well). I do get sent some photos of some of the Cosplays though every now and then. Feel free to send me any of the FanFic or FanArt. I'm always curious....I think.
RS: I don't have much time to read fanfic, and haven't seen any of the fanart... But I'm sure it's all very inspired.

Why did they create the acolytes with good-guy characters?
SEG: I wasn't part of that decision so I can't tell you the exact reasons since it wasn't one of the discussions I was involved in. In fact, I knew nothing in regards to the Acolytes prior to this show - as I've said in other interviews, I hadn't read or collected comics in a lot of years prior to getting the job on XME so I wasn't even aware of who Wolverine was.
I regards to the Acolytes, I suspect the reason we used these specific characters is that they wanted to bring them onto the show and this seemed like a good way to bring them in as opposed to bringing in some bad guys never to be used again. Especially since (or so I've heard) that there was some history of these characters being bad guys at one time or another.
RS: So the existing characters could appear in the series, and so we'd see them in a new and interesting way. I wasn't there for any of this, so I'm not sure if that's how I would have done it. But it was sure fun seeing them in a whole new way (even if that was inconsistent with "canon".)

Why wasn't Dazler/Marrow/the White Queen/Polaris ever included?
SEG: I can only address two of these since I don't recall any discussion in regards to Polaris or Emma (though I'm not sure why - especially since Emma she seems to be a fan favorite and a favorite of Craig Kyle who was the Marvel guy starting in season 3). I know that Marrow wasn't used because we accidentally created a new character (Spyke) that had the same basic powers as Marrow. Believe it or not, we truly had never heard of Marrow until after we had already went forward with the Spyke intro episode. Kind of surprises me , in retrospect, that Marvel never said anything. The other character that you mention that I remember some discussion of is Dazzler and, if I recall right, it was determined she was too dated.
RS: There probably wasn't time, or maybe they never came up in conversation during the story meetings. As I'm going to be saying repeatedly during these questions, I wrote the development for the show; I wasn't there during the actual writing, so there's a lot I really can't answer.

What are the main character's ages?
SEG: We never determined specific ages other than the obvious ones. Kitty was young enough to just be learning to drive in season 2 (if I'm remembering right) and Scott and Jean were seniors. Most of the characters were discussed in more general terms. Like so-and-so was in their 30's or so-and-so is younger than Kurt, etc. I don't think we thought of them in any more specific terms than these.
RS: I saw Kitty as a freshmen or sophomore, Kurt, Rogue and Evan as sophomores, Jean as a junior, and Scott as a senior. Storm is 27 or 28. Wolverine... Looks 35 but is much much much older (how old will always remain a mystery, but the history he knows as memories will always floor you.) professor x is 50 or so.

Are there ANY plans to continue the series someday? Maybe in comic form?
SEG: Anything is possible...but I seriously do not believe there is any chance of the show coming back after being canceled so long ago at this point. Unless DVD sales are huge (like Family Guy) I wouldn't hold my breath. All I can say is anything IS possible, BUT I really can't imagine it happening. Marvel never really accepted the show (even though many of the ideas we came up with they adapted and claimed as their own) so I can't imagine now that Marvel is in charge of their own animation that anything more will ever happen with the XME universe.
RS: Probably not.

If the series hadn't ended, what storyline would they have tackled next?
SEG: To my knowledge the next season's shows had never been seriously discussed (this usually only happened after the next season was green lighted) and these visions were created as just a way to wrap up the series for the fans - and ourselves.
RS: That's for the creative teams to answer. Or for you to imagine, so have fun!

Did Evo have a universe number? Like how the main comics are called Earth-616?
SEG:I think I heard it referred to as 3110, yeah.
RS: I referred to it as 3110, though I didn't expect that sort of little detail to make it into the show.

Where was Gambit's flirtatious side in Evo?
SEG: I wasn't involved in story discussions for season 3 and 4 (I was only freelancing the character designs and the occasional storyboard - my day job was at DreamWorks) so I don't know what their thinking was in regards to Gambit. I thought they tried to use it a little bit, but it didn't become quite as big a deal as it did in the comics. Keep in mind we liked (and I think the fans did too) that Rogue had sort of a thing for Scott and too much Gambit/Rogue flirtation would've interfered with that.
RS: He was brought in to be a villain, so there were no opportunities to cultivate it. Had he been around longer, it would have shown up.

Why wasn't Gambit at the final battle with Apocalypse?
SEG: I have no idea...sorry. Too many Mint Juleps...?
RS: Dunno. Wasn't there.

Why wasn't Rogue and Gambit's relationship explore further?
SEG: I think I answered this in the earlier question as best as I could. When I was involved in story discussions I know we didn't feel it was necessary to replicate all relationships and personalities from the comics.  We sure went quite different with many of them like Rogue (no longer the big haired Southern Belle but now Goth Trailer Trash).
RS: Had the series lasted longer, it might have. But their personalities were so different from other shows and comics, so their relationship may have come out differently... Maybe even unfriendly!

If the show had continued, would Gambit have joined the X-men, and if so, how?
SEG: It wouldn't have surprised me, but if anything was specifically planned I couldn't say for sure. My best guess would be that he would've only been an occasional guest star on the show and used for specific episodes.

Does Rahne shed?
SEG: Constantly. That's why they didn't let her on any of the good furniture.
RS: In wolf-form, sure. When she's transforming, I'm guessing not. (her fur retracts; it's that thing where you ask where do Dracula's clothes go when he changes into a bat, and where do they come from when he changes back...)

Why did Rahne get taken out from the show?
SEG: After season 2, I think it was determined that we had too many characters to adequately service and give quality time to so they used the outing of Mutants in season 3 to move some of the characters off screen.
RS: Dunno. Wasn't there.

What is the correct way to pronounce "Rahne"? In the show, both "Rain" and "Rawnee" are used.
SEG: When we checked with Marvel they said it was pronounced "Rain", but I had a friend that was actually from Ireland and even though she'd never heard of that name before she assumed it would be pronounced "Rawnee" and couldn't imagine it ever being pronounced "Rain". Why was it pronounced both ways on the show...? I can only assumed someone made a mistake and it wasn't caught.
RS: Think they specified that as the pronunciation in the comics. But I'd have to ask somebody from her native country (Ireland, right? Or maybe Scotland?) they'd know better than I would.

Was Moira MacTaggert Rahne's foster mother in Evo verse?
SEG: I don't think we ever went that far in our thinking. If someone had come up with a good storyline that involved that connection we might have used it.
RS: I really don't know... I wasn't there for the writing.

Would you say Magneto is a: Misunderstood old guy in a helmet or Crazy old guy  bent on worldwide domination?
SEG: Even though it wasn't real apparent in season 1, I think our goal was to try and show that he was someone that had been wounded by the Human race and felt he needed to do what he could to save Mutant-kind. I think this actually worked much better in Wolverine and the X-Men then in XME.  I also think he suffered from being forced into the position of being the Big Bad in XME and this caused any subtleties to be smoothed over quite a bit.
RS: He isn't that old, certainly not as old as Ian Mckellan! And to answer your question, he is the former who is forced by circumstance into being the latter. His devotion to his own people is forcing him to be utterly ruthless in furthering their cause.

Where did Pietro disappear to for the end of "Shaddowdance"? (He's seen arriving with his four dates, but after arriving all five are never seen again).
SEG: Though I haven't read any of them, I suspect that FanFic has probably addressed that better than I could.
RS: Dunno. Wasn't there.

Would Wanda have ever gotten her memories back?
SEG: I'd be willing to bet that would have come up in a future episode. We were very proud of that whole "Wanda was institutionalized by her father and was damaged goods" storyline we created, so I imagine it would've come up again.
RS: Only if doing so would have led to a good story.

Who is older, Pietro or Wanda? How old were they when Wanda was institutionalized?
SEG: Pietro was probably 8 and Wanda was probably 6. But I could be wrong... I always assumed they were fraternal twins - isn't that what they were in the comics (not that mattered in the XME universe)? But I'm not sure we ever discussed it. If pressed I would assume Pietro was slightly older
RS: They're twins; who came out first is something you'd have to ask Bova or Magda. And I really don't know the answer to the second question.

What exactly happened to Kurt in those experiments?
SEG: We never really discussed it (that I recall) and we purposely left it vague so the audience could come to their own conclusion. BUT I always assumed that Magneto had done something to force his mutation to occur sooner then it would have naturally (we were working on the hypothesis that mutations didn't usually manifest until the character in question reached adolescence). Whether that caused his mutation to be different  than what it would have been if left to evolve on its own is anyone's guess.
RS: Dunno. Wasn't there.

What does the "E" stand for in Kurt E. Wagner? (from "Bada Bing Bada-Boom" where Tabby has doodled what fans speculate to be her initials (T.S.) and Kurt's initials (K.E.W.) in a heart www.xmenetv.com/images/caps/02… www.xmenetv.com/images/caps/02… )
SEG: I have absolutely no idea...sorry. My guess is it was something the writer came up with.
RS: Elijah. (I just made that up!)

How much can Kurt eat in one sitting?
SEG: I don't know...as much as a normal teenager - In other words, a lot!
RS: How much you got? (in his defense, all that springing and climbing and tumbling and bamf-ing burns a lot of calories.

Why was X-23 introduced?  
RS: Dunno. Wasn't there. Probably because she was a character who'd never been in any show before, so she'd be new and fun.

What's X-23's real name?
SEG: I'm pretty sure there was never one created. I think the idea was, since she was  a clone and had no real parents, that she was just given an identification number and X-23 was the 23rd attempt at the cloning process.
RS: I really don't know much about her.

Why were two entire episodes devoted to X-23?
SEG: There might be a couple of reasons for that. The first is that it was a way to make a couple of episodes specifically involving Wolverine without them being directly about him and the other reason is that the Marvel guy in charge of the show starting in Season 3 was Craig Kyle and he created the character X-23. X-23 was based on the niece (I think she was the niece) of Craig's fiance. She was used as the original model for X-23 and Craig's fiance was used as the model for Dr Risman.
RS: Dunno. Wasn't there.

Paul: Where did he come from, and why wasn't there MORE of him?
SEG: I assume the writer's came up with the character so Scott could have a non-Mutant friend and eventually they found fewer reasons and less of a need to include him. I did try to insert him into crowd-shots whenever possible, but that was pretty limited
RS: Paul?

Did Paul ever realize that his milk was overflowing? (While he's watching the X-men on TV in "Day  of Reckoning: Part Two")
SEG: If he never figured out Scott was a Mutant then I suspect he never realized his milk was overflowing and probably is still overflowing to this day
RS: Yes, but not until it was waaay too late.

What colour are Scott's Eyes?
SEG: Hmmm...I'm not sure. I know we did come up with a color model, but I couldn't tell you which color was the official one...sorry
RS: Depends on who's coloring them. I always imagined them as being red, even when his powers are depleted or shut-down. Or maybe dark, dark, dark brown. Something unearthly, because his eyes aren't like ours, even when he's at his most "human".

Why is Jean so annoying?
RS: Because Jean is everything [some people are] not and will never be: pretty, popular, school-smart, from a happy family.  

What's Jean's sister's name?
RS: Sarah

What ever happened to Jean's SUV? (Her new car in the episode "Self Possessed")  
RS: Sold at auction after the series folded.

What ethnicity is Avalanche?
SEG: American Trailer Trash. Pretty sure we never worried about his heritage beyond that.
RS: I never saw him as having an "ethnicity".

Why was Spyke blond?
SEG: We were just trying to come up with a unique look for him and it helped tie him in a little with his Aunt Ororo. Originally he was designed with Corn-rows, but the people in charge thought it looked too "gangsta" and might scare the children (?)
RS: It looked cool, made him look "different". The show was done when people were coloring their hair to make a "statement".

Blob vs Juggernaut. Who'd win?!
SEG: Juggernaut
RS: Let's just say I'd feel sorry for whoever was standing between them. (and no matter who won, it would end with them going out for bratwurst and beer, so, really, what's the diff?)

Since Forge appears underage, does he have a hard time buying beer or getting into clubs and stuff?
SEG: Forge doesn't party - he's a geek. At the end of MiddleVerse originally Forge was going to give Kurt the Star Trek "live long and prosper" sign and Kurt would try and return it unsuccessfully (he was NC at this point), but the KidsWB didn't want us to reference Star Trek.
RS: Nope. He's forge, the most inventive mutant. He'll find a way, or invent a way, or borrow Kurt's image inducer, or make an improved model for himself. But, of course, in x-men evolution nobody drinks... It's a kids show!!!!!

Was Piotr an artist, like in the comics?
SEG: I'm not sure and I doubt we would have gone there, but anything is possible.
RS: He was a villain in x-men evolution, so I'm guessing that even if he was he wouldn't be telling his comrades about it!

Was there a back story or origin story for Ray Crisp? Why was he at the institute? How did he know about the Morlocks?
SEG: I'm not sure his backstory was ever really worked out (same for many of the new recruits), but we did know he had a relationship at one point with the Morlocks.
RS: I honestly don't know anything about this. Track down the writer for that episode and see if he has any idea.

How many brothers and sisters does Sam Guthrie have in Evo verse?
RS: Having nothing to do with those stories, I really couldn't tell you. Off the top of my head, I'd give him six siblings. Just 'cuz.

Both men would like to make it clear that they're not the be-all-end-all authority in these matters. These answers are either their personal opinions, or 'to the best of my knowledge' type answers. If you have any other questions you'd like answered, feel free to post them in a comment on this journal entry, and if I get enough, I'll compile them and see if we can't have a round-two FAQ :D

In the meanwhile, be sure to check out Steven E Gordon's web page. I would link to Robert Skir, too, but I haven't been able to come up with his web page yet, so here's his wikipedia instead :B

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