Thursday, June 01, 2006

A "Generation X" movie?

Some of you may be aware that a few years back I did a couple of novels, "Crossroads" and "Genogoths," based on a now-canceled Marvel Comic called "Generation X." The comic, which had a troubled creative and editorial history was great in concept. Xavier's School for mutants had become so focused on the X-Men and their agenda that a new school, the Xavier Institute, was formed elsewhere to carry on it's original mission, to locate young mutants and teach them to use and control their powers. One of the headmasters was Emma Frost, the White Queen, a reformed evil-mutant with her own troubled history of dealing with young mutants.

I loved doing those books, I'm very pleased with how they turned out, and I came to love the characters. And because so much of their development in the comics was vague or contradictory, I've always had a somewhat proprietary feeling about them.

This is based on nothing what-so-ever of course. The characters belong to Marvel (one of the wages of writing tie-ins, discussed elsewhere), and neither of my novels is considered "canon," that is, part of the "official" history of the characters. But I love my little dead-end stub of Marvel's X-Men, and I'm still proud to have been associated with them.

But despite the worthy concept (there was even a Fox network pilot for a TV series, aired as a TV movie but never picked up) and some sound characters to work with, the comic was ultimately doomed. The creative staff changed again and again. Various editorial hands pulled it this way and that. Jay Farber (who I had the pleasure of meeting just as he was taking over the book) did his best, but I think the editors never let him run with his ideas. Larry Hamma, best known for updating GI Joe back in the 80s, had an infamous run. If ever creator and subject matter seemed a bad fit, this was it. There were brief moments of glory, but Marvel never seemed to understand what the fans clearly did, that this was a gem in the rough.

The comic was canceled just as it seemed to be finding its legs, and most of the characters passed into oblivion. In fact, most of the characters are dead (as dead as anyone gets in the Marvel Universe) now, or changed almost beyond recognition. I expected that Generation X would never live again.

Well, that's still probably correct. But I was given a ray of hope today by an article in USA Today. Given the huge success of X3, a number of possible spin-offs are in the works. Here's a brief quote from the article:

"We've also talked about doing something on the kids in (Professor X's) school, focusing on their lives, and less of a global adventure for the team," says Hutch Parker, production president of 20th Century Fox.

Hey, I have an idea? Why not put them in a motor-home and take them on a cross-country trip where they fight injustice? Okay, okay, there will be ice-skating in hell first...

Actually, this is likely not the Generation-X that I knew. It could also be adapted from the "New Mutants," comic, or (this is probably most likely) be "X-Men Junior" featuring some of the younger character from the movie like Ice Man, Shadowcat, and Angel. (But there's former Generation-Xer Jubilee, who has appeared briefly in all three movies! Go Jubilee!).

Ironically, in addition to the previously discussed Wolverine and Magneto sequels, they have one more on the table:

The studio is also exploring a movie with Three Kings director David O. Russell based on the character of Emma Frost, a sexy mutant telepath who can transform her skin into diamonds. She is an X-Men comics regular but was not featured in the movies.

Maybe four is two many. Maybe if you guys just combined two of your ideas...

Yeah, dream on.

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