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Previously on X-Men

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Previously on X-Men

Post by Cable » 23 Jun 2020, 06:46

I wasn't sure if this should go in the tv section since it is about X-Men The Animated Series but ultimately it is a book. I thought it would be a nice compliment to the thread over there currently doing a rewatch of the series. Previously on X-Men is a book written by Eric Lewald, who was the showrunner for all 5 seasons, about the behind-the-scenes creation of the series. If anyone else would like to get the book and read along to add comments feel free. I will put the points I find interesting in spoilers tags so anyone who does not have the book can join in the discussion. If you want to read and haven't yet, you really should skip the spoilers. I will note this book was made back when Disney was not keen on the Fox properties and thus is unauthorized (as you can tell by the lame cover art :P ). It is a small press book; I couldn't even find it on Barnes and Noble. Though the hardcover copy I got from Amazon came signed by Eric and I thought that was very cool. But anyways, now that Disney owns Fox they have approved an authorized version that will release in October and that gets to use all the official artwork. I just got this one while others may want to wait for the new improved version.

I have already read through the first five chapters which detailed the initial conception of the show through to its ultimate greenlight for production. I took some extensive notes so this will be rather long lol:
Spoiler: show
*Lewald wholly credits the existence of the show to Margaret Loesch, who was in charge of Fox Kids Network. The show was the baby of Fox Kids; Graz Productions and Saban made the show but it was given to them, not the other way around. Loesch had worked for Marvel Productions in the 80s where she and Stan Lee pitched X-Men to the big three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). Loesch believed X-Men was likely to succeed because it was about disenfranchised teenagers who were discriminated against for being odd or different, something that would be very relatable. However after Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Incredible Hulk cartoons were considered failures, the networks did not want Marvel shows. One female exec (whom Loesch won't name) told her that comics are only for nerdy boys. Loesch and Stan gave up on the idea.

Then in the 90s new network Fox starts up and Loesch is hired. She suggests to them that the other networks have gone after girls with 'softer, funnier' properties and they have a chance to do something different. She literally stakes her career on X-Men: TAS, saying she will leave the network if it fails. It is approved with this condition and her plan is to do X-Men, then Spider-Man, then Silver Surfer (the first two indeed are successful, for whatever reason the third doesn't happen). It is mentioned Loesch also made her X-Men pitch to the execs at Fox who make movies, and obviously they listened.

* The new Fox Kids Network needed shows and X-Men: TAS had a very short production window. He notes that while Batman: TAS had a year of prep time, X-Men had only weeks. (The meeting in which the show was officially approved was in February 1992. The first episode would air in October of that year).

*When looking at material for the show, only 1975-1992 stuff was considered. The 60s stories were too outdated. Lewald notes that at the time there was basically no internet and few comic book compilations. Lewald was not an X-Men fan coming into production and not familiar with the comics. The only way he could look at the comics was to borrow issues from people that had them. With a week's notice to Marvel though they would do a black-and-white photocopy of a few issues and send them via regular mail. Lewald ended up using a role-playing supplement (Uncanny X-Men Special handbook for Marvel Super Heroes) to look through descriptions of the characters and for a layout of the mansion and the Blackbird. Larry Houston (see below) also gave him a photocopied Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. So Lewald did not have knowledge of specific issues, he just looked for interesting characters and moments.

*The main crew behind the initial creation of the show:
Previously mentioned is Margaret Loesch. She ran the whole Fox Kids Network while her deputy who had helped her fight for the show and would be the actual overseer at Fox was Sidney Iwanter.

The main producer on the design side was Will Meugniot. He would be the one who would fight for story decisions against both Marvel or the network. He also supervised the character designs and co-designed the title sequence and set the general tone of the series. He had been a fan of Marvel since the 60s and had been a major figure behind creation of the previous failed Pryde of the X-Men pilot.

The main producer on the director side was Larry Houston (for those interested in diversity in the production, Houston is African-American.) Houston was the biggest X-Men fan of everyone involved and was present for the first four of the five seasons. He oversaw many of the storyboards and would be the one to layer in details and Easter Eggs for fans.

As mentioned showrunner was Eric Lewald, author of this book.

The head writers were Mark and Michael Eden. Mark Eden and Lewald wrote the story arc of the first 13 episodes and Michael joined them for season 2. Between the two brothers they have 19 credited scripts and would have had more but after season 2 they left to develop the show ExoSquad.

On the Marvel side the two that were involved were Joe Calamari, Marvel's exec in charge of TV and movies. He would be Marvel's eyes and ears on the show. Also advising was X-Men group editor Bob Harras, who provided encyclopedic knowledge to Lewald when he had questions.

*Lewald describes the keys to success that they initially laid out. The first was to not 'write down' aka dumb down content for kids. A running joke among the creators was that network executives would insist if they tried to do Bambi that Bambi's mother can't die. Which obviously is the significant moment for one of the most beloved children's movies of all time. The fact that X-Men TAS ended up being popular with every age demographic surprised the execs.
The second was to not pander. During the late 80s around the release of Crocodile Dundee there was a big fad of Australian content (Quigby Down Under, Rescuers Down Under, etc) which is why in Pryde of the X-Men they had tried to make Wolverine Australian. The execs were nervous that X-Men TAS did not appear to be toy-based like many kids shows but rather character-based. A serious suggestion was made that the X-Men on the show wear X-Men pajamas and use X-Men walkie-talkies as these could be merchandise. Another suggestion for the format of the show was that the X-Men ride around in a van solving mysteries since this was a proven concept. Lewald insisted they remain true to the source material and establish a core theme for the show.
Another thing they wanted to do is "out" the X-Men, meaning have them in contact with normal people. It was intentional that episode one opened with people seeing mutants on the news. Lewald says this making the X-Men more public was the one thing they decided to do differently from the books at the time.
Another key was to establish believable vulnerability. This is why the team would often be broken up to individuals or pairs, and why characters were examined for traits that would reveal personal issues. The team was always to be matched by their enemies but should never be in jeopardy due to their own stupidity.
They also really wanted to tell personal stories. Those in trouble were often made to be those whom a member of the X-Men deeply cared about. The stories were about relationships more than fights.

*Lewald next goes into his creation of the series bible. He excerpts a passage on what makes an X-Men story and it is very on-point imo. Notably he writes in this initial document that there are no plans to have the X-Men go to space. Also Xavier's is to be treated more as a research center than an actual school. For the season opener they used Meugniot's basic idea from Pryde of the X-Men but Marvel requested that they use Jubilee instead of Shadowcat. Also in the original draft that he excerpts Thunderbird is the character that dies and not Morph. Also I don't know if this was ever directly mentioned, but the script says Jubilee is 13.
Lewald says he could always tell when a writer assigned to an episode was an actual X-Men fan because they would try to cram in way too many characters. He says Days of Future Past was the only direct adaptation (though they did tweak it to feature modern characters) that they did in the first two seasons and it was done so at the suggestion of Harras and Houston.

*With the opening two episodes and the concluding episodes known plus the two for DOFP, they had eight more to fill. They used these to highlight individual characters, including being sure to introduce the big villains like Magneto, Apocalypse, and Juggernaut. The core team of characters evolved with the needs of the writers. He shows the initial document that laid out the characters and they are listed as follows:
A-Team, characters that are to appear in almost all episodes: Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, and Gambit
B-Team, characters that should be featured when they can be fit in: Xavier, Colossus, Beast, Bishop, and Cable
Others: Archangel, Jean Grey, Iceman, Nightcrawler, etc

The A-Team was a combination of who Marvel wanted to showcase, who the network thought would be kid-friendly, and who producers wanted to work with. Obviously the line-up would change as Xavier, Jean, and Beast ended up as core members and he explains why: Xavier was found to be crucial as the spokesperson for why X-Men need to exist and was relatable in how much he cared for his students. Jean Grey became an emotional core to whom the other characters would bring their issues. She had a special relationship with all of them and they would listen to her. And Beast was Mark Eden's favorite as writers like words and thinking that they are smart and Beast allowed them to have fun when writing. As for villains on the show, obviously powers and popularity were important but more significant they considered the individual characters and their relationships to the heroes. On costumes it was noted they needed to animate well and thus be somewhat simplified. Jim Lee's designs fit this and so were adapted for the show. When large numbers of background characters needed to be used the writers did not know who should be featured and so just wrote them to be generic. Starting with episode 7 (the Genosha one) Houston began having cameo characters inserted into these backgrounds, though Marvel had to be asked to approve them all.

*The process for story ideas was Lewald would pitch them to Iwanter at Fox, Meugniot and Houston at Graz, and Calamari and Harras at Marvel (he mentioned Saban too but that they didn't seem to care what the plots were). Ultimately the show featured 59 stories (some were multi-part) and he says this came out of 300 pitches that he sent. The scripts for X-Men TAS were unusually detailed. Lewald mentions another show he would work on, Young Hercules, would average 20-page scripts aka about a page per minute of the show. X-Men TAS averaged 42 pages per script. This is because the writers were encouraged to detail the action and the emotional state of the characters during the sequences rather than just leave it vague for the animators. The action was also meant to be intense. Meugniot did storyboards for Batman TAS as well and noted for that series there would be 280-300 shots per show. In X-Men TAS there was 400-500.

*Lewald recounts that when writers had already been assigned to scripts and were working to get it done, he received a memo from a senior Marvel Comics editor (he will not name who) who had seen the story ideas, and this person trashed the show in detail. Meugniot told Lewald to ignore it and that he would deal with it. What exactly this editor said isn't shown but Lewald includes a response to it that he wrote and it is clear from it that a main complaint was that the show opens with the Sentinels story. It appears this editor was suggesting that not showcasing Magneto first, and having Sentinels be a later response to him, made it look like the US government were the bad guys of the show. Lewald insisted the Sentinels needed to come in at the start because this metaphor for human anxiety establishes why there needs to be the X-Men. It would be noted that a small group is what perverted the Sentinel program, but ultimately human repression was to be emphasized over mutant terrorists. This would allow the show to avoid having the X-Men just be police with a villain of the week format.
More to come as I read Chapter 6!
Best Comics of Week 39

Best X-Comic: Juggernaut #1 by Fabian Nicieza (1) and Ron Garney (1)
Best Non-X Comic: Immortal She-Hulk #1 by Al Ewing (9) and Jon Davis-Hunt (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic of the week this year

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Spectral Knight » 23 Jun 2020, 10:11

Sounds a very interesting read - quick question on the Silver Surfer reference - a cartoon with him did follow in the 90s - was this a completely separate endeavour and was Margaret Loesch not involved in that one? It's on my Disney+ watchlist to watch next after X-Men, only because I must have completely missed this show on the first time run.

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Cable » 23 Jun 2020, 14:04

Spectral Knight wrote:
23 Jun 2020, 10:11
Sounds a very interesting read - quick question on the Silver Surfer reference - a cartoon with him did follow in the 90s - was this a completely separate endeavour and was Margaret Loesch not involved in that one? It's on my Disney+ watchlist to watch next after X-Men, only because I must have completely missed this show on the first time run.
Oh wow I missed that too. It was unclear from the book (The direct quote from Loesch is: "'And after that, I want to do Silver Surfer.' Which was a favorite of mine, but it didn't work. But the other two did, and in implementing that strategy, what I was trying to do was create a new genre of action-adventure that wasn't the typical toy-based series and wasn't silly.") She left Fox Kids in 1997 and that cartoon came out in 1998 but I would guess it was made from her suggestion.
Best Comics of Week 39

Best X-Comic: Juggernaut #1 by Fabian Nicieza (1) and Ron Garney (1)
Best Non-X Comic: Immortal She-Hulk #1 by Al Ewing (9) and Jon Davis-Hunt (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic of the week this year

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Spectral Knight » 23 Jun 2020, 14:41

Yeah, apparently Silver Surfer did pretty poorly on ratings though stylistically is meant to be very, very high quality. I might start a watch-along thread when I start that series - only the one season so shouldn't be as big a time investment as XM:TAS.

I've just pre-ordered the authorised version for some light reading in October.

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by medium13 » 24 Jun 2020, 16:19

This is so dramatic, I need to read it. I love the descriptions of merchandizing and how absurd the ideas are around this. Imagine the people sitting around the conference table, "They should be in X-Pajamas!" Gargoyles had a similar issue where the execs wanted to branch into that merch.

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Cable » 29 Jun 2020, 18:26

Notes from Chapters 6 - 9 detailing some specifics about the production from the casting to the title sequence
Spoiler: show
*They ran into the problem of Broadcasting Standards and Practices that made it hard to write a dramatic show. Iwanter wanted to push the boundaries of the kid-rules and fortunately the person who would have to make S&P decisions, Avery Cobern, had reviewed more adult content at Fox such as the Simpsons and was open to being persuaded when Lewald would make the case for ideas. A couple specific questions he mentions her asking are "Can we show a city in flames a week after the LA riots?" and "Can we show Wolverine kneeling in a church?" (!?) Punching and blood was of course not allowed. The Sentinels were useful as they could be damaged and destroyed in a way people couldn't. He knew they needed Morph to die in the beginning to establish stakes. Cobern eventually agreed after Lewald argued it was to get the audience to feel closer to the X-Men that cared for Morph and that it would be done with dignity.

*On voice acting, Lewald sent suggestions to casting as to what he thought they should be looking for. They are as follows:
Xavier: Leonard Nimoy
Wolverine: Clint Eastwood but deeper; Robert Mitchum
Cyclops: young Robert Stack; young William Holden; young Robert Redford
Jubilee: Valley Girl; Ally Sheedy on speed
Storm: deep-voiced, British-African; Amanda Donohoe; the Jamaican nurse on Trapper John MD
Rogue: soft sultry Deep South; Ava Gardner (not exaggeratedly drawling or sing-songy)
Gambit: Cajun, mysterious, sexy
Jean Grey: Donna Reed
Colossus: sweet, strong, deep Russian
Cable: William Smith, Robert Mitchum
Senator Kelly: pompous Ted Kennedy (hah!)
Henry Gyrich: terse, bureaucratic
Bolivar Trask: slight Latin American accent
Magneto: John Vernon, evil Charlton Heston

When he got back the voice performance tapes he said they were so bad as to be show-destroying. They were professional voice actors (he doesn't say who but mentions some worked on the cartoon Beetlejuice) but were used to doing kiddie-shows and did not adjust for the drama they were going for. There was no passion in it. Iwanter, Houston, and Calamari had to fly to Canada to try to fix things. Iwanter asked them to use people from the Toronto theater scene. The actors who ended up playing Professor X and Magneto (Cedric Smith and David Hemblen) were Shakespearan actors. Thanks to casting director Karen Goora and voice director Dan Hennessey they finally got the cast right.
He mentions some of the cast were immediate yeses when heard, and specifically says Wolverine and Rogue. He notes Iwanter made the actors do multiple takes though which was unheard of in the kid show industry that wanted to crank stuff out fast and always went with the first or second read. The two part pilot ended up being recorded four times.
There are pictures and details of all the principal cast members. Some with interesting notes:
Wolverine: Cathal "Cal" Dodd, was a jazz singer before being cast. Can look up his work to hear Wolverine sing jazz songs. His ability to know how to work a mic allowed him to create the distinctive Wolverine growl
Rogue: Lenore Zann was born in Australia but moved to Canada as a child. She is now a Member of Parliament in Canada for Nova Scotia.
Cyclops: Believe it or not but Norm Spencer was considered the funniest actor by everyone. He was the voice of Chrysler Motors in Canada until he was replaced by Cal Dodd (dang you Wolverine!)
Jean Grey: Catherine Disher was actually married to Cedric Smith who played Professor X; their child was born during season one.
Beast: George Buza resembles his character, being massive in size but thoughtful. He is the only cast member from X-Men TAS to be in the X-Men movie; he played the truck driver in an early attack scene.
Storm: Alison Sealy-Smith. Was born in Barbados. She replaced two other women that had previously recorded Storm for the whole first season.
Jubilee: Alyson Court was indeed a teen, being 18 when she played Jubilee. She had acting credits before though: at age 11 she played Malani on Ewoks and at age 15 she played Lydia on the Emmy-winning Beetlejuice cartoon.
Mystique: Jennifer Dale's most important character but she played numerous others on the show too
Cable: Lawrence Bayne narrowly missed out on being Wolverine to Cal Dodd. He also did other voices though, portraying Captain America, Erik the Red, and Fabian Cortez.
Nightcrawler: Adrian Hough was the son of German-American immigrants
Apocalypse: John Colicos sadly died in 2000. He notably played the first ever Klingon seen on Star Trek, the character Kor.

*A month after voice work was complete, the storyboards came in for the opening two-parter. There were 900 pages for a total of 2700 images. Unfortunately for the 44 minutes they had to fill, only 600 pages could be used. Meugniot and Houston had worked six weeks on the storyboards, and work from two of those weeks would be tossed. They asked Fox for a three-part opener instead but were refused. Lewald really regrets this mistake and the cuts that had to be made, saying what gets dropped are the fun moments, the quirks, and character bits, so only plot remains.

*Marvel sent them a merchandise catalog with stuff they wanted plugged in the show. One person at Marvel (who Meugniot won't name) said they had made a deal with McDonald's in Australia for a toy giveaway featuring godawful X-Men vehicles with giant-heads and poor designs and insisted these must be featured in every episode. Meugniot refused and told his boss Joe Graziano to go ahead and fire him and he will just do the other show he was working on at the time (Conan the Barbarian) or he could fire him from that too because he isn't giving in to any pandering. Graziano backed him up and said no to Marvel. Avi Arad, who was head of Marvel's toys, told Meugniot he could at least feature walkie-talkies they were making that had Cyclops and Wolverine's heads on them. Meugniot asked Avi Arad if he uses a walkie-talkie that has Avi Arad's head on it. He also refused to have X-Men drapes hanging in the mansion or to have the X-Men wear X-Men pajamas.

*Lewald discusses having to keep Stan Lee out of the show after he continuously tries to aggressively insert himself. Stan Lee is an executive producer on the show but Lewald was told this was just a gesture of respect. Stan Lee had not had a part in making the comics for 15 years. The show was to match the 1992 comics and Stan Lee hated them. Len Wein recounts to Lewald that he had the same problem when he and Claremont were doing X-Men comics, Lee wanted everything the same as when he was making them. Margaret Loesch is convinced by Stan Lee to allow him to be the on-air host of X-Men TAS, doing live-action segments and narration. Iwanter, Lewald, and Harras are all against this and Meugniot fights with Loesch and gets it cancelled. Stan Lee then tries to change storyboards after production is already in progress. He does not know most of the characters and wants the show to be 'younger and funnier'. He sends Lewald eight pages of notes on episode one, detailing 130 changes; this is despite the fact it would take a month to redo the scenes and the voice work would have to be re-recorded. Loesch tells Lewald he must accommodate Lee. Lewald goes through the notes and implements the small changes he thinks are possible (he mentions changing references to Magnus to Magneto and using Wolverine instead of Logan) but rejects larger impractical ones and writes a report as to why it can't be done. He is concerned the show will miss its September air-date or have to rush through bad animation. Lewald then gets called into a big meeting with Loesch's boss at the network, Jamie Kellner, alongside Iwanter and Meugniot. Stan Lee is there to yell at them for not doing all the changes he requested. The creators of X-Men TAS realize the show is on the line and while Lewald has never met Kellner before he stands his ground and makes the case to him as to why he can't make the cartoon in the style of 1963 and says they can just give the show to Lee to run if they want. Fortunately this works and Lewald receives fewer notes from Stan each episode until by episode ten he no longer tries. With the changes they did make Lee ended up costing them two more weeks of production and tens of thousands of dollars.

*Originally there was going to be narration over the opening sequence. Stan Lee wrote a draft and it isn't reproduced here but Lewald mentions it talked about "atomic-testing","frightening powers","new breed of people", "inhumans" and didn't mention the X-Men and their quest until the last sentence. Lewald didn't like it and tried his own in Professor X's voice (I won't type it all but it is in the book in full). Iwanter, Meugniot, and Houston were all against having any narration and instead believed it should instead be an action sequence. Houston drew up an initial version but it featured characters that weren't even in season 1 and Fox complained there were already too many characters in the show as it is. Meugniot did an altered version and then Houston ran with it. Basically the sequence up until Cyclops's eyeballs is Meugniot and after that is Houston. They note Marvel would not provide them with individual character logos so they had to make them up themselves.

*For the music over the opening sequence, Saban originally sent them "little kid" music. Meugniot and Iwanter rejected it and then rejected new versions ten more times. It is mentioned the length of time getting things right was concerning them because the debut of Batman TAS soon was on their mind. But in comparison, Iwanter said Batman would be cool jazz but X-Men was to be garage band. In the end it took 20 songs before they settled on the final version. Eventual composer Ron Wasserman came in halfway through the process. Ron Cannon, who was in charge of royalty collections, gave Wasserman the bassline from a song his own band did. Wasserman recalls getting endless notes like "add more drums" and "add a gong". The song ended up 120 tracks deep and he says afterwards he despised anything to do with it. Also Lewald notes the song was altered in season 5 but he has no idea why.

*There is then in the book a literal shot-for-shot breakdown for the 75 second opening sequence. The only real interesting things to note are that in some parts core cast members are missing because as mentioned before they had not yet been considered the A team (Xavier and Beast are not in the opening shot of the Blackbird nor in the shot about 40 seconds in where they all run by as X-Men flashes across the screen); also there has been fan speculation about who the green-suited bald man is among the charging villains. Lewald confirms that this character was merely a mistake by animation studio AKOM that they refused to fix. It isn't anybody and he isn't sure who ever was supposed to be there.
Next up is chapter 10, detailing the time between finishing production design and waiting for the show to actually air
Best Comics of Week 39

Best X-Comic: Juggernaut #1 by Fabian Nicieza (1) and Ron Garney (1)
Best Non-X Comic: Immortal She-Hulk #1 by Al Ewing (9) and Jon Davis-Hunt (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic of the week this year

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Cable » 05 Jul 2020, 19:06

Notes for Chapters 10-12
Spoiler: show
After 4 weeks of initial planning, 13 scripts were to be completed in 13 weeks. It actually took them 18 weeks, but they finished in July 1992. He notes that it is stressful that in animation from locked storyboards and finished VO to actual viewable episodes it takes four months. At that point it is too late to make anything but superficial changes for the entire season. If there is anything not working, they can't change it until the next season. Therefore everything had to be right before writing was finished and he received endless notes from everyone involved. He gives examples and some are interesting such as a request that they overspent on voice acting for an episode so perhaps the number of speaking parts could be reduced in another episode. After the show becomes a hit he said notes received decrease by 80%. But that first year only 13 episodes were ordered and they were done. In modern television he says it would be crazy to not lock in employee contracts for possible future seasons, but this was not done on X-Men TAS. When their part was finished on the first season, all talent was released. Universal actually approached Lewald, Meugniot, and the Edens to do a show called ExoSquad which had been ordered for a huge 52 episodes. Lewald only committed to doing 13 because he wanted to come back for X-Men if it got renewed (which obviously it was). Will Meugniot would not return to X-Men for season 2 though and was replaced by Scott Thomas.

The first animation came back in summer of 92 and Lewald did not see it but was told it was absolutely terrible. They seem to suggest the Korean studio AKOM had farmed it out to some inferior Chinese company. The creators of the show wanted it redone but Haim Saban refused to put any more money into it. Marvel Comics ultimately made the decision to save the show: Avi Arad said Marvel would give up all its licensing fees for the first season, hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit, in order to pay for redoing the animation. Meugniot went to Korea to oversee the new animation and make sure it was good.

This delay meant there was no way to make the September release date. To give everyone time, Loesch pushed back the season premiere all the way to January. This would be incredibly costly and angered all the affiliate stations that would be stuck playing re-runs of shows. She sold this pitch by saying that other networks would themselves be in re-runs at the time X-Men came out, allowing it to be a smash success going right into February sweeps. She further built hype by having a "sneak preview" of the two-part opener in primetime in October/November. She notes that airing it in this primetime slot did receive the numbers they wanted from kids but did not from adults which made it harder for her to pitch X-Men to the movie department, though they eventually did produce the films.

X-Men TAS when it premiered in 1993 of course became the #1 show on Saturday mornings across all four networks. In January 1993 they receive word that 13 more episodes are ordered. He notes how helpful the success of the show was to Marvel, making a money-printing machine for them when they were headed toward their 1996 bankruptcy. Amazingly though Saban actually tried to cut Lewald's salary for season 2! And Saban did in fact cut script fees for writers by $500 each. Yet there could be no delays this time, season 2 had to premiere in September 1993.

Storywise the initial plan was to have Scott and Jean have a baby with Jean getting progressively more pregnant throughout season 2. Morph was also of course supposed to stay dead but Iwanter called to say their surveys showed that after the first six episodes younger viewers said their favorite character was Morph! A request was made to bring him back and while the creative staff hated the decision they ultimately went along with it because it worked with the Sinister plot they came up with to annul the marriage once the pregnancy idea had been discarded. Overall though Fox said that a 13-episode arc was not allowed; the production delays of the first season scared them too much. This was why Lewald came up with the Savage Land sequences: it allowed them to have a continuing story even if the episodes had to be contained. The Savage Land bits were produced first so they would be ready no matter what and writers for the episodes were told to just leave a gap to fit them in. He really liked that this arc would give private time to the two leading conflicting voices among mutants and also be able to show what X-Men could do without their leader.

In late spring 1993 the writing for season 2 was not even finished when an order came down for 39 more episodes. While obviously good news this was also stressful because three more seasons would have to be done with no time to take a break and reassess. Lewald includes the notes he took at an August story meeting to plot out all these episodes. They were required to have an episode ready to go every ten days beginning in September 1993. He noted a Morlock two-parter must be top priority and ready for May sweeps the next year, and there must be a nightmare sequence by Xavier in it to set up a coming five-parter. This would of course be the Phoenix Saga based on comic issues 94-110 which must be ready for Fall 1994 and he lists 13 elements for the story that should be included. They knew they would be doing the five-part Phoenix adaptation and a four-part Dark Phoenix one as well, which left 30 other episodes to fill out. And indeed his story notes have 29 plot points that they would like to feature (didn't really want to type these all out lol, anyone can ask if they are curious about specifics)

Around the writing of episode 50 Iwanter approached Lewald about what the finale for the series would be (this is in reference to the story that would become Beyond Good and Evil). Lewald felt it would be right if the original head writers, the Edens brothers, came back to plot the final story with him and they did although they remain uncredited. They couldn't find an appropriate story from the comics but they felt it must be something more than just a city at stake, it had to be huge. Apocalypse was the natural villain for this. Iwanter wanted galactic spectacle but the writers felt it was important to have a heartfelt goodbye. Four or five X-Men would leave the team with perhaps one death. After these scripts were done, 160 total pages, Fox then decided to order six more episodes...so it did not end up as the finale after all. Lewald discloses what would have happened if this was the end:
Professor Xavier would say they are 'graduated' and leave to form a new school (Generation X).
Jubilee would go with him to join Gen X.
Scott and Jean would leave to start their family.
In different drafts Storm either also leaves or dies in the battle.
Bishop and Shard are trapped in the present but join the X-Men
Angel is convinced by Psylocke to use his wealth to help mutants and they both join the X-Men.
Lewald says there were no plans to continue with the new team as it was understood the show was over.
Notes for Chapter 13 coming soon!
Best Comics of Week 39

Best X-Comic: Juggernaut #1 by Fabian Nicieza (1) and Ron Garney (1)
Best Non-X Comic: Immortal She-Hulk #1 by Al Ewing (9) and Jon Davis-Hunt (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic of the week this year

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by fyrefyst » 06 Jul 2020, 02:43

Cable your reviews have made me need to get this book. Thank a lot more of my money spent.

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Magik84 » 08 Jul 2020, 21:17

I got this book a while back, it was a really interesting read. The whole Storm voice actress debacle showed how oblivious they were at first at casting black actress for the role, which is funny considering the recent debates on voice acting going on right now.
X-Editorial Draft: Prodigy, Vange Whedon, lil' Iceman, Wallflower, Cecelia Reyes, Mimic, U-Go Girl, Doc Samson, Nature Girl

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Cable » 10 Jul 2020, 18:57

Notes on chapters 13-14!
Spoiler: show
After the ordering of six more episodes came a final order for five more. By this point Houston was gone and Saban was again pushing for ever cheaper animation which is why there is a decline. Still Lewald values some of the episodes: he mentions Storm Front as an example he uses in writing classes. Also he reflects with Len Wein on the Captain America episode (where Wein laments that they colored Cap with red trunks when they should be blue). Lewald mentions them having to ask Marvel for special permission because there were always complications with different studios owning different rights.

Lewald says there are 76 episodes but actually 77 were written. One was never made because too many people decided it just wasn't working.

The reason Thunderbird wasn't used was because of recognizing the problematic nature of killing off the only Native American character in the first episode. They chose Changeling instead, but lawyers told them that DC Comics had a character with the same name and even though the Marvel character came first they shouldn't risk the legal trouble. Thus they had to rename him Morph.

Also discusses an unfortunate situation in which Saban, again looking for cost-cutting, farmed out the "Out of the Past" third season opener to Philippine Animation Studio Inc. They worked really hard to make it look good, though Lewald says you can spot the stylistic difference if you try, but they tried a little too hard when they took the er...'flat' character design they were given of Lady Deathstrike and instead animated her with the prominent breasts she has in the comics. And by animate I mean to say they gave her boobs full jiggly movement. This of course could not be shown on children's television but remakes would have been terribly costly so they were simply given a line that they must color in so that she looks like she has a white shirt on under it. PASI didn't get to do any more episodes.

Lewald addresses the eternal question of why episodes were shown out of order. He uses the example of "No Mutant an Island" and "Longshot." Saban, in what you may be detecting is a trend, farmed these two out to a cheaper animation studio called Hung Ying. What came back was considered to be unusable. Stephanie Graziano (of Graz Entertainment) had to fly to Korea to make sure everything got fixed. This caused these episodes to be delayed for two years! The only assurances Lewald received was that multi-parters would be shown in the order written. Otherwise other considerations (he mentions episodes that look better or characters that they want to push) might change when the network chose to air certain episodes regardless of what the creative team had intended.

He then talks about the two extra episodes, aka the guest appearances on Spider-Man the Animated Series! Because there were always restrictions on who Marvel would allow to appear on X-Men TAS, he was surprised they wanted to do this crossover. When he worked with the Spider-Man TAS crew he learned that their production was even more troubled than X-Men TAS had ever been. They had undergone a large amount of creative differences and turnover until by season 2 (when the X-Men episodes would appear) the remaining story editor John Semper had resorted to having five people sit in a room together and literally go over every single line of dialogue and action and unanimously agree on them one at a time: these five people were himself, Arad, Stan Lee, director Bob Richardson, and Iwanter. Lewald sat in on the two meetings for the X-Men episodes and each meeting took nine hours. Lewald was not officially credited for his work on the X-Men bits but he was immortalized in that you will notice the two episodes contain a minor villain named...Lewald!

He then gives an explanation of the story process for a single episode so you can see how it comes together from premise to outline to script. The episode he chooses is Nightcrawler. The initial idea is to have Nightcrawler's faith touch a character, and bitter world-weary Wolverine was chosen as the ideal candidate. Lewald specifically chose writer Len Uhley to do the script, someone he knew personally and who having previously did a great job on the Iceman intro episode Cold Comfort. Originally the outline was for a more traditional action-oriented episode but Iwanter gave them the encouragement that they could focus more on God in the story, something Uhley didn't think he would be allowed to do. Lewald notes Cobern's Standards and Practices notes were actually "light" (he had 50 episodes of good will built up by this point) but some of the complaints were concern that Nightcrawler not be made to look too much like the actual devil, that a villager has a crossbow and that should be removed, and that a description of Gambit having a "concussion" is too violent (note he got this injury from a tree...). He then discusses the story notes he got from Marvel, which he doesn't HAVE to accept but that he always tried to consider. Amusingly Harras and Calamari give him opposite reactions: Harras says that Wolverine's struggle with faith is not believable because his experiences in Japan already show him to have a spiritual side. Calamari instead says Wolverine wouldn't take the spirituality seriously and would more likely wisecrack with Nightcrawler. Harras also hated the casual opening where the X-Men are on vacation and just happen to stumble into a conflict. Lewald has a typed response to all this that I won't reproduce. Also note Lewald seems to be responding to Harras criticism in this statement when he says they have been using Cerebro as a "mental amplifier" and not just a mutant detector and inquires as to whether this was incorrect.

Special instructions to the artists on the episode are also shown. He notes that while the setting in Germany/Austria means that the monastic order is likely Lutheran or Roman Catholic, the network cannot be shown promoting a religious denomination over another and so all specifically Christian objects should be avoided. Stained glass windows can be shown but should have symmetrical patterns and no New Testament scenes. The chapel altar shot can include the edge of a plain cross but there should be no impaled palms or thorny crowns going on. The Adam and Eve tapestry is the only recognizable religious content that is to appear. Also it should be clear the church is accidentally burned down and the people's reaction is of horror. There is also clear instruction on the Nightcrawler teleporting effect and they would please fans to try to make it sound like a "BAMF". He notes that director Houston gives the assignment to storyboard artist Frank Squillace who really wanted to do this episode, and who put lots of work into it to the point of even inking the boards and that Houston had to make almost no changes to what appears in the final episode.
Next up is a big chapter 15 where he comments on literally every episode.
Best Comics of Week 39

Best X-Comic: Juggernaut #1 by Fabian Nicieza (1) and Ron Garney (1)
Best Non-X Comic: Immortal She-Hulk #1 by Al Ewing (9) and Jon Davis-Hunt (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic of the week this year

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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by Cable » 16 Jul 2020, 18:27

Notes on chapter 15
Spoiler: show
In this chapter Lewald comments on literally every episode. Over in the thread about the show in the TV section of the forums there is already a lot of good breakdowns for the episodes so I won't go into details for them all but I will write some additional notes when there is something that might be of interest. Note the order presented here is the order the writers did them in and thus the order they were intended to be shown by the creators. This is coming from the showrunner so I would consider it the definitive viewing order.

In regards to credits, Eric Lewald is story editor for every single episode. Larry Houston will be the director for every single episode until season 5 where Frank Squillace will take over

Season 1

1 and 2. Night of the Sentinels
Written by Mark Edens
Lewald wanted natural introductions amid action. Nothing should be explained to characters that already know it. Notice in the first 45 seconds we see a rampaging mutant (Sabretooth), scared humans, government action, and the plight of a mutant affected by this in Jubilee torn from her family. In the next scene five main characters are introduced and the season big bad Sentinels. By the time Jubilee asks why X-Men exist at the end it will have all been witnessed for the viewer. He also notes that the network required Morph's death to happen off-screen but that it actually works best that way. The death was not about exploiting violence to get attention, it was about showing real consequences and the shared heartbreak that would bind the team together. The final big battle is purposefully held off until all the X-Men can be seen grieving, and then it is shown through the guilt-riddled eyes of Wolverine.

3. Enter Magneto
Written by Jim Carlson and Terrence McDonnell
The first two-parter was to show the human challenge to mutants, the next two-parter is to show challenge from fellow mutants in introducing Magneto and Sabretooth. In the story meetings for this he mentions they discussed the philosophies of Martin Luther King vs Malcolm X in relation to Xavier vs Magneto. For Sabretooth though he is meant to represent a victim of abuse who just has rage for the human-dominated world. Also the actions of Magneto here are purposefully meant to set up the Senator Kelly storyline.

4. Deadly Reunions
Written by Don Glut
The Easter Eggs in Sabretooth's mind are pointed out (Deadpool and Omega Red for example). There is also show's only reference to "Homo Superior," a phrase that Lewald didn't like but was put in as one of Stan Lee's requested story notes. Magneto's line "Without chemicals, life would be impossible" is from an old Monsanto ad. Magneto's Holocaust origin was updated so it would be more modern. Sabretooth slashing Wolverine was the only time blood was ever allowed on the show. Wolverine's curse "egg-sucking gutter trash" is copied from the movie The Wild Bunch.

5. Captive Hearts
Written by Marty Isenberg and Robert Skir
They approached this with the question of how to reveal something about the character that they knew but viewers didn't. Doing an Africa story was considered too exotic for what they wanted to be a grounded season 1 (they would do that in season 2's ep. 16) so they focused on Storm's claustophobia instead. The Morlocks were an obvious choice and writer Bob Skir is a big X-Men fan and so insisted they use Callisto. They also set up the infamous Logan, Scott, and Jean love triangle here for the first time. The final fight between two women was an intentional rejection of what was thought had to be boys' tv.

6. Cold Vengeance
Written by Michael Edens

7. Slave Island
Written by Mark Edens

8. Unstoppable Juggernaut
Written by Julianne Klemm
This episode was done because they wanted Juggernaut introduced due to the drama of him as Xavier's brother and he is awesome as a massive (in size) villain. There was a question though of how he really fit into the season arc. Lewald is very critical of this episode. By introducing both Juggernaut and Colossus it didn't give either enough time. There was too much spectacle and forced humor in the episode rather than character moments. The X-Men don't know who destroyed the mansion and yet moments later know all their enemy's weaknesses. The "team must work together" theme has been done to death and this is a lazy villain-of-the-week type story. Juggernaut's motivation just kind of fades away by the end. The destruction of the mansion was a great opener, but overall he considers this the weakest episode of the first two seasons.

9. The Cure
Written by Mark Edens
This episode allowed them to introduce classic X-Man Angel and also iconic villain Apocalypse into the next episode. The premise of this episode is because they directly wanted to do a story on the complicated idea of "passing" for something you are not. Rogue was a natural choice for the dilemma of the cure because she is the strongest and yet has the biggest flaw. The cure being not real served to enhance the villainy of Apocalypse.

10. Come the Apocalypse
Written by Michael Edens

11-12. Days of Future Past
Part 1 Written by Julia Lewald
Part 2 Written by Marty Isenberg and Bob Skir
He notes this story is kind of a digression from the season's arc but it fits because of Nimrod the future Sentinel. Their concern in adapting the comic was the story would have to be bigger to fill 44 minutes of screen time, would have to have a cliffhanger halfway through to set up the next episode, and would need to use the current cast (no Kitty Pryde). They felt having a physical time-traveler to be a simpler solution and using a non-X-Man allowed for the paranoia that one of the team members is the traitor. Originally they planned on four different characters to be suspects but there wasn't enough time so they focused on Gambit. They intentionally linked the story to the season's plot with Apocalypse and they added Nimrod because it would add an element of urgency and uncertainty as to whether Bishop would succeed. (Note he also talks at length about the feature film's own adaptation of the story where he knocks it because it doesn't quite make sense why they wouldn't just focus on protecting Mystique and her DNA regardless of whether she kills Kelly).

13. Final Decision
Written by Mark Edens
The wording of the title is meant to purposefully resemble "final solution." The closing scene with Mr. Sinister was not originally in the episode and was added right before it aired to hint at season 2.

Season 2

14-15. Til Death Do Us Part
Part 1 Written by Mark Edens
Part 2 Written by Michael Edens
They treated this like a "pilot" for season 2. The first season had ended upbeat so they needed to show there were still challenges to face. Wolverine's personal anger, Mr. Sinister's plot, the Friends of Humanity, Morph's return--these all roll in one after another.

16. Whatever It Takes
Written by Julia Lewald

17. Red Dawn
Written by Francis Moss and Ted Pedersen
The title is obviously an homage to the movie of the same name. Given recent historical events, this was an intentionally topical episode featuring military action amid the crumbling Soviet imperialism that Omega Red symbolizes. Colossus of course was originally meant to be a member of the A-team but ultimately was relegated to guest roles in favor of Jean and Beast.

18. Repo Man
Written by Len Wein
Obviously intentional that they chose the original co-creator of Wolverine to do this story.

19. X-Ternally Yours
Written by Julianne Klemm

20-21. Time Fugitives
Part 1 Written by Michael Edens
Part 2 Written by Elliot Maggin
He notes that replaying earlier scenes with alternate versions is fun, but also allowed them to reuse animation. They always had to be conscious of new characters, locations, and big action scenes they wanted to do and to economize in some places so they would have the budget for those later.

22. A Rogue's Tale
Written by Marty Isenberg and Bob Skir
Bob Skir was one of the biggest X-Men fans among the writers and so knew the convoluted back-story of Rogue. They had him tie it into the ongoing Mystique/Apocalypse plot as well. Note this is the first time the X-communicators are used on the show.

23. Beauty and the Beast
Written by Stephanie Mathison
This episode was inspired by the 1931 movie City Lights.

24. Mojovision
Written by Brooks Wachtel
Looking back Lewald is surprised he let this play out like it did, feeling like he should have featured the X-Men in the 'real world' first before the craziness of Mojo started. But he is glad they were willing to take chances on different ideas.

25-26. Reunion
Part 1 Written by Len Wein
Part 2 Written by Michael Edens

Season 3

27-28. Out of the Past
Part 1 Written by Michael Edens
Part 2 Written by Len Wein
They were now told by Fox there could absolutely not be season long arcs. Multi-parters were their only chance to do connected storytelling. The writers still did what they could get away with, tying this in with the Morlocks from before and setting up the Shi'ar that are coming up. But this effort to keep connecting stories would bite them in the ass when episode 34 gets terribly delayed. The title of this episode is a nod to the Robert Mitchum movie of the same name. The alien emerging from the ship is meant to resemble a scene from the film Forbidden Planet. The waiter that Scott and Jean walk out on is Fox's Sidney Iwanter. Wolverine says in this episode "He doesn't know me very well, does he?" which is a Bugs Bunny catchphrase.

29-33. Phoenix Saga
Parts 1 and 3 Written by Michael Edens
Parts 2, 4, and 5 Written by Mark Edens
Lewald includes story notes that he gave the writers after attending a meeting at Marvel that went over the issues that would be adapted into this story. He notes that Nightcrawler is a character they want on the show but they don't have to use him here as he would need a big introduction. He tells them to drop the grave demons [N'Garai], Havok and Polaris can be dropped too. The execs want the number of voice actors per episode to be kept down. The new vs old X-Men thing doesn't really work for the show but maybe robots could be used. Juggernaut/Black Tom should be dropped or made more relevant to the actual Phoenix plot. He notes Marvel really wants Corsair and the Starjammers in the story. He wants the space fighting stuff -- the Imperial Guard, the Guardians of the Crystal, etc -- to be more closely tied into the Lilandra and Phoenix central story. The Lilandra and Xavier romance needs to be emphasized to heighten the drama. He discusses how the comics had the luxury of slowly unfolding the plot: the first major story event, Jean's sacrifice, doesn't come until four issues into the twelve issue story. Yet that needs to be the first cliffhanger for the show! They focused in on the Xavier, Lilandra, and Jean parts of the story and trimmed the stuff that filled issues month-to-month (Cyclops vs his brother!). Ultimately Lewald considers this five-parter the best work they ever did on X-Men TAS

34. No Mutant Is An Island
Written by Sandy Scesny (actually Dean Stefan)
Clearly meant to follow Phoenix Saga and yet delayed two years for reasons mentioned earlier. When it was eventually aired a recap of Phoenix saga events was not even shown before it and he has no idea why not.

35. Obsession
Written by Adam Gilad

36. Longshot
Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching
Also victim of the same delays episode 34 was. He notes the lines written for Peter Wildman were meant to resemble the rapid delivery of Robin Williams. He also suspects the references to Jurassic Park/Barney did not age well. There is a garbage truck in the episode that has GRAZ on the side, an obvious nod to the production company that made the show.

37. Cold Comfort
Written by Len Uhley

38-39. Savage Land, Strange Heart
Written by Marty Isenberg and Bob Skir
They did this episode because they figured it was a shame to introduce all these characters during the Savage Land story in season 2 without properly showcasing them.

40-43. Dark Phoenix Saga
Part 1 Written by Jan Strnad
Part 2 Written by Steven Levi
Part 3 Written by Larry Parr
Part 4 Written by Brooks Wachtel
The Hellfire Club's name was obviously changed because you can't say that on a kids' show. Their goal was simplified to just going after Phoenix directly rather than any other mutants. He mentions the complicated history of Jean Grey/Phoenix Force and how they just decided to have it always be Jean Grey. Again they tossed any side stories to focus on the core, but had a couple problems. One was that the action of the story doesn't really start until the second half when the Phoenix is actually unleashed. The other was that the Hellfire Club's costumes were totally incongruous with the space stuff. Therefore they made the decision to quickly rush through the Hellfire Club parts. The focus of the story would be the concern of her teammates for Jean. Also in case you need to be told this, Broadcast Standards and Practices would not let them kill 5 billion people.

44. Orphan's End
Written by Doug Booth
He notes that originally they always tried to touch upon what all the characters were doing, but by this point they realized that even just three core X-Men could carry an episode and so sometimes others are just left out

45. Love in Vain
Written by Martha Moran
Lewald notes he regrets that the living spacecraft wasn't set up better. The 'solution' to the problem this episode just comes out of nowhere. Even just 10 seconds of earlier set-up would have improved this one.

46. Juggernaut Returns
Written by Julianne Klemm
The scientist who gets control of the Gem is named after Lewald's brother-in-law. Looking back he also notes the Juggernaut episodes had more humor than usual, perhaps because they had the same writer and that was her preference.

47. A Deal with the Devil
Written by Eric Lewald
As mentioned earlier there were 77 scripts written for X-Men TAS but only 76 used. The unused one was called Bring Me the Head of Charles Xavier! and after six weeks of development and a 40 page script it was eventually shot down by Marvel's Joe Calamari (and Lewald felt Sidney Iwanter disliked it too). Lewald then had to write a new episode himself in a single weekend and this was what came out. He is not happy with it, feeling it is too plot-based without the important character moments, but he was in a crunch.

48-49. Sanctuary
Part 1 Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching
Part 2 Written by Jeff Saylor
He notes the writers approached him with the idea for this (rather than him assigning a pitch as was often the case), Lewald did not read the comics himself. Also btw McDermott and Melching did the most episodes other than the original principal writers the Edens

50. Xavier Remembers
Written by Stephanie Mathison

51. Courage
Written by Michael Edens and Sandy Scesny (actually Dean Stefan)
This episode was meant to resolve the Morph situation once and for all. But it was also explicitly about PTSD and they didn't want an easy "fix." Ultimately they did not continue to use him much because they were used to how the team worked without him, though they were sure to include him in the finale to say goodbye.

52. Secrets, Not Long Buried
Written by Mark Onspaugh
This episode was inspired by the movie Bad Day at Black Rock

53. Nightcrawler
Written by Len Uhley
See previous post where this episode was discussed at length

Season Four

54-55. One Man's Worth
Lewald says this is one of his favorite X-Men TAS stories. And in case it isn't clear confirms that Professor Grey is Jean's father.

56-57. Proteus
Part 1 Written by Bruce Schaefer
Part 2 Written by Luanne Crocker (actually Carter Crocker)
Lewald does say the cynical father coming around in the end might have been a little much. But he did intentionally assign this story to writers who had kids due to the themes involved. Bruce Schaefer sadly passed away recently.

58. Family Ties
Written by Marley Clark
He notes that many of the story beats here are things seen on the show before, but repetition is the price they pay for sticking true to material that has inevitably had similarities through hundreds of stories over the years.

59. Bloodlines
Written by Len Uhley
Uhley was intentionally chosen to do this episode since he wrote the previous Nightcrawler one. He considers this the scariest ending ever on X-Men TAS as Graydon Creed is given to Sabretooth (fitting since Lewald also earlier described Graydon as having the most evil line on the show in episode 15 when Jubilee asks what they did wrong and he says "You were born.") This scene is an intentional contrast to the scene of forgiveness between Kurt and Mystique.

60. Lotus and the Steel
Written by Francis Moss and Ted Pedersen
This episode is based on the classic film The Seven Samurai

61. Weapon X, Lies, and Videotape
Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching
Lewald questions whether they maybe do Wolverine origin stories too much, but suspects fans always loved learning more about him. He does note an animation error in this episode where voices are switched between Wolverine and Sabretooth at one point.

62. Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas
Written by Eric Lewald and Eric Parr
Iwanter requested they do a Christmas episode. Lewald thinks this wasn't really appropriate for this kind of show and notes this episode is generally the most hated by fans. Lewald's own credit on the script shows how much revision it needed. He does see some potential in the story idea of Jubilee never having a real Christmas but they didn't handle it well. He says much of the character moments are forced in this (Jean and Gambit bickering, Wolverine being reluctant to help, Jubilee's immaturity) and some stuff was over the top (little Morlock girl with the pitiful tree). Wolverine refusing to sing Jingle Bells is an inside joke because Wolvie voice actor Cal Dodd did a Christmas album and the first song was Jingle Bells.

63-66. Beyond Good and Evil
Part 1 Written by Steve Cuden
Part 2 Written by Jan Strnad
Part 3 Written by Michael Edens
Part 4 Written by Dean Stefan
Lewald does not think highly of this story. There were personal stories built into it surrounding Storm, Scott + Jean, and Psylocke, and in the middle of writing the script these all had to be thrown out because more episodes were ordered and they had been building toward this being the end. What is left is just a lot of fighting and plot revelations.

Season 5

67-68. Phalanx Covenant
Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching
Lewald is often critical of too many characters being used, but says it totally works in this one. The quality of this story is likely why Fox picked it as the final season opener. He considers the animation of the Phalanx very good and the cliffhanger in the middle the best in the series. He prefers the original ending idea though where Warlock sacrificed his life, but being a Saturday morning kids show caused this to be discarded.

69-70. Storm Front
Part 1 Written by Mirith Colao
Part 2 Written by Brooks Wachtel

71. The Fifth Horseman
Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching

72. Jubilee's Fairytale Theater
Written by Brooks Wachtel
They did this episode because they finally wanted Jubilee to be front-and-center. However he says fans hate this episode and he does get why. It was too young and playful compared to the rest of the show and doesn't fit.

73. Old Soldiers
Written by Len Wein

74. Hidden Agendas
Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching
Lewald has no defense for how bad this episode is. The animation is the worst it has ever been. The villains are small and uninteresting and the plot is generic. The X-Men show up late and there is no personal story. The accents are also butchered. Ultimately the proper care for Cannonball's introduction was not done and he would want to do it over.

75. Descent
Written by David McDermott and Steven Melching
This is one he is surprised they were allowed to do since none of the X-Men even show up until the end, but he is glad they were.

76. Graduation Day
Written by James Krieg
There are still more chapters in the book but this is where I will stop doing notes. Further chapters have interviews with cast, writers, and executives, among other things, and they are all interesting reads. If you are a fan of the show you really should get this book. And if you do and read it be sure to add your thoughts.

Also I will note there is actually a surprise connection to these forums in the book! There are a few select fan testimonials printed about the show and its meaning to the viewers. One of these testimonials is written by Kellen Tyler. While he unfortunately doesn't come around anymore, longtime forum members may recall poster Tyler5618. These two are of course one and the same! Awesome that he got his very nice essay printed and I am surprised I don't recall him mentioning it.
Best Comics of Week 39

Best X-Comic: Juggernaut #1 by Fabian Nicieza (1) and Ron Garney (1)
Best Non-X Comic: Immortal She-Hulk #1 by Al Ewing (9) and Jon Davis-Hunt (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic of the week this year

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Posts: 1139
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Re: Previously on X-Men

Post by medium13 » 21 Jul 2020, 20:24

Wait a second - No way does Rogue's Tale have the first use of X-Communicators! Doesn't Storm toss hers as early as "Enter Magneto"? This was super interesting. Thanks Cable!

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