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Forty Questions with Boyd Kirkland

Boyd Kirkland is a producer and writer for X-Men: Evolution. Recently he answered questions from Evolution fans here in the Beyond Forum. Here you can find some of the most frequently asked questions about the Evolution characters and series. Thank you Boyd! Personal questions are located here on the first page, select a link for more questions and answers.

Personal - Show Production - Character - Plot

Character Questions

I would love to see more of Xavier and Magneto's powers, and I hope they do it. That's one of the main reasons I think they seriously need a season five.

Now, you're talking! Let's hear it for season 5! And I agree, I would definitely like to do more stories exploring Xavier, Magneto, and many others that folks on this message board are clamoring to see. So far, our mandate from Kids WB has been to keep the focus on the kids in the show (hence, Xavier isn't even given a "title" card in the opening titles), as well as to keep the action kid-friendly. This season, they have relaxed that constraint a little, and we've been able to do a few darker stories. IF there's a season 5 (and I still don't know if there will be), we may have the opportunity to do the very things you are looking for! And, by the way, thanks for hanging in there with us, even though we're not meeting all your expectations!

These two are suppose to be two of the most powerful mutants in the world, yet these Evolution writers won't show all they can do, for some reason. That is what ticks me off the most, and why some X Men fans don't like Evolution, since the writers come across as people who want to do what they want to do, and not even consider what the fans want to see.

Soooo, what you're really trying to say is, unless Magneto has incredible powers that render nearly all other mutants as gnats in comparison, there's really no reason to enjoy this show. Ooookay-- I see, it's all about power! Please, dear fan, reconsider you're disdain, and reread the early X-Men comics, when all of this was just beginning, before these characters had evolved to nearly the status of demi-gods, and don't be so disgruntled that we haven't managed to address the myriads of permutations, expansions, and embellishments manifested in over forty years of comic book history. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day, and as others have pointed out here, please remember that this show is aimed at a little younger audience than the average comic book fan.

I was just wondering if you ever thought about introduing other marvel characters into Evolution; if not by guest apperances then by cameos are small blurbs.

We prefer to keep the X-Men universe isolated from the idea that there are lots of other superheroes running around out there. If there were, it diminishes the logic of the public being so alarmed or fearful of mutants. When we do introduce guest stars (as with Captain America), it will be characters who fit without stretching this logic too much.

Why did you decide to make Sabertooth look more like his movie incarnation over the more traditonal one?

Because that's what Marvel wanted.

Why did you not use Marvel Girl like in the comics for Jean's codename.

Because the comics had dropped the name years ago.

I wondered what made you think and decide about revamping Wolverines costume because in season one and two he has a costume, very simular to the one we normally see him, but seasons 3, it changed to a more plainer one. Why didn't you keep with the original

Again, because Marvel requested the change.

Out of all of the characters I think that Rogue went through the largest change from her TAS counter part to her Evo self. I was wondering, what made you decide that she should be goth? She's so different (but in a good way) from the other portrayals of her character, what convinced you to give her a different spin?

We tried to imagine what it would really be like for these kids to be just discovering their powers, and the emotional traumas they would experience as a result. We felt that each of them would respond in a variety of ways, depending upon their own personalities and maturity, and depending, of course, on what their mutancy was. It seemed more logical for a girl with Rogue's mutant "problem" of never being able to touch anyone to isolate herself and be withdrawn, especially as a teenager. It also allowed us to contrast her with Jean and Kitty, who would generally be more upbeat and positive. Characters with "issues" are always more interesting to watch in dramas. Over time, all of these characters have had personal struggles they've had to deal with, and they'll be continually changing as they mature and learn to cope with whatever life brings to them.

Also, I'm not sure if this has been specifically answered, but how exactly was the character of Spkye actually created?

When we were in discussions with the network and Marvel about who would be in our core group of teens, we all knew we wanted as much diversity as possible to create an interesting mix. That included what their powers were, their personalities, sexes, ages, nationalities, etc. It was finally decided to create a new character, and I dreamed up a guy I thought could be the "muscle" and also represent the unfortunate side of mutancy of having a "monstrous" appearance (kind of like the Thing in the Fantastic Four). He would be covered with bony plating, shoot bony spikes, etc., and be really powerful like a little rhino. We did a few conceptual drawings based on that idea, but eventually, Marvel decided they didn't like the "monster" angle, and he was turned into a normal-looking kid who could just shoot bony spikes. At the time, no one made the connection that this character's powers resembled Marrow's, another character in the comics.

I was wondering, why is Lance so devoted to Mystique in some of the beginning shows and when Scott leaves Mystique in Area 51, but doesn't act really different when he finds out she was turned to stone? Is that just a glitch?

There are lots of these kinds of things that we would love to explore, but haven't found the time or story to do so. We pack a lot of story-telling in each episode, and often discuss ways of following-up on loose ends, relationships, etc., but can't always find ways to include them. Too bad our show isn't an hour, instead of just a half-hour!

Is there any reason that some people's names just have to be assumed? A lot of the characters names have hardly ever been said, both real and code names. Is it just the way it happened or was it an oversight, or assumption the auidnce would know there names?

One of my pet peeves is the cliche of having someone's name announced, just for the benefit of the audience. If there isn't a good, natural way of including it in the dialogue, then I don't want to force it, and assume that an opportunity will arise in some future episode that makes sense.

How did you decide what characters to use in the show? Did any of you have favorites or did you do research? If you could go back in time, would you choose different people or change anything about the show?

The main group was initially decided before we started the first season in development meetings that included myself, the writers, Marvel's executive producers, and the heads of children's programming at Kids WB. Many things went into the decision, such as character personalities, powers, diversity, etc. In any ensemble show, a good blend is crucial to create the right balance of excitement, fun, and interest for the audience. Overall, I think we did a pretty good job, but can understand how someone might miss seeing their favorite character from the comics or the old show, but we had to start somewhere! And as the show has evolved, we continue to introduce and explore other characters from the X-Men universe.

Is Target X the last we'll see of X23?

We will have one more small cameo of her this season.

Is Agatha Harkness a mutant, or some sort of sorceress? (As a side-note, I've noticed that, while, for the most part, the cartoon has toned down the more fantastic elements of the X-Men Universe when they're not related directly to mutants....)

I'm not quite certain how to define her, as in the world of comics (e.g., Dr. Strange, etc.), mysticism is often portrayed as a form of "science" that just isn't very well understood or acknowledged by the mainstream scientific community. I think Wanda's powers fall into a similiar category. And yes, we have intentionally toned down the more fantastic elements of the comics for several reasons. One, is to keep the show grounded with a certain amount of "normalcy," as we are starting at the beginning of these guys' careers and discovery of their powers. It also helps make the stories a little more believable to keep things in the "real world" for the most part.

Why is it that at certain times, we can only see yellow eye's underneat Magneto's bucket, but at other times we can see his full face?

Because it looks cooler that way.

Why is it that Rogue got all hairy and shaggy in "Spykecam" when she drained Sabretooth, but doesn't undergo any similar "physical side-effects" elsewhere in the series when she drains - say, Nightcrawler or Blob?

Because it was a good sight gag. And... and... I'm sure there was a good, logical scientific explanation, but I can't think of it at the moment.

I just wanted to ask two things. One, in "X-treme Measures", what is the little girls name that has big hands and paralyzes people?

The little girls name is Torpid. We just made her up for the show, along with some of the others, as we were having a difficult time finding a good blend of Morlocks we liked from the comics.

Why did you tone Omega Red down so much?

Obviously, on a kids' show, we have many limitations imposed by the network as to what we can show. For example, we can never show a blow to the head, hence, making it difficult to show how Wolverine could have knocked Omega Red out when he escaped. We often have to just imply these things without showing them.

I've noticed that of all the New Recruits, Iceman, Magma, and BoomBoom get the most screentime. I understand why Iceman gets the screentime, but why choose Magma and BoomBoom over major comic characters such as Cannonball and Jubilee?

Which characters get spotlighted generally has more to do with the requirements of the story, rather than just finding some artificial excuse to wedge someone in there. There are also financial reasons for why this character or that character were not in an episode, or even if they were, why they didn't speak. We have limited budgets and schedules, and often have to make hard decisions about the size of our voice casts, the number of characters on screen to animate, etc. There's an incredible amount of time and work and money involved in putting together a good show, and we do the best we can within the constraints we are given. Also, as Greg pointed out elsewhere, sometimes bit scenes with background characters get trimmed in editing to get the shows down to broadcast length.

Will Rogue ever get new powers? She isn't much help in the Danger Room...

Fan opinion on this issue seems pretty split - many of you are liking Rogue just the way she is, and others are dying to see her flying around like an invincible supergirl, because that's how they are used to seeing her in the comics and the old show. Personally, I think we've done some pretty memorable, amazing things with Rogue, that have made her one of the more interesting characters in our show. Where she'll go from here, only time (and who knows, maybe a fifth season?) will tell.



by Spider-Man 8/16/07:

"...X-Men: TAS has The X-Men facing off against Sentinels and a couple of their teammates getting captured or killed. As for X-Men: Evolution it starts off at a High School Football game/Pep Rally. You know exactly what both of these series are about thanks to the first episode though X-Men: Evoluton does evolve as the series progresses."

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