Fifty Five Questions with Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson is the head writer and a producer 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 Greg! Select a link for more questions and answers.
Personal - Show Production - Character - Plot - Miscellaneous
Will there be a fifth season?
As far as season five, we won't hear until probably the end of the year. Organize a petition, collect names, and send it to Kids WB if you want your voices heard.
How does it make you feel to see the progression of the series, from episode one, up until the upcoming season finale? I will be honest and say that I wasn't a real big fan until season two, which I felt finally started putting things together. The first year was more of an "introduction" of the characters. To see the characters before and to now see them facing off against Apocalypse....It's amazing because unlike other animated shows, the characters have literally "evolved" throughout the course of the show's run.
I'm very proud of how the show has 'evolved.' Following the characters as they grow and encounter increasingly tougher conflicts, has always been what's appealed to me. Yes, the first season was very much everyone (characters and creators) getting used to the show, and once we were all on the same page, the process became much smoother. I was then able to concentrate on telling stories that had some depth.
What is the decision process of including some characters and not others? There are numerous fans of Psylocke wishing she was a part of it. The whole Risty resemblance seemed like a slap in the face towards a lot of her fans. Was she a sort of recognition towards Betsy or was it just a coincidence?
When it came time to expand the cast, we were originally just looking to 'fill out' the Xavier campus so that it always seemed busy with students. So we went in search of characters who had unique powers that were visually different enough from one another, but also were 'visual' powers. In fact, when I was compiling these new recruits, I solicited opinions from the X-Fan forum for ideas. Multiple came out of that. (See, we do listen). They were never meant to take the featured spot of an episode.
As far as Risty, the fact that she was British was my idea. The fact that she had purple hair was the designer's idea. When we realized she resembled Psylocke, we decided to just keep her in. It was never meant to be a slap in the face to Psylocke fans. In fact, back then, I don't remember Psylocke ever being mentioned on the boards. And then when Risty showed up, suddenly Psylocke became someone people wanted to see on the show. Along with about fifty other favorite X-Men characters.
If Kids' WB! decides not to renew the series, is there a possibility of pitching the series to Cartoon Network? Would you be interested in staying on the show?
That's always a possibility. I know it does real well for them in the evenings. I would very much be interested. It really depends on whether or not I've taken on another show while minds are being made up.
In the episode "Self Possessed" what were the songs played at the concert? I know they were played by Descanso, but other than that I can't find any more information. Were the songs made just for the show, or are they available somewhere?
They were tracks from a cd that Descanso has out. I believe you can order it directly from their website (I don't have the address - try a web search).
In Impact the opening credits were Producer - Greg Johnson; Co-Producer - Craig Kyle; Produced By - Boyd Kirkland. What does it mean when a show has three producers and why don't you all get the same "Producer" credit?
We all serve different functions. I oversee the scripts, Craig is the executive at Marvel who has input in all phases, but the series is physically produced by Boyd, who is the master chef.
Have you ever taken an idea from someone outside the writers? From a letter from a kid, or an idea from a friend or anything? Would you ever consider using a fan's idea for an episode when writing?
I hand-pick the writers for the show based on their previous credits or my own association with them. I can't take ideas from fans because that would be a Pandora's Box, not to mention possible legal ramifications if I write a story that's similar to one submitted by a fan. All the writers are represented by agents to keep the submission process in line. I know it's frustrating for someone trying to break into the business, but that's the way it is. When I have some time, and if it's desired, I can post an article on this site about what people can do to pursue writing in this field.
What do you say to critics that don't like X-men: Evolution because the X-men are "supposed" to be at different ages or have different origins than in X-men: Evolution?
We used to hear a lot more about that than we do now. Some people still feel the same, I guess. I personally don't get it - there are plenty of books that play fast and loose with their origins. Ours is just a new approach, and one that frees us up to tell some new stories rather than retreads of what everyone already knows.
Because this is marketed toward kids 6-11 can you let us in on some of the decision making process? Who decides what issues are too heavy for the audience because I know that there are a lot of issues in X-men that the network doesn't want to touch.
Boyd, Craig, and I self-censor the ideas ourselves, and then present them to the network. They've been real supportive of the stories we want to tell, as long as we have a nice balance of lightness and darkness spread amongst the season.
Are you all fans of the X-Men films? Was the release of the series intended to coincide with the release of the original film? If so, and the film was not a success, would the series have proceeded anyway?
I personally enjoy the films. And yes, when the first movie was in production, that's what initiated the series. Season One was pretty much in motion when the movie came out, so it would have not been impacted by poor box office. After that, it came down to the ratings on whether or not we got picked up.
I liked the nifty punk tune in Sins of the Son. Is there a title and artist to that?
You'll be surprised to know that the original songs in Sins of the Son were performed by a fifteen-year-old musician who also happens to be my young cousin. When I heard some of his music, I wanted to use some of the tracks.