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
What's the deal with Roberto? Do you guys hate him or something?
Poor Roberto. If you guys only knew. He's been in quite a few "B" story threads, actually. The problem is, those B stories are the first to get trimmed when the storyboards are running long. But by that time, the other scripts are locked, and there's no time to place him elsewhere. The same has happened to Cannonball, however Sam does get some screen time in Ghost of a Chance. Soon, when we're not swamped, maybe we can post some of the storyboard scenes of him.
Will you ever be touching on the subject of Kurt's faith?
Sorry to say, we aren't permitted to go in that direction. At least not blatantly. It is something I've personally wanted to explore (being a Christian myself), but as of season four, we've made no move toward it.
Will there be an episode about Colossus' family?
Unfortunately, visiting Colossus' family wasn't something we were able to do in the short fourth season. We were hoping to explore that in the fifth.
Is Amanda Sefton ever going to be revealed as Daytripper (a mutant)?
And at this point, we have had no plans to establish if Amanda has any powers.
Storm has always been a big part of X-men, almost as much as Wolverine, and I was just wondering why there hasn't been more of her in Evo.
There has been no conscious effort to keep her out of the series. As I said before, all of our stories must feature the kids. Who is featured is a result of the story. After the spark of an idea is fanned into a full blown premise, we had often found ourselves without anything for Storm to do. Of course, this is a no-win situation for us. Older fans want to see her, but if we include her in a secondary role, then we get blasted for under-using her. If we don't use her at all, we get blasted for not using her at all. But don't lose hope - she's got some very heroic stuff coming up in more than one episode.
What's the deal with Boom Boom? Is she with the X-Men, or on her own somewhere or what?
She's on her own, but stays in close contact with the Xavier Institute, and maintains a friendship with Amara. I think she's more interesting as someone who pops in here and there.
My favorite New Recruit is Berzerker, but I have to ask, why did you choose one of the most obscure mutants out there to join, instead of a better known one? Either way, I praise your decision, as I adore the character.
I wanted a rough-edged bad boy with a mysterious past. And I wanted someone who had a very visual battle-offensive power. So I asked Craig Kyle to come up with some possibles, and he showed me Berzerker. I totally knew he was the guy as soon as I saw him. It's amazing that he's developed somewhat of a following.
Do you suppose that there might ever be a New Recruits Episode with little (if anything) to do with the main team? I believe a lot of folks would enjoy seeing them do something on their own for once.
It would be nice. If we have a fifth season, that's a real possibility. But members of the main team will always be in every episode, whether it be Brotherhood related or Wolverine related. Joyride was the closest we've come to having a New Recruit episode, but it was really about Lance and Kitty.
I know it's an annoying question but can you lay the whole Spyke thing to rest for us? Did you notice the dislike the character received from almost the beginning and if so, did you ever try to improve it so he could be liked, or did you purposely make him to be hated? Also, will he be returning this season?
Spyke is really only disliked from the older viewers. The younger (and largest) segment of our audience actually likes him. People criticize him as being underdeveloped. That is just not the case he has more aspects to his personality than most others on the show. It's just that he's a street punk, and that tends to get some people annoyed at him. I wouldn't mind popping him on the head now and then myself. We put him on hiatus for a while because we wanted to do something cool with his character. You'll see what that is in Uprising.
Why did you tone Omega Red down so much? He was able to take on Colossus, Night Crawler and Wolverine in the comics, heck, he nearly killed CABLE in one comic, in this, he was beaten worse than what Logan does to Sabertooth! I just wanna know, why did you lower his power so much?
I could almost see the spittle flying as you yelled at your computer while typing this. I understand the desire to see them go toe-to-toe in a real scenery smashing battle. But there's something to remember, this wasn't an Omega Red episode. It was about X23 and Wolverine. When Craig and Chris were sketching out the story, they needed some trackers. They thought it would be cool to use Omega Red and Gauntlet, so we did. Those characters filled a need in the story that wasn't about them. If we'd made him so powerful that Wolverine really had his hands full (which translates to more screen time than we could afford), then that would have taken away from what this episode was really about. Good stories don't lose sight of their focus, and when you only have 22 minutes to tell it, sacrifices must be made. Sorry you were disappointed.
Would you guys ever consider putting together another team of mutants that strives to positively promote the mutant/human cause? Such as X-Factor?
Adding ANOTHER group of mutants is kind of pushing it with the size of the cast we already have.
When you decided to bring in Magneto's Acolytes, what was behind your decision to bring in Gambit/Pyro/Colossus etc..?
They were just characters we liked, who had unique powers. Not to mention we knew they were fan favorites. The moment they were revealed in Day of Reckoning had a lot of impact because of the recognition factor.
Will we have a Wanda/Nightcrawler episode coming up soon, since they both lost a parent?
Nothing in season four. Good idea for season five, though.
Will we ever learn exactly what Magneto did to baby Kurt in Shadowed Past?
The way we see it, Magneto experimented on him in an attempt to trigger the X-Gene, and succeeded.
Will there ever be an explanation answering the reasons why Wanda and Pietro's last names are Maximoff while their father's name is Lehnsherr?
Let's just say we won't be addressing that in season four, and though we don't see it as being that difficult to explain, we try and keep those things a little vague in case we choose to explore it later without getting trapped by our own continuity.
Was the decision to pull both Rahne and Jubilee at the beginning of Season 3 based on the need to whittle down the number of X-Men characters so the remaining ones could receive more attention?
We just had too many bodies to worry about. Our cast is HUGE!
In every other incarnation, Apocalypse has plagued the earth for thousands of years before the X-Men arrive on the scene, however, in evolution, he is freed from a thousands of years old prison by three keys. I like the dramatic effect of his entrance, and I love the subtle plot change in having the X-Men try to prevent his release before they have to fight him. My question was, how did this remarkably unique spin on an old storyline come up? Why was it decided to change the nature of apocalypse's history for evolution? Also, if there is a fifth season, and the writers of evolution ever decide to include Mr. Sinister in the plot, how could that be handled in lieu of apocalypse having been imprisoned for 5000 years? After all, in 1859, apocalypse was the one who transformed Dr. Essex into sinister.
I wanted to give the show a villain that even Magneto was nervous about. Someone more powerful, who had the same ultimate goals as Magneto, yet more so. So we came up with Apocalypse as fitting that mold the best. Magneto wants mutants to be the dominant race, while Apocalypse wants mutants to be the only race. As far as deviating from his history, we were more interested in adapting it to the needs of our series (though we did lift his origin right out of the books), and giving it a fresh spin. And we have no plans to introduce Sinister at this point. If we ever do, we would bring him into the show in a new and exciting way.
How did you come to put Captain America in Evo as opposed to any other Marvelverse character (minus Rama Tut)? Was or is there ever any talk about bringing in others that had some primary interaction with the X-men at some point and what (if any) issues keep you from bringing them on?
The network wanted us to do an "event" episode, possibly starring another Marvel hero. Since our series doesn't acknowledge other superheroes as being a part of the world (it lessens the reaction to Mutants), we wanted to find one that we could put in the past, and that had a personal relationship with one of our own characters. Captain America offered us the chance to explore these things.
Why is Gambit working with Magneto, instead of working with the X Men and more involved with Rogue? As a long time X Men fan, and longtime Gambit fan, it kinda bothers me that he's working with Magneto.
We didn't want this to become "X-Men: Evolution starring Gambit" and that's just what would have happened if he'd joined the X-Men. He's too strong of a character to ignore in episodes that didn't deal with him. Besides, the guy is a thief. He's a mercenary. If Magneto offered him enough incentive, why wouldn't he work for him? I find conflicted villains much more interesting than conflicted heroes.
In the episode X Impulse, what was the building that Xavier was in when he was talking to Jean on the phone? Were the stairs the only things keeping Xavier from getting to Lance?
That was the Social Services Building in Chicago. In subtext that got edited because of length, he was attempting to arrange for Lance to come join the Institute. The stairs were simply meant to put a more human spin on the Professor.
Kurt seems surprisingly unaffected emotionally by the events of 'Impact.' In the episodes aired afterwards, we see Kurt act pretty much the way he always does. Is he going to change at all because of such a traumatic event?
Kurt does deal with it in Cajun Spice, which was an episode that was originally intended to come earlier. But since the story went through a couple of conceptual changes when we were first developing it, it got pushed later in the schedule.
As far as keeping him somewhat his normal self in the following episodes, we were simply not allowed to carry over too many soap-opera aspects from one story to another. The network has been very supportive of the things we've wanted to try this season, but Kurt is a fun character to them, and therefore they did not want us dragging the heavy remorse and anger through every episode. He made only a couple of brief appearances in "No Good Deed..." and he slept through "Sins of the Son." If Cajun Spice had aired earlier, as we'd hoped when mapping out the season, this probably wouldn't be an issue.
What specific event led Magneto to abandon Wanda at that place. Is this an issue that will be covered in future episodes?
There was no specific event. It was just years of him trying to handle a hostile, out of control child whose powers were promising to be very destructive if he didn't get her put away.
Will Psylocke or Mr. Sinister appear in Evolution?
All I can tell you is that they won't appear in our 4th season. You never know about a 5th season, though.
How is it that you decide what characters are going to be front and center and which are going to take a stand in the background (Example: Storm.)?
We have our core group of X-Men, and our stories usually revolve around them. Storm is an adult in the series (I wasn't part of that decision, but I believe the desire was to have a nurturing adult in the mansion) and the edict from the network has always been to feature the younger cast, not the adults. They don't want an adult always coming in and saving the day.
I understand Storm is a real favorite, but when we're tossing stories around, we end up with ideas that take on a life of their own... and that usually dictates who is going to be in it. Wolverine is a special case, since he basically represents the branding of the series to the younger fans, so we make a point out of doing a Wolverine episode every season.