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Marvel says X-Men legend Chris Claremont isn't working on a main X-Men book again because he's X-Men legend Chris Claremont

Marvel's X-Men editor explains why the writer who shaped the franchise into the juggernaut it became isn't working on a core X-Men book

Image credit: John Byrne/Terry Austin (Marvel Comics)

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Although Chris Claremont didn't create the X-Men, his work on the core comic book series (and its spinoffs) from the 1975 until the present day has defined it for many fans - creating (or co-creating) such charaxters as Rogue, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde, Phoenix, Mystique, Emma Frost, and Jubilee, as well as writing storylines such as 'Days of Future Past,' 'Inferno,' 'The Dark Phoenix Saga,' and more. Here now in 2024 Claremont has an exclusive agreement with Marvel Comics, and continues to write for the publisher's X-Men line - but it's close to 20 years since he's written a series at the forefront of the franchise. Fans have been wondering why, and for the first time, Marvel has explained it.

"Chris is doing work in the X-Office, Dylan, and I expect that at some point he’ll write another present day set X-Men story," Marvel's executive editor Tom Brevoort wrote on his Substack in response to a fan question. Brevoort said that Claremont's recent story in X-Men #35 (aka Uncanny X-Men #700) was "quite nice," but says that he doesn't see Claremont taking over one of the flagship X-Men titles as an option. Given Brevoort is Marvel's newly-entrenched lead X-Men editor, if he doesn't see it, then its likely not happening..

"... I don’t know that I see a world in which he’s situated on a series at the center of the line again," wrote Brevoort. "And that’s really a reflection of how long Chris wrote the series and how much time has passed."

While that might disappoint some fans (and Claremont, possibly), Brevoort is upfront about the friction point in that scenario - basically, because he created so much of the X-Men lore, Brevoort believes Claremont is too entrenched with his intended direction of the characters, and not with what Marvel and other creators Marvel have hired have led the characters.

"You see, Chris spent 16 years living with those characters inside of his head, and he’s consequently got very strong feelings as to who they are, what they would and would not do, and of backstories that never made it into print," says the editor. "But over the past 30 years, a ton of additional stories starring them have been printed—most of which are at variance to Chris’ 'head canon' to one degree or another."

Brevoort uses Mr. Sinister as an example - a character which Claremont originally conceived as a psychic projection of an 11-year-old child in a misguided power fantasy. Claremont's version of Sinister's backstory never saw print, and since then Mr. Sinster was established in Marvel Comics continuity as an early 19th century biologist who found a way to prolong his life.

"So his version of Sinister isn’t that guy," Brevoort says. "There’s a dissonance — it’s not anybody’s fault per se, but it exists, and it makes it difficult for Chris to sometimes work within fields that have now been tilled by others for as long as they were tilled by him."

The irony of all this might be, Claremont has publicly stated that the opposite is true; during his spotlight panel at C2E2 2022, he declared, "There’s so much to my eye that could be done [with the current comic book Marvel Universe] that would be interesting." At the same convention, he told Popverse that, while he was happy to be writing miniseries set during his initial X-Men run, "on the one level, I'm looking at this and thinking, hoorah, I'm back kind of in the game. On the other level, I'm thinking, I'm not really, because I'm still locked into my era."

Join Popverse in our own little X-Mansion as we cover just about everything you need to know about the X-Men. Learn how Marvel's mighty mutants are classified by power, or why the Krakoan Age of comics is coming to an end. And once you're done with those, keep up with the characters' big screen outings via Popverse's X-men movie watch order.

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Chris Arrant avatar
Chris Arrant: Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)
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