CBR: This week, "Magneto," "House of M" and "Uncanny X-Men" writer Cullen Bunn returns to X-POSITION and answers your questions about everything from Magneto's feelings towards his changing family tree to the mental states of Sabretooth, Mystique, Psylocke and more. And don't miss the exclusive first look at Greg Land's official cover for "Uncanny X-Men" #1, which reveals two new members of the Uncanny team.
When choosing these members for the ["Uncanny X-Men"] team, was there a theme or a quality to link them? Will there be other questionable members (like Bishop) or even villains?
When I started building this team, I wanted to make sure they were very different from Jeff [Lemire]'s "Extraordinary X-Men" and Dennis [Hopeless]'s "All-New X-Men." When readers look at these books, I want no question that this is a different team with a different mission statement. So, I started building a team of "morally questionable" villains and anti-heroes who maybe shouldn't carry the banner of the X-Men. I know that rubs some people the wrong way. Frankly, it's supposed to -- that's one of the themes of this book. That was the first quality that linked them. I also looked at which characters would give me the most dynamic and unexpected interactions. I don't think many people can guess how this team is actually going to function without tearing itself apart. Maybe it won't.
As for other characters… there are two team members who have not been revealed. Both of them will be head-scratching for different reasons. Both of them will add a new layer of "what the Hell is Cullen thinking?" And that's just among the X-Men! There are some other groups -- or clubs even -- showing up within a few issues that will feature some familiar and surprising faces.
With Mags and Mystique in ["Uncanny X-Men"], is there any chance Rogue will come up or appear in any form in this book?
There's a chance, I suppose, but I have no concrete plans for her right now. With Magneto and Mystique in the book, it seems like a natural fit for Rogue to show up. Not in the first couple of arcs for sure. She has her own thing going on right now.
Are you going to deal with Psylocke being on a team with Sabretooth and Fantomex, characters that she hates, right out of the gate or is that a simmering plotline?
I just decided they all buried the hatchet and become besties off-panel, so we won't even worry about that. Just kidding!
I will be dealing with these relationships in slightly different ways. With Psylocke and Sabretooth, it will be more of a simmering story, with bits and pieces showing up over time, leading to something down the road. With Fantomex… well… that will be a little more immediately explosive. And by explosive I mean very, very violent.
One character that I am looking forward to in your run is Fantomex. He has gone through so much development since his inception. I was hoping to hear what you had in store for him and how he will handle working beside Psylocke again after Simon Spurrier's "X-Force"?
Fantomex in this book is going to be stripped back down to the basics a bit, closer to how he was portrayed when he first appeared and in early issues of "Uncanny X-Force." That's not to say he won't have complexities, but he's definitely much more the mysterious super-spy that we originally met. The mysteries will be new, of course.
What do you think? Will he be happy about working with Psylocke? Probably not. My guess is he'll have to have some pretty serious reasons for doing so. Those reasons will form the backbone of the Fantomex story.
Also… Psylocke and Fantomex are not hooking up again, just in case you're wondering.
Your "Uncanny X-Men" cast is unusual -- and thankfully so as it consists of two bisexual women (Psylocke and Mystique) and (maybe?) a bisexual man (Fantomex). Have you given any thought to this LGBT representation, and considering the nature of your cast, will there be time for some romance?
Interesting that you say "considering the nature of the cast" there might not be room for romance. Don't ass-kickers need love, too?
For real, though. Even though this is a shockingly different version of the X-Men, I want their story to have a classic X-Men feel. That means a lot of inter-character interactions, subplots and drama, both within the team and within the supporting cast I'll be introducing as time goes on. That also means there will be room for romance.
Yes, they are ruthless and merciless in their mission, but they are trying to keep Xavier's dream alive in the best way they know how. These are villains and hard cases trying to make it in the shadow of a dream many say they have no business trying to uphold.
As for Psylocke, Mystique, and Fantomex -- I've definitely taken everything that makes them who they are into consideration.
In the past few series Mystique has been in she's been a completely, unfocused mess. Hellfire School Teacher? Madripoor leader? Mad at Dazzler and Cyclops? Married to Professor X? Please tell me you have a solid plan for her motivations for being with these people who she hates (Sabretooth) and who just tried to kill her (Magneto). I love the character, but she needs some focus and not just random panel time.
I couldn't agree with you more. Coming into this, Mystique made my head spin, but I had a notion that I wanted to explore with her. Pages and pages of notes later, I have a big storyline in mind for Mystique, something that I think will alleviate a lot of the concerns you have with her, give her some focus and make readers care about her.
Speaking of big stories, I sat down and wrote out a plan for each and every member of the cast. I have a long-term story in mind for each team member. For some of the characters, the seeds of these stories will be planted in the first issue. For others, it might be a couple of issues before you see it taking shape. But there will be ongoing drama for all the Uncanny X-Men, with the stories playing out across several issues or longer.
When [Rick] Remender used Sabretooth [in "Uncanny Avengers"], he seemed to have a plan for his redemption. But now that he left Marvel, the character is all open to change. What can we expect Sabretooth to face in your book? Will he get a new costume?
It might seem strange, but Sabretooth is pretty close to this team's "moral compass." He's still very much on the path to redemption. He's not there yet, though. There's a long, long way to go and it will not be easy on him at all. My long-term plan for Sabretooth is one of my favorite elements of this series. It strikes a very personal chord for me, and I think it will resonate with readers. There's a lot of trouble, tragedy, and even romance -- not with Psylocke -- ahead for Creed.