Chris Claremont: New Exiles Cast Questionnaire

A comics interview article by: Keith Dallas
The adventures of The Exiles, Marvel Comics’ unique team of characters from different realities working together to correct problems on alternate worlds and divergent timelines, continue on in New Exiles with the cast of Morph, Sabretooth, Mystiq, Cat, Psylocke, Rogue, and Sage.

New Exiles #2 arrived in stores yesterday, February 13.

To help readers get a handle on the New Exiles’ cast, Marvel Comics recruited the Comics Bulletin contributors to submit character-focused questions to New Exiles writer, Chris Claremont.

Questions formulated by Christopher Power, Ariel Carmona, Chris Murman, and Robert Murray.

  1. Morph has been part of the Exiles since the beginning, being one of the first to arrive on the beach..., but he has never been selected to carry the Tallus. Why is that? Is it his turn to be in the driver's seat of destiny?

    Chris Claremont (CsC): In the first place, at this particular point in time, any determination about his status among the Exiles has to take into consideration his integration with Proteus. As the moment, in terms of the effect of the integration programmer (that has been used in the recent past to overlay the Proteus character with that of Morph), it seems to be a case of “so far, so good.” But at the moment, certainly Sabretooth hasn’t made up his mind whether or not things are settled – and trustworthy – within Morph’s psyche. And until he (and by extension, the team) knows for sure whether or not they can trust Morph, the likelihood of him getting his own Tallus remains unlikely.

    By the same token, the argument may also be made that he’s having too much fun where he is, and perhaps wouldn’t want the responsibility. We’ll simply have to wait and see.

  2. A long time ago Morph was offered the opportunity to return home to his own time and dimension. He chose to stay with the Exiles because they were his family. Does he regret this decision? Given the number of changes in the Exiles team lineup, has he reached the point where he no longer perceives the Exiles as his family?

    CsC: Again, his integration with Proteus changes the nature of the equation. It may well be that the team can’t risk letting him go, regardless of his personal desires. This is something that’ll have to be addressed – sooner … or later.

  1. Unlike his 616 counterpart, the Exiles’ Sabertooth has gained control of his feral tendencies. How complete is this control? Is there a situation in which Sabertooth could lose control?

    CsC: To my way of thinking, he goes pretty well berserk in issue #4. (You have to remember that Exiles, being the functional equivalent of what used to be called a “Code” book, has to be more than a little tactful in its presentation of Sabes’ reaction.) Just because the tiger knows how to behave doesn’t make him any less dangerous.

  2. In New Exiles #1 Sabretooth very earnestly clamped a personal Tallus on Psylocke. Was her absence from the Crystal Palace scanners that much of a concern, or is this a plot for the future?

    CsC: It’s both.

  3. Victor has once again been separated from his surrogate daughter Blink from Age of Apocalypse. How does this affect his decisions? Can we expect Victor to take some of the younger members under his wing?

    CsC: It’s not as though she’s disappeared from the face of Creation. We know where Blink – and Tj and Thunderbird – can currently be found, and wouldn’t at all be surprised if we ran into them in the (near?) future, to see how they’re getting on with their lives. Traveling to and from the Palace doesn’t seem to be as restricted as it’s been in the past. Who’s to say that Sabes doesn’t drop in for an occasional visit, whenever the mood strikes and the schedule permits? As for separation from Blink affecting his judgment – it’s not as though he and Blink haven’t functioned solo before. He’s a big guy – not to mention her mentor. Chances are he can handle himself just fine solo. As for taking folks under his wing, it seems to me that he isn’t altogether that kind of guy. This is a talent more applicable to my version of Logan / Wolvie. This Sabes can teach them how to fight and function as a combat team, but the only person he might have an interest in “taking under his wing” is Betsy, and that desire has nothing to do with being her mentor.

Mystiq :
  1. What kind of background does Mystiq come from? Does he have any particular skills that are valuable to the Exiles that are not provided by others in the group?

    CsC: A world much like our own. He was a private investigator, an intelligence operative, an adventurer. We know he certainly can fight and is an excellent chef. He seems to be some kind of shape-changer. He knows how to play chess. He can be utterly charming. And he has a decent working knowledge of medicine. Beyond that, especially in terms of skills, readers will have to learn as they go, just like our heroes.

  2. What are the extents of Mystiq’s powers? How does he compare to the other shapeshifter in the group? With two such characters available, are there any particular challenges to writing stories that cannot be solved by impersonating one or more individuals?

  3. CsC: Wait and see. This opening arc – and the two-part story that follows, centered on Morph, Cat and Sage -- should provide quite a few answers to these questions.

Cat :
  1. We know where the other current members of the Exiles have originated from, but when will we find out Cat’s origins?

    CsC: You’ll learn more about her on or about issues #11 & #12.

  2. At the end of New Exiles #1 Cat didn’t seem particularly upset that she wasn’t selected to go on the mission. Is she that attached to Crystal Palace or does she have something else in mind?

    CsC: That omits the third possibility: that there’s something outside the Palace that she’s very much afraid of, again to be revealed later this year. But also, that she feels very attached to the Palace and there is something else on her mind.

  3. How much experience does Cat have in hero work? What teams has she served in the past? What training does this young Cat have? College? X-Men? S.H.I.E.L.D.? Cookery?

    CsC: Who said Cat was ever a hero?

Psylocke :
  1. Do you think that Psylocke has any fears of returning to some of the dimensions she has fought in before? In particular Mojo world and the Crimson Dawn have deep histories with the character. Do you have plans to reintroduce those dimensions?

    CsC: Why would Psylocke be afraid of those dimensions? That said, present plans are to focus on establishing a totally new arena for the team. We’re not so much interested in places that we’ve been. There are scores of other books that can play in those arenas if they so with. At the moment, it’s much more fun to create a whole catalogue of new worlds for this team to visit.

  2. Psylocke has been almost killed by Sabertooth twice in the past. The character seems to have moved past this somewhat quickly. Is this truly resolved or can we expect her to be watching her back continually?

    CsC: Wait and see.

  3. Given Betsy’s experience, and her new personal Tallus, can we look forward to Betsy leading the team or a sub-team on some missions? Can we expect her to mentor some of the younger members?

    CsC: It’s certainly possible.

  1. The New Exiles’ version of Gambit debuted in issue #2. Will the same spark that exists between the 616 versions of Rogue and Gambit also ignite between the New Exiles’ versions of these characters?

    CsC: I would have to say, wait and see. The rule of thumb to follow with this title is that, just because these characters share names and even appearance with their counterparts in Dimension 616, doesn’t mean they’re the same person, or even close. And as you found out in issue #2, Gambit is very much a case in point.

  2. Rogue has a very affected, pompous manner of speech: “Fool! Did you really think you could approach me unawares?” Is this a result of her luxurious lifestyle while on Earth 1009?

    CsC: What a very affected, pompous question. Perhaps it’s because English isn’t her native language? Perhaps she’s from a world where Japan colonized the “American” continents and/or the Mongols conquered Europe?

  3. As a supposed master thief, is there a particular object that Rogue hopes to acquire? What’s her motivation for stealing?

    CsC: Perhaps she steals to sustain her lifestyle? Perhaps it’s a form of rebellion against the “system”? You’ll have to wait and see, and learn about her as we go. The one thing that can be said for her is that, aside from name and general appearance, she has very little in common with the Rogue readers are familiar with from 616.

Sage :
  1. Sage currently does not have access to her telepathic abilities. Is it possible that she will regain them in the future?

    CsC: Read issues #5 & 6.

  2. How does Sage’s knowledge of the Multiverse compare to that of the Tallus? Is that knowledge just of existence, or of events? Can Sage predict outcomes of various events and calculate probabilities? Can she predict multiple outcomes of various plans of actions for the Exiles?

    CsC: Imagine, essentially, that you’ve just had all the knowledge possessed by the functional equivalent of God (or a reasonable facsimile thereof, namely Roma) dumped into your memory – but without any sort of structural guide to place it in order. Having the knowledge is all very well and good, but if you can’t organize it, collate the data, how then can you access it effectively? Sage’s challenge is that she can’t seem to organize the knowledge, and far worse, many of the personalities embodied within that knowledge-base are actively fighting her for control. That lack of control is what’s tearing her apart, and which ultimately she must find a way to deal with.

  3. Diana Fox is drawing on the essence of Roma. Is it the case that Sage is diverting energy that would have kept Fox in check to contain the knowledge of the Multiverse? Or is that knowledge just passive and present in her mind?

    CsC: I’d have to say, wait and see. I’d also have to say, with respect to both those characters, be (very) careful what you wish for.

Gambit :
  1. Besides, the ability to breathe underwater, what other powers and abilities has Gambit acquired from his parents?

    CsC: Wait and see (or – why not read New Exiles #’s 2, 3 & 4 and find out for yourself?)

  2. Does Gambit retain connections with Atlantis? Is he loyal to his father or to the surface world?

    CsC: Again, read the first arc of New Exiles and find out.

  1. Is this version of Ororo what the 616 version could have become if she wasn’t first recruited by Professor Xavier into the X-Men?

    CsC: In this world, Ororo was born in 1950. The fall of the meteors occurred a few years later, during Reed Richard’s fateful space flight. Charles Xavier – indeed, likely all the characters who became the New York-centric Marvel Universe – perished in that global cataclysm. No X-Men, no FF, no Avengers, no Spidey, the list of heroes as we know them is pretty much thrown out before it even begins. Which leaves Ororo on her own in Africa, to make her own way in this terrifying new post-global-holocaust world. Along the way, she clearly comes across Logan and events between them take their fateful course (no Jean Grey, no Mariko Yashida, no Yukio). As we see them, Ororo and Logan have been together quite a while, and Ororo is in her 50’s. Totally different world, totally different woman, totally different life.

  2. What are the roots of the “long-running conflict” between Storm and Black Panther?

    CsC: The remnants of the continent of Africa evidently aren’t big enough for both of them.

  3. Is Storm considered a goddess on her Earth by her people?

    CsC: Some might, some might-not. As you’ll see by issue #4, there’s a lot more to this world than one might suspect – basically because among the folks who survived the global cataclysm are Nick Fury and Tony Stark and over the last few decades, these two have essentially remade the world. The heroes we know of may have been wiped away by this global holocaust, but a lot of other – different – ones have emerged to take their place, with some hopefully surprising results.

    This arc will end with #4 but the overall story of this world does not. Indeed, this is but the first chapter of an ongoing storyline which we’ll (hopefully) return to on an annual basis (if for no other reason than because Gambit is the kind of wandering son who’ll want to visit his folks and siblings from time to time – he just can’t stay).

    There are a lot of adventures planned for the cast of this team – as they deal with threats to individual worlds and potentially to the structural integrity of the entire OmniVerse (because when you remove from the equation the “Gods” who are the elements essentially holding the whole thing together, there have to be some fairly spooky, if not drastic, repercussions… and there you thought “Die by the Sword” was just fluff, and not a prelude to the Ultimate End of All Creation!) And when the stakes are this high, so too become the risks and ultimately the price that must be paid.

    The only thing we want to guarantee here, for as long as we can get away with it, is damn fine stories (in terms of writing and art). Beyond that, everything is up for grabs, and very much at risk.

    Should be fun!

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