Jonathan Hickman was talking to the Xplain The X-Men podcast on the occasional of their 150th podcast, and the publication of his final X-Men comic book with Inferno #4. And he had lots to say – including where his Krakoan run on the X-Men titles that started three years ago, all came from…
When asked if Inferno #4 was really his last X-Men comic book, he replied "Unless I get dragged back in at a later date, against the wishes of everybody that has seen me off, yeah I think so." Although he did hedge his bets slightly, after how he had "teed up" Kieron Gillen to join the X-Men comic books and write Mister Sinister, he added "well, I feel like I'm gonna get a call from Kieron or something like that. 'Jonathan, I've teed you up.'"
He also added a few other Inferno finale points, which saw the revelations that the machines have, Terminator-style, created their own Days Of Future Past time trips, saying "I've been holding on to that Nimrod and Omega Sentinel stuff for a while. The cool thing is that they told everybody exactly what they were, but now nobody knows what they were because everybody died. And so the only people who know what they're up to and what they're really about are the readers which is always a really really fun place to put the reader. When they know something the characters don't. It's a good way to inject dread into the story. They created Orchis and whether or not that turns out to be a bad mistake by the machines or whether that turns out to be just the prelude to machine state, you'll have to wait and see."
He also compared Moira Mactaggert to Cable going forward "The thing about Cable is it's a really cool character and people who started writing Cable in the years that followed his introduction added to the mythology. And in adding to the mythology, sometimes people pay very close attention to what works, and sometimes people are just telling a story. And obviously, that causes continuity confusion. That's okay we're professionals, we can deal with that, that's what keeps us employed. But you've got a lot of amazing Cable stuff that implies other stuff and if this is successful, if House Of X. if the Krakoa era continues to be written about, if it doesn't get zeroed out, then obviously there's an opportunity to tell more and more and more stories, and it will develop its own continuity density and clear layers of strata, and Moira has the possibility to be a vast repository of amazing stories. The question is will they get told, will people want to tell them, you don't get to dictate this stuff. You write the book and people either liked your stuff and they want to write about it or they liked your stuff and they want to destroy it like Jason Aaron. This is how the job works, you don't get to say whether your stuff matters or not, the next guy does."
And for his love of using Doug Ramsey and Warlock in the final issues, and how it was set up in House Of X. "I had that whole bit percolating in the background since House and Powers, because we had him drop him off on the island and build everything. I hinted at Warlock and Krakoa being a unified thing in that in the future of Powers Of X. But Doug was very heavy in my first draft, where the character was going to go, what he was going to do, how important language was for this whole thing and being the only guy that can talk to the Promised Land was a pretty big deal. I've always loved that character since those Asgard Annuals, when Illyana was able to become as powerful as she was, because Doug could read the spellbooks. I was always thinking about how I loved that he was innocent and vulnerable and they all looked out for him, but he really had the ability to know more than any of them. It's like it was just so much there, and when he died in Fall Of The Mutants, I was so angry that they did that to the weakest character. I'm gonna rewrite 30-year-old X-Men books here, but it would have been better if he would have tried to save somebody, and he couldn't and somebody else died because he wasn't able to do that, which would then lead him into doing more with Warlock and all that kind of stuff. Doug has gotten to a point where he's confident enough to say like no, no, this is how we're doing this. I have prepared for this moment and this is how it's going to go. Just to see that quiet confidence, that moral surety come from him was just so powerful after the character you know hasn't really gotten nearly enough chance to shine over the years. I make fun of people for having headcanon because I'm a professional, but uh you know mine has always been that the New Mutants became the X-Men, so when I look at those characters, I don't see kids anymore. We write them that way because of the way that they're kind of stuck in continuity, but I always think about what those characters would be like when the story continues in five years from now when they take over. It's always building those characters toward being the ultimate versions that will become the X-Men and I'm like that for all of those newbies characters, and I feel that way about the Generation X kids too. I always look at these characters, especially those two sets, as eventually becoming the most important mutants on the planet. And what does that look like, how do they learn, when you write those books they screw up a lot because they're learning, but what's the version look like when they're wise, or when they're experienced. I'm going to miss writing those characters in particular…"
Let's see what Kieron Gillen tees up, shall we?