Jonathan Hickman time… Entertainment Weekly has just excepted a headline from an upcoming big roundtable interview with the X-Men writers. Talking about the last three years since they began building the House Of X version of the X-Men books, how they work together, and how they built the world, with showrunner Jonathan Hickman who wrote the central spine for the books, with the Inferno mini-series, he will be bowing out. This was his plan for the year, before his current Substack plans were a reality, so rather than leaving X-Men for Substack, he was already leaving X-Men – and then Substack came along. A subtle difference. And it was his plans for doing X-Men as a digital comic book during the pandemic, plans that were not needed, which then informed what he would do for the Substack series Three Worlds Three Moons.
Hickman tells EW, "Oh, plans have changed entirely. When I pitched the X-Men story I wanted to do, I pitched a very big, very broad, three-act, three-event narrative, the first of which was House of X. And while this loosely worked as a three-year plan, I told Marvel upfront that I honestly had no idea how long the first part would last because there were a lot of interesting ideas that I had seeded that other creators would want to play with, and so, we left this rather open-ended. I was also pretty clear with all the writers that came into the office what the initial, three-act plan was so no one would be surprised when it was time for the line to pivot. However, I also knew that I was cooking with dynamite, and it was very possible that what I had written in House of X, and the ideas contained within, was not actually the first act of a three-act story, but something that resonated more deeply and worked more like Giant-Size X-Men, where it would represent a paradigm shift in the entire X-Men line for a prolonged period of time. So, during the pandemic, when the time came for me to start pointing things toward writing the second-act event, I asked everyone if they were ready for me to do that, and to a man, everyone wanted to stay in the first act. It was really interesting, because I appreciated that House of X resonated with them to the extent that they didn't want it to end, but the reality was that I knew I would be leaving the line early."
However, Bleeding Cool does understand that Jonathan Hickman is not leaving Marvel when he leaves X-Men. My sources tell me that he already has big plans, and I hear he may be turning his attention to a different corner of the Marvel universe. He tells EW, "Marvel doesn't really pay me to just write ongoing monthly books, there's an expectation for me to write bigger books that have a wider reach than that. In an effort to facilitate both things, we've all spent the last six months or so reorienting the line, me creating Inferno to assist with that, and then bringing in some new writers to add to the existing team, and then plan for the next several years of X-books. So after Inferno, I'll be leaving to go work on my 'Next Big Marvel Thing™' and starting in January the X-Line will rocket forward starting with a weekly series that leads into the very cool, refocused, line of books. Yes, it's taken us a little while to get everything assembled correctly, but the end result — everything that's coming after Inferno — is going to be pretty great."
He's done Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Ultimate Universe, and SHIELD… what could be next to get his attention? Spider-Man? The Eternals? The Silver Surfer? Worlds have to be built after all… and while writers Vita Ayala, Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing, Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, Si Spurrier, Zeb Wells, Leah Williams are named, there will obviously be others to come.