Looking back, Joshua Fine, Director of Development for Marvel Animation and Associate Producer for the first season of Wolverine and The X-Men, has a hard time picking out his favorite moments. Given the long and intricately woven season long story-arc for Wolverine and The X-Men’s first year, it’s easy to understand why. Still, Fine was able to comb through the first season of the latest X-Men animated series and come up with a “top five” of what he considers to be his memorable highlights from Wolverine and the X-Men inaugural television outing.
“’Future X,’ where we really get to have fun with the ‘Days of Future Past’ scenario and explore Xavier as an active protagonist.” tops off Fine’s personal top five list, followed up by ‘eXcessive Force.’
“Just getting to see Cyclops kick some serious butt and his fight with Multiple Man is one of my favorites in the series,” he quips.
Continuing his list, Fine lists “Battle Lines” at third place with “Guardian Angel” coming in second. Fine cites the parallel speeches between Magneto and Senator Kelly in “Battle Lines,” which he states still gives him goosebumps, and the role this episode played in ramping the season up to a different level for its high placement. Moving on to the second slot in his top five, Fine sees “Guardian Angel” as one of the more relevant and emotional stories of the season due to the conclusion of Angel’s tragic story and the interaction with the character’s father. Seeing Archangel unleashed for the first time is another reason Fine rates it so highly.
But, out of the first 26 episodes of Wolverine and The X-Men, what tops Fine’s list?
“’Breakdown,’” says Fine. “This is probably my favorite episode from beginning to end.”
“It’s got such an atypical structure to it, which I’m a fan of.” he adds. “I’m also a big Cyclops nut, and getting to see his back-story play out was very rewarding.”
But the best part of this episode for Fine, and why it deserves to top his?
“The X-Men First Class!” exclaims Fine.
Fine acknowledges that an incredible of manpower went in to not only creating his favorite episodes, but the entire first season of Wolverine and The X-Men. In fact, Fine says this show was in the works long before it was even announced, with work on the Wolverine and The X-Men’s first season story stretching back to late 2005.
“We have had a long time to sit and scrutinize these episodes,” says Fine. “Overall I think everyone that worked on the show is pretty proud of how it turned out and is excited for what the future might hold.”
At the same time, Fine adds that no one is more critical of Wolverine and The X-Men then the creative team on it. The creative team is constantly trying to identify areas of where they could have approached things differently, looking for improvement
“Between our own scrutiny and reading the message boards, which can in turn be the most rewarding or most depressing experience depending on who’s posting, I think we continue to learn and get better and better with every episode we do.” says Fine.
“I can say that one thing specifically that is always a challenge on this series is dealing with the time-travel nature of it,” Fine continues. “Trying to preserve continuity in any story that deals with time travel is always a bit of a headache, but we’re very attentive to it.”
Fine says the key is making sure the creative team knows the rules are and sticks to them, but not at the cost of forgetting to tell compelling and emotional stories.
“At the end of the day, knowing that X leads to Y which triggers Z doesn’t get us anywhere unless the audience is going to feel connected to what the characters are going through,” Fine explains. “So that’s always our M.O.”
And that M.O will continue into the second season, but what exactly can fans expect from Wolverine and The X-Men when new episodes debut in late 2010?
“I’m going to stay tight-lipped on season two,” Fine says coyly. “You’ll have to watch to find out!”