In 2019, Jonathan Hickman headed up Marvel’s X-Men relaunch. At the time, Hickman talked about the huge plans he had for Marvel’s mutants and so far, two years in, he’s proven a man of his word. Hickman’s HoX/PoX titles set the X-Men on a path towards not only dominance, but also destruction, the latter seemingly the premise of the upcoming Inferno limited series. Fans have been left wondering for a while now if Inferno would mark the end of Hickman’s time on the line or if it was just a jumping off point to the next chapter of the mutant story: turns out it’s a bit of both.
In an exclusive interview with EW, Hickman confirms that he will be stepping away from the X-line following Inferno but that plans for the line have evolved over the years and that the seeds planted in HoX and PoX are now going to be cultivated by other creators moving forward.
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.
Hickman added that while HoX/PoX were originally thought of as the first of a three-act plan, it turned out to be something much larger than that: “paradigm shift in the entire X-Men line.” And so while Hickman had planned to move onto the second act, the rest of the team working on the other X-books convinced Hickman that they were having too much fun to move on.
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.
Hickman has spent the last six months or so reshaping the plan and bringing in new creative teams to continue to move the first act forward, planning 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.
Inferno, it seems, will be Hickman’s mutant swan song for now and whether or not he comes back to the line once Marvel is ready to move on to act two remains to be seen. For the time being, Hickman will continue working not only on whatever his next big Marvel project is, but also his newly announced 3 Moons, 3 Worlds Substack projects. Hickman has set big things in motion for the mutants of Marvel Comics, however, and helped return them to the top of the charts for the publisher so while he might be moving on, it’s unlikely his given up on his plan entirely.