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MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008


SAN DIEGO -- Marvel Studios and Nicktoons unveiled the new animated series, Wolverine and the X-Men, on Saturday night at Comic-Con International. The first three episodes of the series -- which comprise a mini-movie of sorts -- were aired.

"This series is our answer to the 90s series," Marvel Studios' Craig Kyle said in introducing the episodes. "We tried to do something different and put the guy in charge (Wolverine) who shouldn't be in charge and see how they do without the moral compass (of Professor Xavier)."

Following are highlights from the panel:

* The episodes shown were all written by Greg Johnson, the series' story editor/producer. They set up a lot of elements for the series, with Professor Xavier and Jean Grey disappearing after a mysterious blast ravages the mansion.

With the government agency MRD imprisoning mutants, Wolverine decides it's time to reform the X-Men. With Beast's help, he reforms the team, just in time to encounter The Brotherhood, are preparing a strike against Senator Kelly and his newly launched Sentinel program.

The X-Men locate a comatose Professor Xavier in Genosha, a mutant refuge reigned over by Magneto, and bring him home. There, a vision from Xavier in the future reveals a horrible destiny for the team.

* The core X-Men team in the episodes shown included Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops, Shadowcat, Emma Frost and Iceman.

* The Brotherhood's members included Domino, Quicksilver, Avalanche, Toad, Blob and possibly Rogue, who wavers between the Brotherhood and the X-Men.

* Also appearing in the episodes were Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Angel, Pyro, Boom-Boom and Dust.

* After the screenings Kyle introduced Johnson, supervising director/producer Boyd Kirkland and voice talent Tom Kane (Magneto), Fred Tatasciore (Beast), Steve Blum (Beast), Liam O'Brien (Angel/Nightcrawler) and Yuri Lowenthal (Iceman).

* Johnson said that a lot of the writing for the series took place within a small group of people. "We were really focused on telling the best story we could," he said, describing the series as "a journey of 26 episodes."

* Kirkland, who worked with Kyle and Johnson on X-Men: Evolution, said there was little network interference in creating the series. "We made an effort to get back to the comic-book roots and the source material," he said. "It was a similar experience with Batman, where the creators get in a sitation where they are able to do their thing."

* Blum first voiced Wolverine in the Ultiamate Alliance video game. "This is the role of a lifetime," he said. "This is every 7- and 8- and 9- and 10- and up-year-old's dream. There's nothing better, there's nothing nastier or more fulfilling to play this role."

* Kane's performance as Magneto is influenced by Ian McKellen from the X-Men movies. "I wasn't trying to do him dead on because he would be too old in terms of the look," he said. "They kind of had to direct me and shift me and shape me into something that had that flavor and sound. People will go, 'It's still Magneto,' but it is also still true to this design."

* Tatasciore, who also will resume his role as the Hulk in the show's seventh episode, said he loved the design and concept of Beast. "He's really dragging the knuckles and he can kick butt, but would love to settle things intelligently," he said.

* O'Brien said working on the series was "nerd heaven" and that the recording room for the series was called the Danger Room.

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