Does this really mean the return of the original Wolverine, Hulk and more?!
Last month, Marvel set the internet ablaze after sharing a tweet with just four simple words.
“GENERATIONS – coming Summer 2017,” was posted on Feb. 16, along with a picture that led to far more questions than answers.
An Alex Ross art piece had the likes of Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson both sporting Captain America garb, Peter Parker and Miles Morales wearing Spider-Man gear, and Logan and X-23 in the classic Wolverine yellow and blue — wait, what?! Wolverine died in 2014!
There were 10 pairings in all, the rest just as shocking, given the current status of the fractured Marvel Universe. Fans have already mourned Logan and now the same can be said for Bruce Banner, whose 55-year-run came to a close when he died last year in “Civil War II.” So what’s going on?
ABC News got on the horn with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso to answer the questions running through fans’ minds right now.
“Generations” launches in July and runs through September. The full list of pairings includes:
-Iron Man (Tony Stark and Riri Williams) – written by Brian Michael Bendis
-Spider-Man (Peter Parker and Miles Morales) – Brian Michael Bendis
-Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan) – G. Willow Wilson
-Thor (Odinson and Jane Foster) – Jason Aaron
-Hawkeye (Clint Barton and Kate Bishop) – Kelly Thompson
-Hulk (Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho) – Greg Pak
-Jean Grey (young and older) – Dennis Hopeless
-Wolverine (Logan and X23) – Tom Taylor
-Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers) – Margie Stohl
-Captain America (Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson) – Nick Spencer
Aside from a late Logan and Banner, not to mention Stark left in some sort of coma following the end of “Civil War II,” you also have a reeling Barton, struggling with the fact he just killed off his long-time Avengers teammate. There’s more! You also have Rogers, who’s just been outed (to fans) that he’s Hydra! The heroes in the Marvel Universe will soon find this out too during the events of “Secret Empire.” (Issue No. 0 hits stands next month).
So, the universe is a mess, but these iconic pairs could unite the heroes. But first, really, how is this possible?
“We are looking to honor the legacy of the entire universe, so we are taking the iconic legacy heroes and pairing them with the new class,” Alonso said. “It very much indicates where we are going in the future with all of these characters and what we’ve been planning for some time for the universe.”
The trials and tribulations that this series will bring for the 10 pairings should “illuminate” who they are and “indicate where they will be moving in the future.”
Alonso is well aware of the question at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“How did we do this is part of the fun,” he said. “Right now, Rogers isn’t much of a good guy. Why would Sam want to team up with him? Banner’s dead! Logan’s dead! These are questions that demand to be seen. What I will tell you is we have an ingenious device [to bring them back].”
Is this self-contained? Is this an alternate timeline?
In one word: No.
“These stories do happen, they really count. They really matter. This isn’t some alternate reality story or some time-travel story,” Alonso explained.
There was real excitement coming from the 20-plus-year veteran of the publishing industry when Alonso added, “I wish I could tell you the mechanism [to bring these characters back], but that’s also a bit of a spoiler.”
The series will tell 10 stories and will affect the younger generation of superheroes as much as the classic ones coming back.
For instance, Bendis told ABC News that “Riri is at the MOST impressionable stage of her life. Every reveal to her has fascinating potential,” so you can imagine what teaming up with Stark could do.
Furthermore, “The spiritual connection between Peter and Miles is so fascinating because they are SO different. They have different temperaments, different motivations, different upbringings, but their connection allows writers like myself to delve into the core principle of Spider-Man ‘with great power, must come great responsibility’ and examine it from a completely different perspective.”
For someone like Danvers, this can be a time to mentor a young Kamala Khan after she may have taken a bit of an image hit within the universe for her stance in “Civil War II.”
“At its heart, ‘MS MARVEL’ is about growing up, and a big part of growing up is discovering that your idols have feet of clay — and forgiving them for their flaws as you gain an adult understanding of your own. Carol and Kamala have a close, mentor-and-student kind of relationship, but it’s been tested in some very serious ways. They’ve come down on opposite sides of important questions,” Wilson said.
Taylor shared very different sentiments about Logan’s effect on an impressionable X-23.
“Being alongside Logan will only strengthen Laura’s resolve to be the best there is at what she does,” he said. “Logan battled his demons, literally, until his dying breath. Laura has overcome most of her own demons in ‘All-New Wolverine.’ She’s ready to show what else her claws can do. She’s ready to step away from her violent past and use her claws for good. You know, good stabbing.”
Is this world big enough for the both of us?
Can the Marvel Universe handle all these dual characters? Alonso said that is the space they’re now testing and playing in.
“There’s that old cliche, ‘absences makes the heart grow fonder,'” he added. “You don’t take these characters off the board with the intention to keep them off the board forever. One of the tropes of our medium is characters get a second wind. They die and come back. That’s part of the beauty of what we do.”
Marvel has spent the last year supporting and embracing change. They’ve let characters like Morales step up as THE Spider-Man, along with the likes of an Amadeus Cho taking up the mantle of the Totally Awesome Hulk.
But can the two coexist? Sure, someone like Stark can mentor Williams and Logan can certainly do the same for X-23, but what about both Spider-Men, the Hulks and two Jean Greys?
Alonso says this question will certainly be answered in this series. Fans will have a grasp on what to expect moving forward.
“[But] the answer might be different for each character,” he added. “There’s potential for friction, there’s potential for team-ups. Minimally, it’s something that’s going to require food for thought and introspection on the part of every character. That’s part of the goal when we were sculpting it.”
The stories will all intertwine but still be different at the same time.
“Particularly in the United States, we culturally enshrine the idea of unique genius and shun conformity; we like our hero to be the Chosen One, not the Chosen Two. That’s the tension that makes every legacy character so rich and fraught and complex,” “Captain Marvel” writer Margaret Stohl added.
ABC News and Marvel are both part of parent company Disney.