Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men Run Ends With ‘Inferno’ … For Now

by Tony Thornley

Since Inferno was announced, speculation has run rampant that this would mean the end of the Krakoan era of X-Men. Well, we finally have confirmation of that, in a way.

As revealed by Entertainment Weekly, Jonathan Hickman is stepping back from the X-line after Inferno wraps for “his next big Marvel thing.” And the reason why? In short, it’s a victim of the line’s massive success — when titles like X-Factor and Hellions are outselling stalwarts like Spider-Man and Avengers.

Inferno #1 Cover By Jerome Opena

Essentially, the initial plan Hickman propsed for the line — a three act structure kicked off with House of X/ Powers of X — has expanded as creators like Gerry Duggan, Leah Williams, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Zeb Wells, Al Ewing, and Benjamin Percy joined the line. That meant as the it became more and more successful, more plots and elements came into play that expanded the story the group was telling.

“Oh, plans have changed entirely,” Hickman said to EW. “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,” he continued, “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.”

He further confirmed that over the last six months he helped reorient the line, bring in new talent (such as Si Spurrier and Victor LaValle), and prepared it for the future. The line will continue after Inferno, with an as-yet untitled weekly series that sets up what’s to come, as well as presumably the other current titles. In addition, Hickman is a big enough name that Marvel wants him on something big even as he plans 3 Moons, 3 Worlds at Substack. So what’s Hickman’s next big thing? Could it be a follow-up to Secret Wars? Or maybe a sequel to his other big Marvel event, Avengers Vs. X-Men?

Who knows? But until we see it announced, we can’t wait to see what’s next, both for Krakoa and Hickman.

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