Today’s Feature: The Inner Circle: Reflections on Wolverine and the X-Men (2010) – Wolverine and the X-Men: The Complete Series (2009)

Dark, complex and epic, Wolverine and the X-Men would run for 26 episodes through 2009. Fans immediately took notice as the show captured the emotional and politcal intrigue that has driven the franchise for decades, a surprising achievement for a cartoon that was surely marketed toward children. Though highly rated, the series would be cancelled officially in 2010 without much explanation. We don’t get an explanation here either, but there is a lot to learn. Through The Inner Circle, fans are treated to an informative discussion of the shows development and execution. From the start, the creators bucked the restrictions normally placed on animated series, developing a massive cast who’s narratives would not only drive them through the action, but through many emotional milestones. Seriously, the creators mention that there were about 70 specific character designs created. The show also juggles storylines in the past, present and future. Something difficult to do in any media.  Well known names in the industry like Stephen E. Gordon, Boyd Kirkland, Chris Yost and Greg Johnson all worked on the show, many appearing in this documentary. Even with this dream team, it seems rather clear that the show was Craig Kyle’s baby. Kyle and crew took influence from the likes of Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont and Joss Whedon while crafting their own narrative. Actors recount Kyle’s hands on approach to the show and his involvement with every aspect, even in the recording booth. Though not as well remembered as some of its contemporaries, Wolverine and the X-Men might be the most unique of the bunch. With the potential return of the franchise to Marvel Studios, we may soon see another X-Men animated series. It would have a hard act to follow.

The Inner Circle: Reflections on Wolverine and the X-Men is available on the Wolverine and the X-Men: The Complete Series Blu-Ray and DVD sets. I must recommend the Blu-Ray version as the show was animated for HD.