Marvel held another "Next Big Thing" press conference dealing with the outcomes from UNCANNY AVENGERS #14 and the deaths that resulted. How this will affect the team and title as well as what we can expect was discussed.
On bringing Steve McNiven into this arc: Rick says he brings a sense of grandeur. "You know his presence means something big is happening." Given the scope of the Ragnarok Now! story, Steve's presence means "something big and epic is happening througout the Marvel Universe."
On Kang's recruitment drive: Kang's plot is something they have plans for in a big spectacular way. We've seen him manipulating history in different points in time. Kang is so powerful but he's tethered to his sense of honor. He wants to be a conquerer but will do it with honor rather than just cheat by using time travel. How much of his plan is going according to plan? He'll become a more central focus in the story.
Tom Brevort on Rick's plan for the deaths in issue 14: Tom said the deaths in issue 14 were shocking because they were originally solicited for issue 12. Fans got 40 extra pages with the characters! Why just Kang when you can have others like Doom 2099, Spider-Girl, Iron Man 2020 and another version of Elizabeth Braddock? It's not difficult to see that Remender has been setting things up since the first issue. Brevoort feels bad for Wonder Man because no one cared about his death. "Where are the Simon Williams fans? Speak out!"
What's happening with the team as a result of the deaths: Brevoort jokes the series will end with issue 19 because they'll run out of characters. Or they'll ask (X-Men editor) Nick Lowe if they can have more characters.
Rick on the future of the team: He wanted to show some sense of unity after AvX. The more he got into the story, he saw that trust hadn't been earned and didn't feel natural. It became apparent to continue to shatter and break things. Between Civil War, Schism and AvX - events where heroes fight heroes, there hasn't been much of a look at the fact that we have heroes fighting heroes. In 14, they continue to not trust each other. Logan's history in X-Force is brought up, Havok was ignored by Cap, even though he was put in charge. Everyone is behaving in character but because of the threat of the Apocalypse Twins and Kang, they still continue and there will be big consequences to deal with. Will they be able to
Issue 18.Now: The conclusion to Ragnarok Now is "pretty shocking," according to Remender. In the Planet X story, there will be a mutant homeworld in space. What is going on on this planet? Mutants may be getting everything they thought they wanted without having asked for it. There will be no humans except for Wasp. They'll continue to break into factions and have strife. We'll also see the story from the point of the last human on the planet.
Brevoort says the good news for Havok and Wasp fans is they make it to issue 18 in some way. But what happens to them after that..? Things will not be getting better. Issue 14 is the "feel good" issue.
As the series moves forward, how much of a focus will be on Kang trying to bring together all these characters together from different timelines?
Rick says we still don't know what was going on in issue 12 when the twins appeared in Kang's throne room. They laugh at him over their victory but we don't really know what that victory is yet. That will be addressed in a couple issues down the road. Why did Kang go to these futures to get "helpers"? "If you count the number of timelines and then go back to some of the things Immortus told Captain America in an earlier issue, you'll be able to start to piece together some of the clues." We're still in the second act of the story and we'll still have to circle back to the Red Skull with Xavier's powers and his S-Men. What have the S-Men been doing?
What about the flash-forward from issue 4 showing the state of several characters in their future. How close are these to happening?
Rick says there are a lot of things at play. There is time travel involved and alternate futures. "Who knows what you were seeing?"
From the covers, we see Wasp. What will her role be?
Rick says Wasp is a character that was the leader of the Avengers when he was a kid. In his mind, she'll always have that role of leadership. That's something he thinks, whether she's conscious of it, she's still doing in a natural way. She's going to be placed in an interesting position as the only human on Planet X. Does Magneto still hold a grudge from SECRET WARS #6?
Will there be time for the team to get back together and try to deal with what happened in 14?
Rick says there's a lot still going on. The team's reaction is still coming. He doesn't want to give too much away. The deaths will be revealed to other cast members at certain points and won't help with the moral. The deaths don't play a whole lot into their motives, because, at this point, stopping the twins is what they're all about. They'll discover that their failure to work together and trust each other lead to the misunderstanding. Rogue has been sinking into a deep depression since the death of Xavier and blames Scarlet Witch. Rogue had a sort of selective memory followed the chain of events back to Scarlet Witch. She wanted to avoid another M-Day. The lack of trust is what keeps the team split.
It seems the storyline goes back to UNCANNY X-FORCE, what's the big over-arching plan?
Rick says he can't reveal where it's leading to. It's all earth-shattering and they're very happy with it. In the third year of X-FORCE, some of the seeds of ideas with the twins were laid out. The ideas were completely re-worked and changed.
Brevoort points out that this isn't just a continuation from Rick's X-FORCE stories. These are not those same story ideas he had. "Had Rick done another year of X-FORCE, these would not have been the stories he would have told. For one thing, I wouldn't have let him kill Scarlet Witch in X-FORCE." They would have gone down different paths.
Will we see more of Captain America's emotional state after the events of Dimension Z?
"The events of Dimension Z will definitely be building up and playing a role in CAPTAIN AMERICA, UNCANNY AVENGERSand other things I have planned. Dimension Z can be blamed for the the team splitting up, because of Cap's emotional state coming out of there."
Will the series continue to stand separate from the other big events in the Marvel Universe?
Brevoort says that because this is a big 18-issue story, it didn't make sense for the series to pause for the team to deal with other threats. Issue 5 started this big story. The story is still taking place in the Marvel Universe. As for how and where it sits with everything else, Tom says he's not saying. Until the story is done, he doesn't want people reading any books and feeling less of a sense of disbelief. He mentions Cap fighting Nuke in his title and if UNCANNY happened after, you know he'll survive one outcome, etc.
Rick says, without wanting to spoil things, the story will come back to Evan. Warren might be involved. When and how, he will not give away.
UNCANNY AVENGERS #18 is on sale December 18.