John Byrne Explains the Origins of His Potential X-Men Return

Writer/artist John Byrne, known for his acclaimed runs on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and Fantastic Four, announced in August that he’s spoken with Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski about a possible return to the X-Men. While nothing is official just yet, the creator has revealed more details about the potential project, referred to as X-Men: Elsewhen.

Speaking with Syfy Wire, Byrne explained the series, which would take place in an alternate timeline in which Phoenix survived the ending of “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” originated as a way to see whether he could still produce comics the way he did at Marvel. “Somebody had asked me on my forum whether there was any chance that I would go back to Marvel,” Byrne recalled, “and I got to thinking about it. ‘Can I go back to Marvel? Can I even still do that? Can I pencil for someone else to ink?’ I thought. ‘Let’s pretend it would be a kind of Elseworld where Phoenix didn’t die.”

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Byrne posted the pages on his website as he produced them, which caught the eye of Cebulski, leading to discussions about his possible return. Byrne last left Marvel in 2000 following a dispute over the cancellation of X-Men: The Hidden Years because of a decision to limit the number of X-Men titles.

As Byrne himself stated, nothing is concrete about his possible return to Marvel, but there’s always a chance he could come back to the company. Cebulski noted earlier this month that although there have been no formal discussions, the opportunity is there.

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