In 1999, television viewers were introduced to creator Rockne S. O'Bannon's epic space opera saga “Farscape,” and the story of an astronaut named John Crichton transported by a worm hole in space to the other side of the universe. There, Crichton gets picked up by Moya, a living space ship and becomes part of its crew of fugitive outcasts. Over the course of four television seasons, Crichton and his fellow alien outcasts bonded by trying to make their own way in a complex universe. This lead to strange alien worlds, and encounters with bizarre phenomenon and vile villains.
Crichton and his ship mates were an intriguing band of heroes, and they were opposed by a collection of equally interesting villains. The most fascinating, though, was the series' primary antagonist, Scorpius. Believing that Crichton had important knowledge about worm holes, Scorpius chased him and his friends across the galaxy. He hoped to take that knowledge and turn it into a weapon to use against the Scarrans, a race of reptilian beings who created Scorpius when one of their number raped a female Sebacean, a race of aliens that resemble humans.
Scorpius's quest for a wormhole weapon and his vendetta against the Scarrans came to a conclusion in the two part “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars”, a mini-series that aired in 2004 and wrapped up many of the ongoing plot threads from the TV series. “The Peacekeeper Wars” wasn't the end of the “Farscape” saga, though. In 2008 BOOM! Studios began publishing a series of comic mini-series that fit into "Farscape" cannon. In 2009 they launched a “Farscape” ongoing series written by Rockne O'Bannon and Keith R. DeCandido, which is set after “The Peacekeeper Wars” and continues the adventures of Crichton and the crew of Moya.
However, BOOM! and O'Bannon aren't just interested in telling new stories about the heroes of “Farscape.” They also want to tell some tales about the villains. This April they'll launch a new ongoing series, titled “Farscape: Scorpius”, which focuses on the titular leather clad villain. CBR News spoke with O'Bannon about the project.
CBR News: For its entire run, “Farscape” was primarily a space opera story that focused on heroic outcasts trying to make their own way in a complicated universe. What made you want to tell stories starring the series main antagonist?
Rockne S. O'Bannon: The folks at BOOM! and I knew after the arc of the first “Farscape” comic series that Scorpius was out there somewhere, planning something – and we all just wanted to know what he was up to!
How new reader-friendly is “Farscape: Scorpius?” Is this a good jumping on point for fans who have not picked up the other “Farscape” comics and readers who aren't familiar with the TV series? What do they need to know about the title character and the universe he inhabits?
The idea of making this new series accessible to non-"Farscape" fans was part of the discussion from the very first day. The new “Scorpius” series doesn’t go back to square one, and it is not an origin story. It does take place in present time, concurrent with the ongoing “Farscape” comic book – but we’re hoping that readers new to the Farscape-verse can and will quickly get caught up in who Scorpius is
and all that he’s capable of.
Scorpius is probably one of the most goal-driven “Farscape” characters. During the TV series and “The Peacekeeper Wars” it seemed like his two goals were to gain revenge upon the Scarrans and obtain a wormhole weapon. In the aftermath of “The Peacekeeper Wars” is he still driven by these goals? Or does he want something else? And is Scorpius the type of person to ever be content once he achieves something? Or do you think he'll always be pursuing some new goal?
At the end of “The Peacekeeper Wars,” poor Scorpy was indeed left without his long-held raison d’être. He tried to find renewed purpose in the first “Farscape” comic book series by offering his services as counselor to Rygel’s evil cousin Bishan. That didn’t end the way he was expecting – and, honestly, he probably knew it wasn’t a suitable new career direction for him anyway. So when we meet him at the beginning of the new “Scorpius” series, he’s a man adrift. But Scorpius isn’t someone given to drifting. As your question states, he’s only himself when he’s driven by something. And in the new series it isn’t long before he finds a whole new drive, a new purpose, a new source of power, beyond anything he’s experienced before.
April's “Farscape: Scorpius” #0 kicks off the series and for readers who are meeting Scorpius for the first time in that issue how would you describe his villainy? Does Scorpius have a moral compass?
Scorpius doesn’t think in terms of good and evil. Too limiting for him. Why waste precious thought considering if someone is “good” or “evil?” To Scorpius everyone he comes into contact with is merely a means to an end – a pawn in whatever plot is presently blossoming in his twisted imagination. Befriend someone, betray someone – whatever is required at the moment. Offer one person a sumptuous banquet and offer someone else unfathomable torture – they both carry the exact same weight for him, serve the same purpose. Always Scorpius’s purpose.
In terms of plot and themes what is the opening story of “Farscape: Scorpius” about?
Just as Scorpius likes to sometimes befriend, sometimes torture, I must do the same. So in terms of plot and themes, you’ll just have to wait for the “Scorpius” premiere issue...
What can you tell us about the settings in the opening story of “Scorpius?” Are you taking Farscape fans to some familiar locales? Or does the story unfold in new places? Or is it a mixture of both?
More torture. Excellent. (Ok, that sounded more like Mr. Burns than Scorpy).
What obstacles and adversaries are you interested in throwing at your protagonist? What types of characters do you think make the best foils for Scorpius?
Scorpius loves putting himself among the most powerful factions – and then working his way into a position of power when they aren’t looking. But what would happen if he came across a new faction in the Uncharted Territories more powerful than any he’s ever experienced before…?
Is there anything you can tell us about the supporting cast of “Scorpius?” Will they be new characters? Or familiar faces? And do you have plans for John Crichton and Aeryn Sun to make an appearance early on in this series? Or is that an encounter that you want to wait on?
The “Scorpius” books take place in the Uncharted Territories familiar to “Farscape” fans. But out on his own like this, Scorpius doesn’t run in the same circles as Crichton, Aeryn and the others aboard Moya. So readers can expect plenty of truly bizarre new characters and species.
How would you describe the tone of “Farscape: Scorpius?” It sounds like “Farscape” fans will get the same sci-fi action they enjoy but that it will be presented in a darker, morally murky, almost noirish way. Is that correct?
Exactly. “Farscape” has always been a pretty twisted tale, but it was never more twisted than when Scorpius was on the scene. Now picture a series where Scorpy is front and center.
“Farscape Scorpius” #0 is being scripted by David Alan Mack and drawn by Mike Ruiz. What's it like working with your collaborators? What do you feel they bring to the project?
Amazing creative mojo happening. David Alan Mack marries an encyclopedic familiarity of the Farscape-verse with a wicked-good imagination (emphasis on wicked). And Mike Ruiz is creating a look for the “Scorpius” books that is still “Farscape”, but also uniquely its own, and his own. I’m busting at the proverbial seams for everybody to read/see it.
In addition to “Farscape: Scorpius” there's also a “Farscape” ongoing series. Will “Scorpius” and the “Farscape” ongoing have much interaction? Will we see events from one book impact the other? Or do the characters' goals and current locations mean that these series will stand on their own for the time being?
The two series take place at the same time, so Crichton and the Moya crew are out there doing their own thing at the same time that Scorpius is doing his. What’s great about starting up this new series is that we get a grander glimpse of the ongoing Farscape-verse. Crichton and Company have a very powerful gravity, as does Scorpius. So I can’t believe that they aren’t going to be pulled toward each other again sometime in the future. The best thing fans can do if they really want to stay fully aware of all that’s happening in the Farscape-verse is to read both series (**shameless plug alert**).
Any final thoughts on “Farscape: Scorpius?”
In the “Farscape” TV series, when Wayne Pygram came onscreen in the role of Scorpius, it was cause to sit up and pay closer attention because we knew something truly freaky was about to happen. Now there’s a whole new comic books series dedicated entirely to Scorpius’s truly freaky moves. Cause once again to sit up and pay close attention.