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Strange Days: Greg Johnson on Scripting the Sorcerer Supreme

Having served as the screenwriter for all four of Marvel/Lionsgates’ Direct To DVD features, Greg Johnson is more than familiar with the particulars of writing these features. The Marvel Animation Age caught up with Greg to talk about scripting The Sorcerer Supreme just in time for it’s release.

MARVEL ANIMATION AGE: How did you come to work on Dr. Strange and why was he chosen to star in his own feature?

GREG JOHNSON: Allow me to get a running start at this question. Part of maintaining a career in animation is to be able to share the same vision for a project that the client does. In this case, Marvel. More specifically, Avi Arad. Part of what makes working in animation so much fun is bringing your own ‘take’ to things. But if that ‘take’ doesn’t match the boss’s, then it can be a miserable experience. I have had the good fortune of working with Avi on several series. I was part of the team that revamped the Iron Man show in the 90′s. From there, I went onto the Incredible Hulk. The first season was definitely more of creator driven effort, and the network – being new – didn’t know enough to actually get in the way. After a successful first season, though, they figured it out. With their own agenda in hand, the network got rid of those in the production that pushed too hard against them, and then promptly shifted the focus. I did my best on the scripts, but… oh well. One of the times in my career where my ‘take’ didn’t match the networks.

(Side note: the network executive at the time had just come off of overseeing Power Rangers, and it was obvious she saw the Hulk as an extension of that – a normal person transforming into a fighting machine. She wanted him to have a signature ‘move’ when he transformed, and a signature line. That’s where ‘eat green’ came from.)

Through it all, though, Avi really appreciated my efforts, and particularly enjoyed the story-telling in that first season. I next crossed paths with him when I was asked to write a couple of freelance episodes on the first season of X-Men: Evolution, and then was hired on as a story editor midway through that season.

Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts , which would like to thank Greg for taking the time to talk to us once again. Cheers Greg!

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