Following my recent review of the new BBC animated detective series Meta4orce, the series production team have kindly answered some questions about the genesis and future of the series.
I’ll be publishing these in three parts, kicking-off with series writer Peter Milligan. Starting his comic career in the 80s with 2000AD, he has since gone on to work on a number of high-profile projects including The X-Men.
Jonathan Melville: How did the idea for Meta4orce come about? Did you come up with the story before deciding on the animated format?
Peter Milligan: I come from a comic book background, and wanted to draw on some of that peculiar comic book sensibility – bodies that are altered, identities changed, regular people becoming extraordinary – and ally it to a futuristic detective story.
I knew from the outset that this was going to be an animated format, but it could be that some germs of the idea had been floating around, with a view to them being used in a comic.
Was their ever any discussion of the series being live-action?
As the idea developed, and we all became excited by what we saw as the idea’s potential, there was talk about live action.
Were you given free range with the script?
Up to a point. Within the parameters of a story that the BBC agreed to, and the constraints on a story aimed at teens and to be shown in the afternoon on BBC Two, there was quite a bit of freedom for character development and plot twists.
How different is writing for animation compared to comics and films?
Not as different as you might imagine. The characters have to be three dimensional and seem to have a life outside of the story. The plot has to make sense, and hopefully surprise, and say something about your characters.