On Nov. 16, Escape From Jesus Island fan Jeff Ansell posted on our wall. He suggested a mutant whose only form of mobility was to drag itself with its arms. Four days later, Mortimer unveiled this freak and we let you, the fans, name him.
Bill McLean’s name submission, Meat Wagon, dominated in our most lopsided Name The Mutant poll yet, earning more than three times as many votes as the closest competitor. The fans had spoken. Meat Wagon was the newest resident of Jesus Island.
I (writer Shawn French) then got to work incorporating this character into the story. While the script has been finished for some time, I deliberately left references to a lot of the supporting mutants vague. I didn’t want our fan-inspired characters to be meaningless background cameos, so I created a lot of cool featured moments in the story and left them ‘uncast’.
When we create a new mutant, I first develop the backstory. I always envision a 22-page prequel comic about each character. What is his/her story? Once I know who they are, I go through the script and ‘cast’ the character in three or four of those open scene slots. I then tailor the scenes to take full advantage of this new character. I develop an arc for the mutant and his/her relationships to other mutants that will carry throughout the story.
Meat Wagon was a simple one. I knew exactly where he would go the second I saw him. His name only reinforced it. He’s a scavenger in the tunnels beneath the ReGen Corp testing facility. I immediately pictured his wagon wheel tracks in a pool of blood. I pictured running down a tunnel away from this thing, while it pulls itself after you with alarming speed.
This mutant features heavily in our opening sequence, where a group of young activists break into ReGen. Without your input, this character would not exist. He is: Meat Wagon.