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Mutant X Articles: 4/3/02 Tom McCamus takes time off

SciFi Wire 4/3/02

Mutant X Cast Changing

Season two will bring about some casting changes in the hit syndicated series Mutant X as Tom McCamus, who plays evil villain Eckhart, takes some time off from the series, and a new big bad takes on the good guys, a spokeswoman told SCI FI Wire. Michael Easton will guest-star in the season finale as new bad guy Gabriel Ashlocke, "the first child of Genomex." Easton will become a regular recurring guest star next season, and he has been signed for several episodes.

"Gabriel is going to be an antagonist to the Mutant X team," the spokeswoman said. He is Patient Zero, the very first new mutant, and as a child he was captured and neutralized by Genomex because he was so powerful. "His new mutant abilities were in flux, so Genomex put him in a pod. He has this following called The Strand, and The Strand is sort of an alternative to Mutant X. He's sprung from his pod by one of these followers. He has super mutant powers, and he could be the most dangerous new mutant ever." In fact, Gabriel has all the new mutant powers, and "his new mutant gifts are off the meter."

McCamus, who is starring in the play Richard III, will return to the series next season as a regular recurring guest star. In other casting news, Krista Allen of Baywatch fame will guest-star in the upcoming episode "Deadly Desire," which is set to air at the end of April.

© SciFi Wire

Excerpt from SciFi 6/02: Forbes March, John Shea, and executive producer Howard Chaykin, on Ground Control

The DNA-Team: Go behind the scenes to learn the ABCs on the syndicated superheroes of Mutant X
By Kathie Huddleston Scifi: The Official Magazine of the SCI FI Channel June 2002

After putting in a successful first season, most writers might relax and dig in. However, Chaykin and his team have big changes in store for Mutant X that will affect all the characters. The biggest change will be caused by the temporary departure of McCamus, whose character, Eckhart, fuels the conspiracy to hunt down every new mutant he can find. “Tom McCamus is an astonishing actor. He’s basically going off to do Richard III. He’s wonderful, and frankly he didn’t want to expend himself. But he definitely comes back, there’s not a question of that,” said Chaykin.

Losing an outstanding villain like Eckhart as a regular presence has the potential to hurt a series, especially one that’s just starting to establish itself. However, Shea believes the writers are up to the challenge. “It’s been my experience that that which is at first seemingly really negative and horrible, like the thought of losing Tom, turns into a positive thing, because it allows new ideas and new creativity to enter the picture. So Tom is willingly stepping away from the role so he can pursue other opportunities. I’m very happy for him and I would do the same thing if I were in his position. What that will do is allow the writers to introduce new people from Genomex into the mix, and I already know it’s going to be fantastic because we’re going to introduce them in the last episode of the season.”

McCamus will return as a regular recurring guest star, but perhaps in a new incarnation, according to Chaykin. “One of the apt elements of our franchise is transformation. Don’t hold me to this, but one of the things we’re thinking about doing is putting Eckhart through a transformation that will make him more lethal, more deadly, you know, scarier in an entirely different way.”

Chaykin and his team already have a brand-new villain lined up to join Eckhart in his battle against Mutant X, and to take over when McCamus isn’t around. Michael Easton (VR.5, Total Recall 2070) has been signed for the role, in which he’ll probably be a regular recurring guest star. “We’re introducing a new villain in the season finale, named Gabriel Ashlocke, who is the most powerful new mutant ever and the first child of Genomex known as Patient Zero. He’s one scary son of a bitch. It’s a pretty exciting turn. One of the things about this show that we always try to do is take a challenge and make it a solution. It puts us in a position of trying some new directions and new stuff, and we love doing that. I think we’ve got some great stuff in store for you next season. This change is a positive one and it gives us an opportunity to do some new stuff alongside of the traditional stuff. It will effectively keep Tom in the mix in a way that’s kind of exciting.”

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