When is Cutter coming back?

This question was most sweetly and earnestly asked of me by a young woman during Richard’s and my autographing session at the San Diego comic convention last month. I don’t remember my exact response – something tantalizing about “The Final Quest” perhaps. But as I spoke, I really felt like asking her, “Which Cutter?” Because there are two versions of him coexisting in my mind right now — the mature chieftain born of twenty-one years of intricately woven, serialized plot, and the Cutter of 1999 — the movie Cutter.

1999’s Cutter IS Cutter, no question. His attitudes, hopes, dreams, behaviors, temper fits are all there. And so is that buff bod – YUM! You’ll like him. He’s youthful, all action and swashbuckling romance, an elf of few words. Since we’ve kept the dialogue to a minimum, his funniest and/or tenderest moments are revealed by his actions. You could say this Cutter’s a shorthand version of the character as he appeared in Books 1 through 4. To moviegoers who don’t know Elfquest, he’ll seem innocent, brash, his whole life ahead of him. But you long-time fans already know his future and will have a more multi-layered experience.

What we’ve done is a free adaptation which really captures the heart and soul of the series. Marv Wolfman and Craig Miller insisted on being faithful to the spirit, if not the letter, from the get-go. The movie won’t be “G” rated, as we haven’t shied away from the darker, more adult moments. Many incidents are taken directly from the books, and what we’ve invented for the sake of film storytelling is spookily true to the elves.

That said, I must confess the “other” Cutter howls to me more often than I let on. The mature chief, with all his new responsibilities and challenges, is much more closely connected to my soul than the youth. I miss him too. He has much to accomplish that must wait until I’m free to do “The Final Quest” justice.

Right now our face-furred sword-wielder is back in the original Holt, busy raising a teenaged human daughter! What could be more challenging than that? Richard and I are eager to bring you this storyline, which comprises part one of “The Final Quest,” just as soon as possible. It will appear in full color, in a format we’ve never tried before. The plans are laid, we’re excited about it and all we ask of you is more of what we know to be an Elfquestfan’s chief virtue: patience.

Meanwhile, I sincerely hope you enjoy the new “Elfquest 2000 – Greatest Moments” calendar which has just come out. The color reproduction, thanks to Richard’s blood, sweat and tears, is the best ever. Many of the plates are inspired by the movie, which is inspired by the comics. *whew!* Gives new resonance to the old “chicken or egg” riddle. See if you can guess which scenes actually made it into the script.

As for the movie, it’s safe to say it’s in the “no turning back” stage. After five years of development hell, I couldn’t be more pleased. There have been many worthy attempts to adapt the complex storyline of the first four books into a manageable screenplay. But this one solves the comics-to-screen problems best. Marv, Craig and I recently finished the second draft of the script, which means there’ll be no more rewrites (thank the High Ones!) until we and our European partners reach the design phase later this year.

That’s about all I can say for now. The cauldron is bubbling and the brew is coming up potent. Keep the elves in your hearts as Richard, I and all our colleagues and helpers keep you in ours.

‘Til next time…

Shade and Sweet Water,

Wendy (Elfmom) Pini