The man behind the big upcoming web series, Western X (producer Michael Flores), was kind enough to answer some questions for Lightning Octopus.
I’m personally excited about this series and hope you take a moment to follow them through their various media outlets. It’ll be worth it.
Tell us about the world of Western X.
The world that we know no longer (or never has) existed. This is something we will explore fully within the series. The idea or mythology behind this world is a bit abstract but the best way to describe it would be to say that the absence of faith has chewed on the minds and hearts of man for so long that it has opened a doorway for the rise of lawlessness and destruction; thus establishing evil men to reign over mankind.
The myths and legends of old have returned and ruthless malevolent armies march across the known world.
Most of the world is controlled by a military force known as the Black Coats; this militant army is led by a man known as “The General.” No one can remember a time when the Black Coats had not ruled. Most of the population have become second-rate citizens with very little freedom; left alone if they pledge obedience to the General’s banner.
Within the last century, a self proclaimed prophet of god, Diego Duran, has attempted to wage war against the instiable blood thirsty army, but was killed after a decade of civil war. The war left many split as to where their loyalties lie, leaving many to flee to the outlying towns where the Black Coat presence is minimal.
What can you tell us about X?
In season 1 we will explore X’s origins but don’t expect all your questions to be answered. Western X at it’s core is a mystery: where are we? who is he? etc.
One thing I can say is that he belongs to a group/gang known as The Frontiersmen. Once we begin to explore The Frontiersmen we will begin to learn more about X.
Where did the idea for Western X come from?
The idea of Western X was an idea I was playing around with for a long time.
The original concept was actually a sci-fi western where the last remaining humans on earth were slaves to a post-apocalyptic vampire nation. It did not take long for me to realize that the budget on something like that was way too much on a project that was at the time being completely self financed. So I set aside that script and I began to rework some of the elements into a grittier take on a fictional western world.
I love westerns, they are my favorite genre of film (particularly the sub-genres of spaghetti westerns, weird west, and even steampunk), but they’ve been done. So I needed something fresh, unique and never really seen before. And most importantly, something that others would enjoy watching.
After a few weeks of note taking and stealing from my vampire script, the concept of Western X was born; a world filled with mystery, war, hate, magic, religion, mysticism, folklore and evil.
What’s your favorite thing about making the show?
I like challenging myself and I began this project as a way to improve and test my visual effects knowledge. So, from the beginning I knew I wanted to create a very unique looking world.
I decided to build a a large16’x16’ model that would come to be known in Western X as “The Demon Valley” and “The Bandit Hills”. Some people have asked me why am I doing all this work when you can go out and shoot on location, and, truthfully, we probably could have but I really wanted a look that could only be created. Everyone shoots the mountains here in Arizona and I wanted something unique to Western X.
Additionally, I wanted a giant “rip” in the earth’s crust, in the shape of an X, to cover the entire valley floor. We were able to shoot epic looking aerials of the valley that would otherwise be completely impossible. So, I’d say this has been the most enjoyable part of making the series so far.
What are some Arizona locations we might recognize?
The scenes shot within Rawhide you may or may not recognize because we built a lot of sets within their already standing buildings, but the exterior scenes shot at Goldfield probably will be recognizable at times–if you’ve been to that town.
Are most of you from Arizona?
I’m for Arizona, born and raised. I would need to check to make sure but from the top of my head I’d say most of the crew during production is from Arizona.
The cast, Dustin Hale, Richard Anderson, Jerry Eselgroth, Kaily Alissano, Aaron Ginn-Forsberg, Kerry Keepers, Ross Nelson, and Jayson James are based here in AZ but Deneen Melody is from the Chicago area. Vernon Wells of course is coming from Los Angeles/Australia.
Besides the lead actors of the series we have a very large supporting cast and all are outstanding actors exercising their craft here in AZ.
Also, you may recognize someone else in the series: Arizona geek favorite Victoria Paege. She shows up later on in the show, and takes a lead role in a spin-off called A Six Gun for Lobo. Pretty sweet.
Thanks again to Michael Flores for taking the time to fill in some details about his mysterious world! You can learn more about the series on their website or Facebook Page, and follow them on twitter (as well as some characters from the show.)