What's it like to lead anime versions of the X-Men? The voice of Cyclops tells us

Later this month, Madhouse Studio's X-Men anime will make its stateside debut on G4. In this animated series, the X-Men travel to Japan to do battle with nefarious mutant hunters known as the U-Men.

io9 spoke with actor and avowed X-fan Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, Caprica) about lending his pipes to the mutant with the deadliest gaze.

How do you get in the groove to voice the leader of the X-Men?

It was tricky trying to approach Cyclops. Normally, you can just sound authoritative and have the confidence behind your voice. But Cyclops is in a much different condition when the anime begins. He has a tragic loss, and he's a little bit more vulnerable than we're used to see Cyclops being.

For me, it was about playing the reality of the situation around him as opposed to imitating another person's voice. Being able to voice the leader of the X-Men my first time out with voice work is a huge blessing. Taking up the mantle of Scott Summers was definitely nerve-wracking! Doing voice work for the X-Men anime and [the video game] X-Men: Destiny, those projects were definitely for me.

X-Men fans are used to seeing Cyclops taking charge, but as you mention, he's in a weird place with Jean Grey dying in the opening 10 minutes. What can we anticipate from him?

It's very cool to see Cyclops out of sorts. The reason I never loved him as a comic fan growing up was because he was always in control and a stick in the mud. I was always a bigger Havok fan. But you see him raw emotionally and with a little bit of an attitude. That — as well as some of things going on in the comics right now — give me a whole new appreciation for him. You'll see him varying stages of grief and eventually resume his role.

What's it like to lead anime versions of the X-Men? The voice of Cyclops tells us

How about his optic blasts? Any ruby-red trickery?

It's mostly about raw power from him. The reason I didn't like Cyclops so long is that I didn't understand how powerful he is, which is why he always has to take control. I saw that guy as very foreign, but now that I understand he's in a constant battle with the rage inside him. The guy can shave off mountains, but he always has to keep that in check. He gets to cut loose this series. Cyclops yells a lot. A lot of yelling! A lot of big blasts! I like seeing that.

What nods to X-Men mythology will we see in the anime?

The first and coolest thing is that this line-up is very Astonishing X-Men, and I know a lot of people love both Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis' runs on those books. You'll see bits and pieces of all that play into this. You'll also see some familiar faces pop up as villains and some classic storylines. You'll see one of my favorite villains step forward as the man behind the curtain. I can't spoil who it is, but he's a Hellfire Club guy and somebody who goes way back.

Are there any particular X-stories that informed your performance?

When you look at Cyclops and the whole throwdown he had with Storm in the 1980s before X-Factor formed was one of times you saw Cyclops at a crossroads and questioning himself, especially losing the mantle of leadership to Storm. Of course, Dark Phoenix Saga is where you have to start for Cyclops' raw emotion. The recent storylines too, when Hope came back and the events leading up to X-Men: Schism, were amazing as well, with Scott's emotional scarring of watching Cable and Nightcrawler pass away. Those three periods, definitely.

Another scifi character you played was Nestor Willow on Caprica. He kicked the bucket before the show was cancelled. If neither of these things happened, where you have liked to have seen Nestor?

The producers and I talked about that a little bit after we wrapped the first season. Nestor helped build this virtual world. And to think that he wouldn't have a second version of himself squirreled away? We would have seen Nestor in Season 2 most definitely. Once you get into it the virtual world, there's no way he doesn't exist in code in there.

For me, what I think happens with Nestor is that once he's digitally in there, he realizes the scope of what he's done and becomes a good guy. We saw bits of that, Nestor standing up to Clarice and saying, "Why do we have to kill so many people?" When you live forever in the walls of a computer, you can dwell on the fact that there's a better way to do things!

G4's X-Men anime series debuts Friday, October 21 at 11:00 PM.