I used profound disappointment in the behavior of humanity as a motivator behind a few characters in the series. Nihilistic villains who think humanity doesn't deserve the world anymore, heroes who gave up because they couldn't take the relentless cruelty people heap onto each other any longer.
The kids are my own personal beacon of hope, because they're not allowed to despair. They still, in the end, think humanity can be better and deserve that chance.
There are weeks when the collective horribleness of human behavior makes me think those nihilistic super-villains really aren't that unrealistic.
On a film set this weekend for a project I'm acting in, I got to talking with one of the crew about storytelling and I told him a story from a year or so back when a director I've worked with was lamenting, "when will this superhero fad go away?" (He writes westerns and crime movies.) I said, selfishly, I hope it never does, because superheroes are my profession, but honestly, I think we're obsessed with them these days because the world is so bloody dark right now we're all grasping for some form of escapism. The real world is awful enough. Give me a ray of hope in primary colors telling me the world can be a better place.
One of my favorite writers, Warren Ellis, wrote in a very self-aware, very meta- comic the line: "No, a finer world is a small thing to ask." It's a throwaway line in a comic so few people were reading it was canceled a year or so later, but that one line has become my own touchstone for when things become so awful I feel like giving up like one of Doc's old teammates. A finer world is not too much to ask for. But we have to act like we want a finer world, and we have to demand that the rest of humanity join us in building one.
Keep being kind to each other. There's enough people out there being cruel to make up for the rest of us. Need to throw some weight on the other side of the scale.
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.