[Female Protagonists on SF TV] Æon Flux on Æon Flux

I wanted to have Æon Flux on Æon Flux among my female protagonists. She is such a kick-ass character. But I am the only person I know that liked the movie version of Æon Flux. It had so many good ideas and gadgets.

Æon Flux is set in a bizarre, dystopian future world. The title character is a tall, latex-clad secret agent from the nation of Monica, skilled in assassination and acrobatics. Her mission is to infiltrate the strongholds of the neighboring country of Bregna, which is led by her sometimes-nemesis and sometimes-lover Trevor Goodchild. Monica apparently represents a dynamic anarchist society, while Bregna embodies a centralized, scientifically planned state — referred to on one occasion as a republic by Goodchild. The names of their respective characters reflect this: Flux as the self-directed agent from Monica and Goodchild as the technocratic leader of Bregna. Although Bregna is shown to be repressive, in the first full-length episode: “Utopia or Deuteronopia?”, Clavius, the president deposed by Goodchild, is described by a questioning journalist as having been democratically elected. In the same episode, an upper house of parliament is also mentioned by the character Gildemere.

The visual style of Æon Flux was deeply influenced by the figurative paintings and drawings of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele. Other key influences on Æon Flux can be found in Japanese anime (especially grittier fare like Akira), and European comic works such as the work of Moebius (particularly in lineforms, color palettes, and figure characterizations). Æon Flux is often erroneously classified as an anime series. Graphic violence and sexuality, including fetishism and domination, are frequently depicted. In the featurette Investigation: The History of Æon Flux (included on the 2005 DVD release), Peter Chung says the visual style also was influenced by the limitations of the animated series Rugrats, which he worked on prior to Æon Flux and found highly frustrating in the limitations of what the characters could do.

With the exceptions of the exclamation “no!” in the pilot and the single spoken word “plop” in the episode “Leisure”, all of the short episodes are completely devoid of (intelligible) dialogue. Instead, the sound track employs a variety of sound effects including sounds such as laughter, grunts and sighs. Unintelligible dialogue was voiced by the series music composer Drew Neumann.

One peculiarity of the early shorts is the violent death of Æon Flux, which occurs in each of the installments (by contrast, she only “dies” once in the half-hour series). Often her death is caused by fate, while other times she dies due to her own incompetence. One of the half-hour episodes, “A Last Time for Everything”, ends with the original Æon being killed and replaced by an identical clone. (In the episode “Chronophasia”, Æon is apparently killed repeatedly by a monstrous baby, but the reality of these events is ambiguous. In “Ether Drift Theory”, Æon is suspended indefinitely in an inanimate state, but remains technically alive.)

Although continuity is virtually non-existent in the series — and Chung made some adjustments for the DVD release to improve this — the primary unchanging elements in the episodes are the two main characters of Trevor and Æon. There is intentionally no continuity between the second season shorts. Peter Chung has said that this plot ambiguity and disregard for continuity are meant as a satire of mainstream action films, and his stories often emphasize the futility of violence and the ambiguity of personal morality.

A fourth season of half-hour episodes was considered, but never materialized. In late 2005, around the time of the DVD release, Chung announced plans to work on another Æon Flux project. In an online interview conducted after the release of the film, Chung indicated that it is to be a made-for-DVD animated feature. However, by the summer of 2008, Chung reported that Paramount had decided to pass on the new production and that he had lost interest in pursuing the project

Television versions of Æon Flux depict the two separate countries of Bregna and Monica, adjacent to each other and separated by a wall (although very small). Citizens of Bregna are not permitted to cross through the wall, which is protected by a range of cruel traps. Trevor Goodchild is not the original ruler of Bregna, instead taking control in “Utopia or Deuteronopia”.

A graphic novel tie-in titled The Herodotus File was released in 1995. According to The Herodotus File, Monica and Bregna were originally one country that was divided before the series took place. The graphic novel, which comprised a selection of false documents written by series writers Marc Mars and Eric Singer, implies that the country was split for social reasons, shutting the have-nots out of Bregna. If the book is taken as canon, one of Trevor Goodchild’s first acts as Chairman was to hire Æon Flux to destroy evidence that the countries were ever one.


Aeon Flux Cartoon Section 1

Section 2

Other posts on Female Protagonists on SciFi TV

  1. Olivia Dunham in Fringe
  2. Max Guevara (X5-452) in Dark Angel
  3. Erica Evans on V
  4. Molly Anne Caffrey on Threshold
  5. Wendy ‘Dub-Dub’ Watson on The Middleman
  6. Jane Vasco on Painkiller Jane
  7. Æon Flux on Æon Flux
  8. Dana Scully on The X-Files
  9. Myka Bering on Warehouse 13
  10. Dr. Helena Magnus on Sanctuary
  11. Sarah Walker on Chuck
  12. Echo on Dollhouse
  13. Amy Pond on Doctor Who
  • Pingback: Special Agent Dana Scully on The X-Files [Female Protagonists on SF TV] » Cybermage()

  • This is a really interesting article. I had seen the Aeon Flux movie and quite enjoyed it, liking all the futuristic tech, outfits and general storyline. I hadn’t seen any of the TV series, but always assumed it was fairly similar. In fact, it seems to be really different from what you wrote and from the clips. It certainly is a bizarre and abstract show and it is interesting how the director was fascinated by limitations and the use of no dialogue.  This would be a really interesting film/ series to study for comparison in film studies!