Back to 1985-86 (sort of)
The one problem I had when originally writing this story back in the mid-1980s was trying to accommodate new Smurf characters introduced to the "universe" during the original cartoon show's Saturday morning run. By 1987, when Wild Smurf (a character with a similar backstory to that of Empath Smurf) was introduced, it made Empath's own introduction to their world next to impossible to work feasibly, so I ended up putting his story on the shelf until 1992, two years after the cartoon show met its inglorious end (or non-end, given the nature of their "time-traveling episodes" season), and then set the whole story back to the point before there was even a Grandpa Smurf, a Wild Smurf, a Nanny or a Smoogle to even worry about, charting a rather tangent course. This was what became known now as the "Empathverse".
This story took a total of 14 years to completely write (from 1986 to 2000), though the original concept story, simply called "The Luckiest Smurf", which only encompassed from Chapters 1 to 4, was written as far back as 1984. The concept story also included a sequence in where Greedy's kitchen catches fire and Empath uses his powers to put it out.
The story was originally intended to be in the format of a graphic novel, and would have actually been made as a movie.
"Empath's Ballad", the song written for this story, is based on Randy Vanwarmer's "Just When I Needed You Most". It was intended to be part of the prologue section.
The Smurfs' cartoon show 1981-1982 season intro sequence prologue appears in modified form in both the prologue and the final paragraphs of the epilogue.
Greedy from the cartoon show remains the village chef throughout both this story and the accompanying short story series.
Papa Smurf's age being 547 at the present time of this story is not a mistype, but rather a concession that 5 years have passed since the first known stories of the Smurfs (i.e., the first season of the cartoon show and/or the movie The Smurfs And The Magic Flute) have taken place. The age of the adult male Smurfs at the same present time is around 150 years, give or take a few.
Papa Smurf mentions their first encounter with Sir Johan and Peewit being when they were tracking down a magic flute stolen by Matthew Macreep, the villain from "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute".
Polaris Psyche's original name was Synapse Psyche.
The concept of the Psyches was originally based on Star Trek's Vulcans, though the particular speech patterns (referring to themselves as "this one" instead of a personal pronoun such as "I" or "me") are based on the Atari Force character Morphea. The collective mindset of the Psyches were originally based on Morphea's people the Canopians, predating that particular element found in Star Trek's Borg. Empath's original greeting of "peace and contentment", which eventually became just "salutations" (inspired by the greeting Charlotte the spider gave in Charlotte's Web), was also based off the Morphea character.
Psychelia was originally given the name Psyche Village.
The Psyche's fear of nakedness (and Empath's eventual fear of the same) comes from John Byrne's interpretation of Jor-El's wife Lara from his Man Of Steel comic book mini-series and her reaction to seeing Earth people.
The Psyche Master is based on the Master Control Program entity from TRON.
The Psyche Master was originally intended to be descended from an earlier race of Smurflike beings who were decimated by an entity called the Fly Master, who, in an unfinished story called "Revenge Of The Purple Smurfs", was the controller of the purple flies.
Empath was originally drawn as having a red dot on his forehead instead of the yellow star he currently bears.
Empath's powers originally did not include flying or super-speed or anything related to Superman.
Empath originally came home on a stork. The smurfplane, which came from the story "Smurf Plane", was a later change.
In the 1986 draft version of the story, Grandpa Smurf was to be included as a character, and the origins of the Smurflings remained consistent with Peyo's original vision of the characters. Empath in particular remembered Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy as originally being adult Smurfs.
Tracker, who first appeared in the cartoon show, has greater abilities in this story and the related short stories.
Greedy's accidental invention of "ice cream" took place in "The Smurfwalk Cafe".
Empath and Brainy Smurf were originally intended to be the two sons of Papa Smurf and his wife. However, the eventual decision to make Empath be the only begotten son of Papa Smurf gives the character a somewhat "messianic" element.
Papa Smurf's pre-Papa Smurf name, Culliford, was intended to be a tribute to the creator of the Smurfs, Peyo Culliford.
The chapters of the story involving Papa Smurf telling Empath the story of his being born and being sent to Psychelia were originally intended to be a separate story following the concept story "The Luckiest Smurf", though not including the scene where Empath gets angry at Papa Smurf to the point of hitting him.
Originally Hefty and Smurfette were supposed to have a date with each other that went wrong somehow, driving Smurfette away from Hefty in order to seek out Empath.
Smurfette refers to Gargamel masquerading as a baby Smurf in the cartoon episode "The Baby Smurf".
Jokey in a Gargamel costume does a modified version of the Wicked Witch of the West's threat to Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz.
Sculptor was a character that appeared in the "Romeo And Smurfette" comic book story vignettes.
The statue was originally to be part of the prologue section as well as in the latter half of the story, where Empath eventually destroys it.
Hefty insults Empath after he destroys the statue and rips up his clothes with a Smurf-ifed "Biff Tannenism".
Empath's rather impugning reference to Papa Smurf as "the great Smurf" in his farewell letter is an acknowledgement that Papa Smurf is referred to as "the Great Smurf" in non-English translations of the Smurf comics.
Mt. Vesmurfius was intended to be Mt. St. Smurf, the volcano that gave Papa Smurf a bad sneezing fit.
Empath's reference to a Christy Smurf, who inspired him to draw and paint with his right foot, and the joke about Empath having "two left feet" are references to Christy Brown, the left-footed artist from the autobiographical movie My Left Foot.
Brainy's description of Empath drawing Papa Smurf with his beard covering his ears is a comment about Papa Smurf's most common depiction in both the comic books and the cartoon show.
The magic flute from "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute" does appear near the end of the story, when the Smurfs launch a final assault on Gargamel.
The Smurfs sing a chorus line from the Kiss song "I" from Music From The Elder.
Empath's marriage with Smurfette in the epilogue taking place 10 years after the present-time events of the story basically allows for any number of stories to be written about Empath and what happened to him and the Smurfs in the interim.
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