Some thought it couldn’t be done, but Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures worked out an exciting partnership will see the live-action Spider-Man film franchise rebooted within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a deal that has fans screaming that Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel should do the same to save the Fantastic Four.
While we’re not there just yet, Fox and Marvel just announced that they are working together on two new X-Men TV shows, a wonderful sign that they have (or are building towards) a healthy working relationship. Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden said in August they were close in finalizing a deal with Marvel for a live-action X-Men television series and now they have. One series, working title Hellfire, is coming to Fox (home of DC Comics series Gotham) while the other, Legion, will come to the more adult-themed FX network.
The news comes just days after Marvel TV commanded a strong presence at New York Comic-Con by showcasing footage and episodes for their upcoming programs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, Agent Carter season 2, Daredevil season 2 and this fall’s Jessica Jones. Although these new X-Men series will be separate from the MCU , they could be set within Fox’s X-Men movie universe.
Set in the late 1960s, the series – which will be produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Marvel Television, with 20th Century Fox handling the physical production – follows a young Special Agent who learns that a power-hungry woman with extraordinary abilities is working with a clandestine society of millionaires – known as “The Hellfire Club” – to take over the world.
Hellfire, expanding on The Hellfire Club introduced in X-Men: First Class, led by Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, has a mind-blowing list of producers behind it coming from Fox TV, The Donners’ Company, and Marvel TV. The list includes Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Evan Katz, Manny Coto, Jeph Loeb, and Jim Chory. Hellife will be written by Patrick McKay and JD Payne.
David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company:
“We are thrilled to partner with Marvel to bring this world to television and build upon the vibrant mythology that has captivated fans for years. These powerful and dynamic characters are complicated and larger-than-life, the pace and visual imagination are unrelenting, and the story takes place during one of the most explosive eras in recent history. We are so looking forward to working with this incredibly talented team.”
Jonathan Davis, President, Creative Affairs, 20th Century Fox Television:
“HELLFIRE is a unique opportunity to be able to go deeper with some of these extraordinary characters, but to also dramatize new characters and give TV viewers a chance to experience this expanded world in an explosive way that everyone will be talking about. The action at the center of HELLFIRE will be dynamic and will satisfy the rabid fans, but that said, newcomers will surely be addicted too!”
Next Page: Details on FX’s Legion X-Men TV Series
FX Networks has ordered the pilot for Legion, the story of a troubled young man who may be more than human, it was announced today by Nick Grad and Eric Schrier, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions.
X-Men movie producers Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb will executive producer Legion alongside Jim Chory and John Cameron. Noah Hawley is writing the pilot and exec producing as well. Cameron and Hawley are FX veterans, having produced the award-winning Fargo for the network as well.
The Legion pilot will introduce the origin story of David Haller, who has been diagnosed schizophrenic, but after meeting a fellow patient he learns that he may not suffer from mental illness after all. He’s a mutant. In Marvel Comics, Haller (who later takes on the codename Legion) is the long lost son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart in the movies). As a teenager, David’s powers become too strong and uncontrollable, as his multiple personalities emerge, each seemingly controlling different mutant super powers.
There are many stories involving Legion that tie directly to the X-Men and the New Mutants, of which there’s a Fox movie in development. Nick Grad, President of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions:
“Legion is just the sort of ambitious story that Noah excels at. His adaption of Fargo for television was one of the most acclaimed television events in recent memory. It’s also an honor to partner with Marvel on Legion and to enlist such an accomplished team of Executive Producers to create this pilot.”
Next Page: What Does The Partnership Mean?
What Does The Partnership Mean?
Marvel TV and Fox working together is a big deal and it means they’re willing to talk and trade/sell rights. We suspect there’s more than money involved in sharing licensing and such, and the partnership could, just maybe, mean that Marvel is getting certain rights in return on the film side. This does not mean the X-Men are joining the MCU. They aren’t and won’t for a very, very long time. The X-Men universe is massive and successful on its own and Marvel doesn’t have a use for them anytime soon (especially with their Inhumans filling that same role).
This deal now means it’s beneficial for Marvel to again promote Fox’s X-Men franchise on their channels (website, social media, Comic-Cons, comics, etc.) and it’s a guarantee that movie rights have been a topic of conversation between Fox and Marvel Entertainment. That means there’s a real possibility – now more than ever – that something can, is, or perhaps already has been worked out regarding the rights to the Fantastic Four and the attached library of cosmic characters that we know Marvel Studios very much wishes to use. Perhaps that’s why Marvel Studios dated three more films for 2020 last week…
We’ve reached out for comment on whether or not Legion and Hellfire take place within the X-Men movie universe and will update when we learn more.
Dates have not yet been set for the FX’s Legion and Fox’s Hellfire (working title) pilots.