With three major film studios all enthusiastically producing movies based on Marvel comics, it’s no surprise that the popularity of a world filled with superheroes is starting to spill over into the world of television, with current series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, and Netflix’s upcoming set of shows that include Daredevil and Jessica Jones. For many kids who grew up in the 1990s, however, the first brush with Marvel superheroes on TV came with Fox’s animated X-Men series.
Fox has since spun the X-Men name into a movie franchise that has grossed billions of dollars at the box office, and which helped to kick off the advent of the comic book movie takeover almost a decade before Marvel Studios released Iron Man (and began the long and winding tale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). More recently, however, there have been rumors that Fox plans to return the X-Men to TV in a live-action series based on Peter David’s X-Factor comics: a spinoff of the main series that focused on a detective agency run by mutants.
Now TV Insider has confirmed that negotiations are definitely underway to develop the series, with Fox chairman Gary Newman saying that the current challenge to overcome is getting permission from Marvel to make the series, since Fox only owns the movie rights to X-Men and not the TV rights. Newman says that he’s “cautiously optimistic” after having “a good meeting” with Marvel, but warns that the series “will not be on a fast track creatively.”
THR has more details to offer on the story, with sources claiming that the series is being penned by Patrick McKay and JD Payne (the initial Star Trek 3 script draft), and that 24 producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto will serve as showrunners. Earlier descriptions of the show have said that it will be like a version of Fringe set in the X-Men universe, and have claimed that X-Factor leader Jamie Madrox a.k.a. Multiple Man will definitely be in it. There has also been talk of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) being part of the cast, but obviously it’s still early days.
Marvel currently only seems interested in pursuing TV shows that can crossover with its cinematic universe, and since that universe does not include the X-Men there’s little motivation for Marvel to make its own X-Men TV series. With that in mind, the only reason that Marvel might refuse permission would be to undermine Fox as a competitor, but hopefully the two studios can find a peaceable agreement.
Despite a few missteps in the past, Fox has been doing some interesting things with the X-Men movie universe lately and will soon be expanding into more standalone movies like Gambit and Deadpool. A TV series seems like the logical next step, but are McKay, Payne, Katz and Coto the right team to make it happen?
We’ll keep you updated on Fox’s X-Men TV series as development continues.