The X-Men franchise has been on the big screen for almost 17 years. It's seen its fair share of success and failure while trying different things and expanding with several character spin-off series featuring multiple timelines. Bryan Singer has been there for almost all of it, garnering credits as either a writer and director or producer on almost every film except X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine, and Deadpool.
Now he's a major part of the effort to finally bring live-action X-Men to the small screen, serving as an executive producer for both Legion, and the untitled X-Men project on FOX, the latter of which he's also on board to direct the first two episodes.
While character rights and studio cooperation between Marvel Studios and Fox Studios are one thing on the big screen, the small screen teams are quite different, providing an entirely new kind of collaboration that Singer hasn't seen in the four X-Men movies he's directed. During a recent interview with Mashable, Singer shared his thoughts on bringing the franchise to television and how it differs from his work on the movies:
"Marvel Studios, they do their own films, then Fox Studios, we sort of do them separately when I make the X-Men films. Marvel Television is different. Their TV division works more closely with Fox. I’m actually directing one for Fox network, an X-Men related television show, which we started prepping today. Their television people work with us. It’s nice because we get backstory, we get information. I can’t read every comic book. So I want as much input as possible."
Singer is no stranger to television. In fact, he was an executive producer for House M.D., which was one of the most watched shows in the world by the end of its eight-season run. Singer hopes to emulate that success with both new X-Men shows.
"I’ve had great success with my TV show House on television. I love the format. I think it’s growing. Some of the best writing is in television. And you can tell stories over long stretches of time. It’s not the two-hour experience, it could be years of an experience. So why not take a universe that’s so multi-faceted like X-Men and bring it to this medium?"
Singer made a name for himself as the captain of the X-Men movies, but he actually originally got his start by directing smaller films, making his first big splash with The Usual Suspects in 1995, which he made with a budget of just $6 million. He also directed the pilot and the third episode of House's first season, and said TV work, specifically on pilots, reminds him of his days doing smaller productions.
"It’s a whole different paradigm. It’s a whole different world. I started with Usual Suspects. I started with independent films. So I love to do pilots as a director, because it gives me a chance to make like a little indie without having to set up a whole independent film. Usually I’m making them in between big movies. So yeah, it’s a chance to get back to my roots. And if it takes off, like House, it allows you creative freedom."
The X-Men project on FOX is still in pre-production, it doesn't even have a premiere date yet, so there aren't many details available, but Legion is set to premiere on February 8th, and it looks insane. No doubt more information will start coming out about the Fox show soon, so be sure to keep your eyes on Screen Rant for more news as it develops.
The as-yet untitled X-Men TV series has no release date.