As much as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanding, it also seems to be shrinking as well. Recent additions such as Spider-Man and rumors about Marvel and 20th Century Fox reaching a similar licensing agreement as with Sony fuel hope that one day a massive shared MCU could exist – allowing an interchange between the Avengers, the X-Men, Namor, and others. The deal between FOX and Marvel Television is a major step forward for the two studios.
With a Legion series in production, and possibly connected to the MCU, recent details about the new X-Men show are even more exciting. Marvel mavens aren’t the only ones stoked for an increased intellectual property-porousness in the MCU. Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb is also excited for the new X-series.
The MTU guru and comic creator recently delved into bringing a live-action X-Men to the small screen (via IGN). Matt Nix, the creative mind behind Burn Notice, is currently drafting a script for the show, one which Loeb loves thus far. He explained his excitement over the premise during the 2016 TCA summer press tour:
“As an X-Men fan, and ultimately, what Matt -- the showrunner and creator -- brings to it is that the X-Men are always stories about family. That's where they start, that's where they live. It's about understanding how we deal with each other. It's about parents that don't understand what's wrong with their kids, it's about kids that don't understand their parents. And he understood that. He got it.”
Much like the co-venture Legion, it also sounds like the new X-series aims to offer a more in-depth look at the mutant world than feature films are capable of. Much like the animated series which aired during the 90s, the Nix-scripted show will explore the background of the characters and the mutant world itself. Loeb teased:
“We haven't really been able to tell everybody what the whole story is. They'll be able to see it, and when they do, it'll be really clear why those characters were chosen, where they are going, and what's going to happen.”
According to FOX TV Chairman and CEO Dana Walden, Nix’s new show will shoot a pilot episode and aim for broadcast inclusion during the 2017-18 television season. Similar to Legion, the new series won’t deal exclusively with known X-Men commodities – likely resigning most of the major mutant players to the silver screen. However, Walden said some fan favorites will make their way into the show (via /Film). Walden explores the premise:
“There will be some iconic characters but mostly this is about a new family. It’s about an average family who encounters this extraordinary world and children who have mutant powers and they end up on the run, so it’s a little bit underground railroad in terms of a storytelling spine.”
Since the joint FOX-Marvel TV series announcement, X-fans have been waiting to see what develops. Although a Hellfire series was originally on the docket, it appears the live-action adaption of the exclusivist superhuman society has been shelved – mostly due to the defection of its writers to 24: Legacy – in favor of Nix’s currently unnamed series. Apparently, FOX has already committed to the new show, giving it a “put pilot” clause, which means FOX would owe Marvel serious bread if the show fails to air. This is good news for X-Men enthusiasts, since there’s a very good chance the new program will at least see the light of day.
Although it’s disappointing to hear that the Hellfire series was abandoned, the new X-Men show sounds like a trip into relatively unexplored (at least in live-action) territory. Supposedly centering on a family who discovers their children are mutants, the new show purports to explore what it means to be a mutant. In contrast, the films primarily traversed the exciting end-results of mutantdom and rarely had an opportunity to dig beneath the surface. Nix’s story sounds as though it will delve into the nuances of the so-called X-gene, the problems encountered by mutant's living among humans, and could even explore the origins of mutants.
Of course, the real trick to the new series will be engaging fresh audiences and X-Men aficionados. Nix brought a character-heavy action to the Bruce Campbell-supported actioner Burn Notice. If he can endow a sense of fun to the often uptight X-Men, while also creating a nuanced look at the mutant situation, the new series could put a whole new spin on the popular Marvel team. It will also be very interesting to see which characters wind up in or guest starring on the new show.
We’ll keep you posted as new info emerges from the new X-Men series.
The Untitled X-Men show will air sometime during the 2017/2018 television season. Legion is slated to air on FX 2017.