With the opening weekend of Captain America: Civil War behind us and its box-office earnings looking very good indeed, live action comic book adaptations are not going away any time soon. 20th Century Fox will be next to the theaters with X-Men: Apocalypse, keeping the mutant-based corner of the Marvel universe going as Deadpool's strong home-video sales continue to bring in revenue as well.
But where Marvel and DC have strong showings in the world of television, Fox's X-Men franchise has been curiously absent. That is set to change, however, with the two upcoming series Hellfire and Legion. The two shows are headed for different networks, with Hellfire to appear on FOX and Legion to appear on its cable sibling FX, but both of them revolve around characters originating from the X-Men comics. They will also both be executive produced by Bryan Singer, who brings his X-Men expertise from the big screen to the small one.
Singer recently spoke to Variety about the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, but also took some time to discuss the other X-projects in the works. In particular, he spoke to how Hellfire could serve to flesh out parts of the X-Men world that haven't been explored elsewhere:
"I think the underbelly [could be explored]. There’s always something interesting about a school that’s got a military aspect beneath its classrooms. Is there another layer to all of that? Is there another layer to the Hellfire Club? The idea of, ‘Who’s running the world?’ — that’s something that was touched upon in ‘First Class’ but has yet to be fully explored. It just has to be explored in a very gentle, methodical way. And I’ve seen it go haywire. I’m not going to be specific where I believe it has. The audience will tell you. But when it’s done right, it all can connect."
With the executive producer role being relatively hands off in comparison to Singer's role in the X-Men movies, the question was raised of just how invested Singer is going to be in the future of the franchise. Having directed the first X-Men movie back in 2000, Singer has been involved in some capacity or another with its follow-ups for 16 years now. According to Singer, though, he has no desire to walk away from the empire he helped create:
"When you spend nearly two decades in a universe, to simply say, ‘I’m done,’ or, ‘I’m going to abandon it,’ just wouldn’t make sense to me. I’m very connected to this universe and a lot of these actors, and also the characters, whomever plays them. So never say never."
Suffice to say, Singer will not be washing his hands of the X-Men franchise anytime soon, nor will Fox. While Marvel has underplayed mutants in its comic books for a while now in favor of a more Inhumans-based MCU to which they own all the rights, the cancellation of the Inhumans movie may be a sign that they aren't quite ready to hang mutants out to dry just quite yet. Assuming audiences are also still on board and X-Men: Apocalypse does well for Fox, the move into TV with Hellfire and Legion could be another big moneymaker for the studio.
Dates have not yet been set for the FX’s Legion and FOX’s Hellfire (working title) pilots.