In this year alone, no less than four films based on Marvel comic book properties will reach the big screen, including Disney's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past. But on television - of the live action variety - the superhero genre is mostly vacant.
Of course, that will soon change with a slew of new series scheduled to hit the airwaves next season, including The Flash, Gotham, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and more. But despite this sudden surge to the small screen, there's one studio holding the cards to a lot of very important superheroes that hasn't announced any plans for television. That is, until now.
While making the press rounds at WonderCon, X-Men: Days of Future Past writer-producer Simon Kinberg confirmed to Collider that 20th Century Fox is considering an expansion of their own Marvel universe, which includes X-Men, Fantastic Four, X-Force, Deadpool and New Mutants.
Here's what he had to say about the matter:
“We’re still in this place of figuring out what the future of the franchise will be, but when you look at 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' to some extent and what Marvel is doing now with 'Daredevil' and other shows on Netflix, it makes sense to tell some of these stories in TV partly because there’s just not enough screens to do all these characters, and also because the serialized format of comic books is better suited for TV. Because that’s it, every week you come back to the same characters different story, and in comic books every week it’s the same characters, different story."
"I think what [Fox is] seeing now is with the proliferation of new kinds of visual and special effects, there’s a way to make these stories that doesn’t cost $300 million every time you have to make a huge movie.”
Kinberg doesn't actually give any clues as to what Fox has up their sleeves or when we'll actually get to see their plans come to fruition, but with the rights to such a large amount of characters, it would be a shame to not see each of them get their due in some way. And as he explained, TV is just the place to do it, with the medium's emphasis on characters and serialized storytelling over the high expense of visual effects that have come to be expected in film.
There's also another problem with adapting material for film that is often overlooked. Whereas comic books have the freedom to be whatever they want - in other words, they can be violent, risque, etc. - films (especially of the blockbuster variety) tend to play by other rules. However, Kinberg agreed a Deadpool movie would need to be made for a mature audience:
“Yeah, it makes sense to me. Genuinely, it’s early phases, early days, but if you’re gonna do a 'Deadpool' movie, I think you’ve gotta do a hard-R, darker movie and he is the perfect character to do it with.”
Though there have been some R-rated comic book movie success stories - like 300 and Blade - the sad fact is, most big-budget R-rated movies are simply not profitable enough at the box office to ignore the risk of making them. Kinberg mentions Deadpool as a possible starting point for Fox to dive into that pool (no pun intended), but we're still waiting.
What do you think about seeing X-characters on the small screen, Screen Rant readers? Let us know in the comments.
X-Men: Days of Future Past releases in theaters on May 23, 2014.