Legion may be f**king with our heads over on Fox right now, but the real mystery is the X-Men TV show that's set to start filming in the coming weeks. So far, we know next to nothing about Marvel's next foray into the X-Men universe — although a new casting announcement may have shed some light on what to x-pect.
Last seen bouncing around in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Blink is the first character to be officially confirmed for the upcoming X-Men TV show. Despite her popularity among readers, the teleporting mutant hasn't played a crucial role in the comics for some time now, although her involvement on the show may shed some light on which property the story could be based on.
In the past, Blink has been affiliated with both the #XMen and the Hellfire Club: a nefarious team who were set to get their own show at the same time as Legion, but whose TV debut was sadly nixed. However, Blink has been affiliated with another team: The Exiles, who could very well end up being the stars of this new X-Men themed show.
Who Are The Exiles?
Never one to pass up an opportunity to use 'x' in a title, Marvel first assembled The Exiles back in 2001, envisioning a Quantum Leap style story where mutants from various dimensions would jump between worlds and fix broken realities.
While the series regularly changed its roster, putting a new spin on established characters such as Psylocke, Rogue and Spider-Man (!?), Blink remained a key member for the majority of its run, even leading the team at first.
Another founding member in the original story was John Proudstar, an alternate version of Thunderbird who just so happens to be Native American... exactly like Blair Redford, the only other actor confirmed to appear on the show so far. Sure, this could all just be a coincidence, but if this untitled show does turn out to be based on Exiles, it would certainly fit with everything we know so far.
How Would An 'Exiles' TV Show Work?
Despite keeping the title and focus of his X-Men themed show under wraps, writer and executive producer Matt Nix still had plenty to say during the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour last month, revealing that the series will somehow be connected to the X-Men movies.
"Without getting into specifics that I'll get murdered for getting into, I would say that a fan of the movies -- particularly the movies, but also the comic books -- would not be disoriented at all as to where this fits in the mythology... So it's not like, I'm not slavishly fitting myself into a particular slot. But at the same time, if you like that world, if you like the world of the movies, there are definite nods to it. It definitely exists in the same general kind of universe, if that makes sense."
Fans have wondered so far how this new show will connect with the X-Men movies. After all, it's not easy to link the separate worlds of #TV and film into one cohesive story that still satisfies fans. Just ask #Marvel. However, Nix seems to have found a way around this, suggesting that:
"... In a sort of general way it acknowledges that events like the events that have happened in the movies have happened, you know what I mean? But it's not to date... it's still evolving. We'll see how much that comes in. It's certainly not “Since this happened in X-Men Apocalypse now all of these things are happening!”.
How will this show avoid portraying iconic X-Men from the movies without coming across as contrived or transparent? The answer could lie with The Exiles:
"Without getting into specifics, it's sort of designed to side step questions like, “Where is Wolverine?” You sort of have to answer those questions. I didn't want to do anything like, “Wolverine is just off screen!” It exists in a world where those questions are answered without needing to name a lot of names or spend a lot of time dwelling on those issues."
By basing this show on The Exiles and their dimension-hopping exploits, Nix could easily acknowledge the existence of the movies without ever having to explain Wolverine's whereabouts — or any other X-Men for that matter. Such an approach would also allow the show to incorporate popular X-Men characters without casting the Hollywood actors who originally played them. Each member of The Exiles could simply be portrayed as an alternate version of those heroes, easily explaining away visual differences.
"There is certainly a certain amount of those characters that I can use and I'm using some of those. Other characters I'm inventing but everything is invented with a nod to the existing mythology, if that makes sense. How should I put it? Again, it's so weird to dance around these specifics. When I was pitching the show, I pitched some characters that appeared nowhere in the mythology but the guys from Marvel, when I started describing them, all gave each other knowing nods, where it was like, “Oh, I see what he's doing, yes.” I tried to do a lot of that. I didn't want to get into the realm of like too much like, “New X-Men here we go!”, and at the same time, with something like this, there's a little bit of fan service."
Everything Nix reveals here would fit perfectly with an Exiles style show. After all, it's easy to imagine the "highly serialized" show hopping to a new dimension each week, resolving whatever particular problems come their way while still exploring a larger story arc that binds the story together as a whole.
There's Just One Problem...
Marvel may have not released an official title for the X-Men show yet, but they have revealed a basic synopsis, one which unfortunately doesn't sound very much like The Exiles. According to the official press release, Nix's show will;
"... focus on two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive."
However, this doesn't mean that The Exiles won't take center stage. Blink's involvement still suggests that this is the direction Fox want to take, but a TV adaptation would probably change various aspects of the story to fit a new mould, much like Legion already has in its first season.
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Whether this new show adapts the dimension-hopping exploits of The Exiles or reimagines the team as "an underground network of mutants on the run from a hostile government", it seems like Fox's next foray into the world of mutant kind will successfully combine Legion's inventive approach with a more accessible take on the X-Men franchise. Blink and you'll miss what could be the best X-Men themed venture yet.