The X-Men franchise is the longest running comic book film franchise ever; however, FOX has never attempted to bring one their beloved mutants to television. Well, it seems that witnessing the success Warner Bros. and Disney has had with their superhero TV shows, the good people at FOX are finally throwing the hat into the ring. The first property to launch their foray into the medium is the upcoming FX show Legion.
Watch the trailer for Legion below:
Legion isn't the only project that FOX will be bringing to television — in fact, an actual #XMen drama series looks to be on the way. Fox's Chairman Gary Newman recently spoke at the Television Critics Association press tour, saying that they are very close to ordering a pilot for a X-Men television show that would be produced by Matt Nix (Burn Notice). Not only are we getting a new X-Men TV show, but it will also take place in the same universe as the X-Men films.
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An All New X-Men Show
This new X-Men drama series has been in the works over at FOX from some time now, but due to the vast number of projects they have underway, it's taken longer than they thought it would to put together. During the TCA press tour, Gary Newman assured fans that they are deep in development on the new X-Men series, and they are very encouraged by what they have so far.
This new X-Men show will revolve around teenagers whose powers begin to manifest; they're forced to go on the run after an anti-mutant legislation law is passed. There are no specifics about which mutants would be involved, or in what time period this takes place in, but it would make sense for it to be a modern take, given that the X-Men universe films are currently taking place in the past. Speaking of the X-Men universe, just how will this new show tie into the films?
The New Shows Relation To The Film Universe
Matt Nix's new X-Men show is set to be the first ever to connect to the film universe — Legion's connection to the film universe is still ambiguous — but what does that mean exactly? Well, Mr. Nix couldn't give any specifics, due to the fact that he might be "murdered" if he gives away too much, but he did have this to say during the Television Critics Association press tour:
"I would say that a fan of the movies — particularly the movies but also the comic books — would not be disoriented as to where this fits in the mythology. If you look at the movies that take place, they don’t all line up perfectly. So it’s not like I’m slavishly fitting myself into a particular slot [but] if you like that world and the world of the movies, there are definite nods to it, it definitely exists in the same general universe.”
Aside from Matt Nix taking shots at the X-Men film's continuity problems, the picture he is painting seems to be similar to the relationship that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has with the MCU. It exists in the same universe, but it also can stand alone without each affecting the other one. This makes total sense, and would pull the audience in, without being solely reliant on the films.
A problem that could arise when placing a new show in an already existing universe is the absence of the characters we have come to know and love in the films. Nix addressed this issue, and discussed how the show will side step a lot of the normal pitfalls that come with a shared universe:
“Without getting into specifics, it’s sort of designed to side-step questions like ‘Where is Wolverine?’ So you sort of have to answer those questions, and I didn’t want to do anything like ‘Wolverine is just off screen!’ You know what I mean. So it exists in a world where those questions are answered without needing to name a lot of names or spend time dwelling on that issue. So within that, there are a certain amount of those characters I can use, and I’m using some of those, but others I’m inventing. But everything is invented with a nod towards the existing mythology. When I was pitching the show, I pitched some characters that appear nowhere in the mythology, but the guys from Marvel, when I started describing them, all gave each other knowing nods. It was like ‘Oh I see what he’s doing, yes.’ So I tried to do a lot of that. I didn’t want to get into the realm of too much ‘Yep! New X-Men here we go!’ because with this there’s a little bit of fan service.”
How Could This Film Fit Into The Film Universe?
The one thing that leaped out at me when I first saw the main idea for the new show is that it shares a similar through-line with the upcoming Wolverine solo film Logan. The concept of mutants on the run definitely seems to be a focal point of this new film. The apocalyptic wasteland that Wolverine is inhabiting is in the future, so what happened to cause all of this? More importantly, what happened to all the other mutants?
This new X-Men series could bridge the gap between the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and the world we see in Logan. If there really is a anti-mutant legislation law passed somewhere earlier in the timeline, this new show could show its origin, and what life was like for mutants who had to abandon everything they know to just survive. This is a very exciting concept, that has a lot of civil rights implications which are still relevant to our culture.
This show could also help clean-up some continuity issues that have been lingering since X-Men: Days of Future Past. If it takes place in modern times, it could reference the mutants we know and give us a glimpse at how the timeline looks after Wolverine changed the past.
From his comments, Matt Nix seems to know exactly what he is doing with the property, and is creating something brand new, in a world we are already familiar with. Once more details are announced — most specifically which decade the film takes place in — we will have a better idea as to how this new show will fit into the X-Men film timeline.
From what we do know, the project will hopefully be ready for pilot season, and we can't wait to see how this first connected X-Men TV series turns out. If you need an X-Men fix that isn't related to the films, you can check out Legion on FX February 8, 2017. You can also dive back into the X-Men film universe, and see Hugh Jackman portray Wolverine one last time in Logan, March 3, 2017.
Are you interested in a show that takes place in the same universe as the X-Men films?