Everybody is bringing superheroes to the small screen and now Fox wants to get in on the action that has worked well for ABC and The CW*. And they have just the franchise in mind: the X-Men.
Talking at today’s TCA press tour Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO Dana Walden told reporters that Fox is in talks with Marvel to bring the Mighty Mutants to television.
“We’re in negotiations with Marvel,” Walden said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to announce something soon. We’re not closed on a deal yet but it’s something we’re definitely pursuing.”
It’s important to note that this show, should it happen, will be tied in to the Fox movie universe, not the Marvel Cinematic Universe. My understanding is that technically Marvel owns the TV rights to these characters, but it’s complex (see the lawsuit over Mutant X) and basically nobody can use them on TV without both sides coming to an understanding. It will be interesting to see how the negotiations work out, as there’s a lot of bad blood between Marvel Studios and Fox, although that blood got bad under previous regimes – Avi Arad and Tom Rothman.
To be honest TV is where the X-Men belong. The best X-stories are soap operas, tales of mutants fighting amongst themselves as often as they fight outside threats. The greatest runs of X-Men comics feature teams that feel like families – squabbling and disagreeing but eventually supporting each other – and that feeling has never come across in any of the zillion movies yet made from the property – possibly because there’s never been any kind of actual driving vision behind it all. I would say that the recent period piece reboots have gotten closest to that, but the series’ insistence on jumping a decade between every film essentially kneecaps any attempt to create a close-knit feeling between the characters.
I’m open to it, especially because the general X-Men cinematic production value has been slightly above cable TV (I still cannot believe what Apocalypse looks like in X-Men: Apocalypse. It has to be a feint). Any real fan of the X-comics will understand, deeply and with conviction, that TV is exactly where the mutants belong.
* Fox airs Gotham but Warner Bros TV owns that.