Well, X-Men fans didn’t see that one coming. Rumors about an X-Men TV show at Fox have persisted for much of this year. Many fans assumed that the series would focus on something like Xavier’s mutant school or the Massachusetts Academy, or possibly Multiple Man’s X-Factor Investigations — setups that are well-known to longtime readers and seem perfect for serialized television. But nope, Fox dropped not one but two head-scratching bombshells when they announced earlier this week that they’re developing “Legion” at FX and “Hellfire” at Fox.
Yep, instead of focusing on the X-Men themselves, or even any of their satellite teams of heroes, Fox is developing series around Professor Xavier’s son David Haller (a.k.a. Legion) and a 1960s version of X-Villains the Hellfire Club. Clearly the six selections we previously made for an X-Men TV show were too A-List. To really get into Fox’s mindset and predict future X-TV projects, we’re going to have to dive down deep, deep into the canon and see what potentially televised treasures we find.
Few X-Men characters have as many ties to other X-characters in their origins as Siryn, which makes her a perfect (at least where Fox is concerned) candidate for a prequel series. The daughter of Banshee, Siryn was whisked away at a young age and placed in a Catholic boarding school, where she partied hard and also performed criminal deeds with her older cousin Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut. A series starring a troubled teenage girl sneaking out of Catholic school to rob banks with the Juggernaut, all while piecing together the clues of her hidden superhero parentage? That seems pretty Fox-y.
A late ’90s temporary addition to the X-Men, Dr. Cecilia Reyes wanted nothing more than to be left alone. Her initial stretch with the X-Men was spent pining away for her previous life in an emergency room, one that was wrecked when Prime Sentinels attacked her while she was on call. You might think Reyes is an odd choice for a lead character but, again, “Legion” is happening. “Reyes” would give Fox an opportunity to go full on mutant medical procedural, and who knows what mutants (and guest stars!) would end up needing medical assistance.
If Fox is interested in the Hellfire Club, then they should take a look at the real bad boys of the X-Verse — the Marauders. A group of merciless bounty hunters and mercenaries, the Marauders do the bidding of the glamorously evil Mr. Sinister — work that usually involves murdering innocents. TV loves antiheroes, and a “Sons of Anarchy”-style show focusing on Scalphunter, Arclight, Harpoon, Vertigo and the rest could make for outrageous and captivating television. And let’s not forget that Bryan Cranston recently said he wants to play Sinister; get the “Breaking Bad” star back on for a recurring-from-the-shadows role in this show!
Seeing as how both “Legion” and “Hellfire” have unconfirmed and dubious ties to previous X-Men film continuity, shows with leads that have kinda sorta already appeared on film (like Siryn) could work. The same goes for Maverick, a German mercenary from Wolverine’s black ops past armed with an early ’90s quota of armor and mystery. He sorta appeared in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” but a TV version of the mercenary could actually incorporate his toyetic armor and his ability to see into his opponents’ immediate future. Okay, that power was actually only mentioned on the back of a trading card and isn’t technically canon, but it would make for a great procedural hook.
The exploits of the obscenely rich and antihero-driven soap operas are two things that America can’t get enough of. A country that counts Donald Trump as a viable presidential candidate would get behind “Gideon,” an over-the-top Fox drama following the ruthless antics of corporate raider blessed with immortality, the mutant ability of power mimicry and the swagger to pull off an extreme top ponytail. The immortality element means this show could span centuries while the business element means we’d get to see a whole new type of super villain in action.
The Upstarts are a group of D-List super villains that competed against each other in an elaborate game orchestrated by — of course — the Gamesmaster in an attempt to win immortality. Those games usually involved murdering mutants from a select group; New Mutants and Hellions members were their primary targets in the early ’90s. The thing is, the Upstarts debuted a solid decade before reality competition programs took over the airwaves. “Upstarts” could be a killer scripted satire of reality shows and the superhero genre with contestants (Trevor Fitzroy, Siena Blaze, Shinobi Shaw, etc.) hooking up with each other and hunting down heroic targets.
Carl Denti is a human former FBI agent armed to the teeth with the weaponry of X-Men villains, an arsenal that he uses to track mutants down and put them in their place. The guy’s a walking showroom of X-memoribilia, with Shi’ar body armor, Sentinel propulsion tech and Z’nox tracking equipment. Isn’t that enough? A gritty, modern crime procedural with a whole bunch of crazy alien tech tossed in, starring a guy on a one-man mission against evil mutants? Sure, sometimes those “evil” mutants are the X-Men, but its that moral gray area that will keep people tuning in!
“Legion” shows that Fox is potentially a-okay with doing shows about the offspring of movie X-Men, so that bodes well for Graydon Creed. The son of Mystique and Sabretooth, the human (and sadistic) Graydon Creed kept his heritage secret when he founded the anti-mutant hate group the Friends of Humanity. He used his malevolent charisma and natural talent for public speaking to enter politics, going so far as to run for president in 1996 — before being assassinated by his own mother. Creed’s rise to power and desperate attempts to keep his parentage hidden would make for a great “House of Cards”-esque thriller, and maybe Liev Schreiber could pop in for a clawed cameo as Victor Creed during sweeps.
Compared to the rest of the ideas on this list, this weirdo series might be too A-List for Fox. Sunspot, Multiple Man and Siryn have all been in movies and (along with Warlock and Boom Boom) are popular parts of the X-Men comics. But this series matches “Legion” in the weirdness department, as it stars a hodgepodge group of teenage thieves that go on interdimensional/extraplanetary adventures. The comic also stars a pair of mutant/cyborg genetically enhanced lobsters that communicate via telepathic emojis. Okay, this one is weirder than “Legion,” but it also stars a bunch of teenagers with attitude, which is right up Fox’s alley.
Basically take Cinemax’s “The Knick,” a medical drama set in 1900 and examining the grisly early details of modern surgery, and make Clive Owen’s character a pre-transformation Mr. Sinister. Nathaniel Essex, as Sinister was known before joining with Apocalypse, was a 19th century geneticist and Darwinist who operated on London’s homeless to further his gruesome studies. Eventually his horrific curiosity drew the attention of the ancient mutant Apocalypse, who turned Essex into a pale creeper with no respect for personal boundaries. If we’re going to see another prequel series detailing how an iconic villain came to be, then it should really focus on Sinister — and remember, Fox, Cranston’s up for the gig!
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