Fox’s ‘X-Men’ franchise is chugging along at full strength with the ‘Deadpool’ trailer generating instant positive buzz and despite criticism of the first images of the title villain, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is expected to be one of the biggest super hero movies of next year, with acclaimed director Bryan Singer once again behind the camera of the franchise he helped make a household name.
Just as Marvel Studios capitalized on the success of their movies to create two shows for ABC, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and ‘Agent Carter’ (not to mention their Netflix series), Fox is looking at the small screen as the next frontier for the mutant heroes. TV is obviously limited by smaller budgets and tasked with creating much more than a two hour narrative. Whatever property Fox chooses has to conform to these constraints and be able to deliver at least thirteen engaging episodes that will bring viewers back week after week.
Since we’re obviously not going to see the full X-Men team in a weekly series, what related properties could add to the movie universe yet still forge their own identity onscreen? Here are ten suggestions:
In her earliest appearances, Jubilee was a mall rat and victim of the foster care system. Seeking an escape, she spies the female X-Men shopping and follows them into a portal, winding up in their temporary base in the Australian Outback. She cobbled together a costume using spare parts of theirs and employed their ally Gateway to teleport her to other locales before she hooked up with Wolverine and became part of the team.
The idea of a homemade X-Men super fan emulating her heroes and attempting to be a champion on her own, with a friend who can teleport her anywhere, is tailor-made for a TV series. Jubilee is a well-known mutant, but not really a headliner and her fireworks powers would be easy to duplicate on a TV budget. Her strained relationship with her foster family could add the requisite domestic drama. And her being a teenager opens the door for school politics.
Seeing ‘Longshot’ in a TV show is a long shot indeed. But the hero, who possesses impossible good luck, originated in a world where TV, specifically death sports, are used to keep the populace in thrall and distracted from the dark political goings-on. In the comics, this world is over-the-top– populate by cartoonish creatures, especially the monstrous blob Mojo who rules with little resistance.
The show would have to be toned down significantly, but it would essentially be ‘The Hunger Games’ meets ‘Running Man’ and could work really well in a serialized format, as Longshot struggles to avoid his oppressive rulers while also working to bring about their downfall. The only problem is that this would be pretty far removed from the X-verse, but I’ll leave it to the show’s creators to iron that out.
Cult favorite Dazzler is Allison Blaire, a mutant that can convert sound into light, but whose original goal was to become a successful pop singer/actress. She passed on joining the X-Men to head to LA to make her dreams come true, but her mutant nature continually drew her into super heroic escapades. A ‘Dazzler’ TV show would appeal to non-comic fans by revealing the inner workings of Hollywood and the music industry. It worked for frothy smash ‘Empire’ which also featured a hit soundtrack. ‘Dazzler’ could do the same, but with a mutant spin.
An unlikely choice, for sure, but life on a Native American reservation is territory just begging to be translated to television. (Currently, Jason Aaron’s ‘Scalped’ comic is in development to do just that.) Reservation life is a completely different culture than most are used to seeing and this could offer insight into this life, based in tradition and spirituality but often plagued with lack of education and opportunity, corruption and alcoholism.
Thunderbird is possibly the least developed X-Man, dying on just his second mission. That actually works to his advantage as the sky would essentially be the limit. With his less-than-flashy powers– super strength and endurance– the effects budget wouldn’t be astronomical. This could be a real, gritty series along the lines of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ as James Proudstar struggles to maintain some degree of order and peace against steep odds.
Northstar was the first super hero to come out as gay, but since then hasn’t held the highest profile. A TV show could deal with his status as a former Olympic gold medalist who must now figure out what to do with the rest of his life. This would be complicated when his mutant powers are discovered and critics charge that he had an unfair advantage when he won his medals and demand he return them.
Complicating things further, he finds himself drawn into the super hero life thanks to his super speed and light abilities– something that ‘The Flash’ has already proven works on the small screen.
Gay characters are increasingly prominent in pop culture, but the realm of action adventure is usually devoid of them, Captain Jack Harkness, aside. The groundbreaking X-Men franchise could help break another taboo with a gay mutant hero in a leading role.
5. Young Magneto
Even though Michael Fassbender plays a younger version of the Master of Magnetism on the big screen, it could be interesting to see the development as he grows from friend and ally to the idealistic Charles Xavier to the mutant conqueror he eventually becomes. This would allow fans to follow Magneto as he travels the world, defending himself and other mutants from human oppression, allowing creators to slip in cameos from other characters from the comics, some of whom may find themselves following Magneto’s hardline path.
X-Factor could bring a grittier noir feel to the movie X-Verse, with Jamie Maddrox, the Multiple Man setting up a private investigation agency specializing in crimes involving the unusual, i.e. mutants. If they want to borrow from the first version of X-Factor, Maddrox and his teammates could hide their own mutant nature as a cover to secretly rescue the “dangerous” mutants they hunt. Among his allies in the comics are Syrin, M, Wolfsbane, Strong-Guy, Rictor and Shatterstar, any of which would work on TV without their powers being too expensive.
3. Generation X
The name is dated– Generation X was a buzzword applied to teens and twentysomethings in the 90s– but the concept is ageless. Dozens if not hundreds of young mutants have appeared as students at Xavier’s School in the movies. Fox is already planning to bring some of them to the big screen in a ‘New Mutants’ movie. But the idea would work quite easily on TV as we watch young mutants struggle with hard-to-control abilities and typical adolescent maladies like puberty, fitting in and romance.
Some members would probably have to be omitted for cost, like Chamber, Penance and Mondo, but others like M, Skin, Husk and Jubilee would work just fine. And there have been many focal young mutants in the X-books over the years, so that leaves room for others like Quentin Quire, the Stepford Cuckoos, Pixie and Armor (among many, many others) to possibly star or at least appear.
2. The Hellfire Club
The Hellfire Club is one of the most complex and enduring problems for the X-Men. An aristocratic gathering of mutants that hide their gifts but use them to amass riches and power in the world of business, the group was depicted in ‘X-Men: First Class’, but considering how largely forgotten that movie is, it wouldn’t be too hard to bring a fresher version to the big screen. Since there have been multiple lineups, they could (if they wanted to) leave out Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost, the two most vital members in the movie.
A TV show would be overflowing with beautiful rich people, all out for whatever they want and not afraid to go to any lengths to get it, including stabbing one another in the back. They may use their powers– or even sexuality– on one another, if that’s what it takes.
This could be a frothy, soapy drama with a super hero (or villain) twist.
1. Young Wolverine
Is this the show I most want to see? No. But if Fox wants a surefire hit, this is their best bet. Wolverine is the most popular character from the entire franchise and his long life leaves many years unaccounted for when it comes to the live action version. With Hugh Jackman walking away from the role after ‘Wolverine 3’, Fox does need to reinvent a younger version of the character with the potential to one day stand alongside the new versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm that will debut in ‘Apocalypse’.
A series that focused on a younger, less-disciplined Logan who wanders lost and directionless after undergoing the Weapon X process leaves a lot of room for development and potential storylines. As with Magneto, this would allow for the potential of other young mutants popping up along the way.
What do you think? Would you watch any of these shows? Or would you rather see a different character(s) in a X-Men TV show? Comment below!