FOX, the keeper of all things “X-Men,” announced on Tuesday (July 12) that it is working on an untitled action-adventure series set in the mutant world. At first, your knee jerk reaction might be to cringe — but in many ways, the world of Wolverine, Jean Grey and Storm might be perfectly suited for a weekly series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will be assembled by “Burn Notice” mastermind Matt Nix, alongside “X-Men” veterans like Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.
So, why is this news worth celebrating? Read on for a lesson plan that would delight Professor X.
Too many stories
The X-Men have been uncanny since 1963, with an endless supply of characters throughout the decades. It’s certainly no secret that most are a metaphor for groups rejected by society — everything from minorities to gay people to the just plain weird. Part of the pleasure in getting to know these characters is learning the “human” side of their tales, long before any superpowers come into play.
According to reports, this series will focus on two parents who discover their children have mutant powers — and immediately go on the run from the government. A series would conceivably give this particular story anywhere from 10-25 hours per season to tell its tale — as opposed to the tiny slice of a 2-hour film that it would otherwise receive.
For the fans, it’s a chance to ditch the “greatest hits” feel that the movies often have and return to the comics’ roots, giving a story as much time as it needs to breathe.
No movie stars
As much as we all love Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, James McAvoy and the rest, the last few “X-Men” movies have reminded us that they’ve become baggage. Much like “Agents of SHIELD,” the expectation with a “lowly” TV show is that they won’t be able to afford movie stars. So, if none of the big boys come by to visit, there won’t be many complaints.
No time restrictions
Of course, everybody loved “First Class” and “Days of Future Past.” It was a lot of fun to see all those bellbottoms and bad Nixon lookalikes. But “Apocalypse” underlined the fact that all this time shifting has left the series helplessly mired in the past.
Think about all the machinations that would now need to happen to bring the “X-Men” movies series current again. Would they fire the “new” cast? Would they avoid the “classic” cast?
It’s enough to give you a headache, but it’s also another strength of the TV series. There’s no need to even acknowledge the movies if they don’t want to go there. The show can be set in current day and not disrupt any continuity — so, bring on the Pokemon Go jokes!
The Deadpool problem
It seems safe to say that everybody loved “Deadpool” — perhaps more so than every “X-Men” movie combined. The next “Wolverine” movie is going to inevitably face those comparisons, but not a TV series.
While it’s safe to assume that the “X-Men” series will avoid the potty mouth and NSFW bloodshed of the Ryan Reynolds hit, it would be smart to learn from its success. If this TV series properly mixes comedy and action, embraces obscure characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead and experiments with its creativity, it could be a similar triumph. And if any studio execs get in their way, the show’s creative team can just point at Deadpool’s opening weekend.
Bring back Brian Cox
Sure, it looked like William Stryker drowned at the end of “X2.” But he has been the greatest non-Magneto villain in the film series, and they let the Scottish acting veteran walk too soon. If Marvel can base “Agents of SHIELD” around Agent “We all saw him die” Coulson, they can certainly explain that Stryker was a good swimmer.
Imagine Stryker leading the government charge to capture these new mutants, and the show immediately feels a whole lot cooler. Normally, a counter-argument might be that Cox is too in-demand with films — however, word on the street is that he’s looking for TV work.