Fox and Marvel have finally reached an agreement, and we’re about to see Fox move ahead with two TV dramas set in the X-Men Cinematic Universe!  But what does this deal mean for the future of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four?

First of all, we can see that Fox are moving on to Marvel’s turf.  They’ve commissioned a pilot for LEGION, written / executive produced by Noah Hawley (FARGO), and closed deals on the long-rumoured HELLFIRE series, created by Evan Katz, Manny Coto, and JD Payne (it’s worth noting that’s only a working title).  Just as the Marvel Cinematic Universe embraces multiple channels – movies, TV series, and Netflix series – so Fox are trying the same trick.  The two spin-off TV series will be part of the ‘new’ X-Men continuity set up in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

But here’s the interesting thing about these two series: neither have the traditional ‘X’ brand.  In the comics, X-Men spin-offs have frequently used an ‘X’ to indicate they’re part of that franchise – think X-Factor, X-Force, Generation X, the list is pretty endless.  For their first tie-in TV series, Fox are abandoning that tactic, and working on two titles that don’t have particularly strong and obvious links.  It suggests that X-Men fans really could see anything and everything coming to their TV screens, not just the obvious franchise titles.

How powerful is Legion X-Men

They’re also intriguing approaches.  Legion is, in the comics, the son of Charles Xavier – and a guy who suffers from multiple personality disorder.  Hopefully this will take tips from Simon Spurrier’s tremendous X-MEN: LEGACY run, but it’s worth noting that this approach is a risky one.  Even the original comics don’t have a spotless history when it comes to portrayal of psychological conditions, and there will be much more scrutiny on the TV series.  Still, Noah Hawley is seriously good.  As FX’s Nick Grad puts it:

“Legion is just the sort of ambitious story that Noah excels at.  His adaptation of FARGO for television was one of the most acclaimed television events in recent memory.”

Source: Deadline

HELLFIRE is another unusual choice, as it’s essentially a 1960s spy drama series featuring a secret agent trying to undermine a mutant menace – the Hellfire Club (seen in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, but likely to be dramatically reinterpreted).  It remains to be seen how much the original comic-book Hellfire Club will be used, given they’ve all made big-screen Fox appearances (and this could potentially be Emma Frost’s THIRD incarnation in the X-Men Cinematic Universe!).

The original Hellfire Club in X-Men comics

But here’s the question: why have Marvel okayed Fox pushing for this?  Den of Geek got a hint that the Fantastic Four had been passed back to Marvel as part of the deal, but this has now been debunked, which is a real shame!

Ultimate Fantastic Four

It’s worth noting that even Den of Geek consider this to be nothing more than a rumour at this point, but it is a viable one.  Time will tell if it pans out, but in the meantime, we watch with interest…

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