The Children of the Atom are about to embark on their seventh big-screen adventure, but could a new small-screen adventure happen, too?
Long before they became box-office draws, the X-Men were a fixture of animated television, beginning with the much-beloved X-Men: The Animated Series in 1992. Many present-day fans of Marvel's Merry Mutants first got to know them through their TV appearances, and plenty of fans of a certain generation (including me) flocked to the original X-Men films because they'd grown up watching those characters on Saturday mornings.
So in an era when Marvel Studios already has one live-action TV series on the air (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and is set to launch at least five more (Agent Carter and the Netflix series Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Defenders), why couldn't the X-Men make their own small-screen live-action leap? Fox, the studio for the X-films, is already into shared-universe superhero filmmaking, after all. They've united the old and new X-Men casts in a single film, and they're whispering about more X-spinoffs and a possible link between the X-Men and Fantastic Four movie franchises. Will they also follow Marvel's lead and branch this live-action universe out into television?
In a new interview with Collider, X-Men: Days of Future Past writer and producer Simon Kinberg discussed the viability of a TV future for Fox's superhero characters.
"We’re still in this place of figuring out what the future of the franchise will be, but when you look at S.H.I.E.L.D. to some extent and what Marvel is doing now with Daredevil and other shows on Netflix, it makes sense to tell some of these stories in TV partly because there’s just not enough screens to do all these characters, and also because the serialized format of comic books is better suited for TV," Kinberg said. "Because that’s it, every week you come back to the same characters different story, and in comic books every week it’s the same characters, different story."
Kinberg didn't elaborate on exactly which X-Men stories a potential TV series would focus on, but he did note that it's getting easier, and cheaper, to tell big, FX-driven stories on television, and that's an attractive prospect.
"I think what they’re seeing now is with the proliferation of new kinds of visual and special effects, there’s a way to make these stories that don’t cost $300 million every time you have to make a huge movie," he said.
So, while it sounds like something that's only in the discussion phase, it seems that Kinberg and Fox are definitely toying with the idea of returning the X-Men to the small screen in live-action form. It doesn't seem likely that some of the X-franchise's bigger names -- Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, etc. -- would commit to a TV series, and even if they did it would be expensive to keep them there. That doesn't mean it can't be done, though. The X-Men universe is positively packed with characters, including teenagers at Xavier's school, lower-profile mutant teams, and plenty of intriguing spinoff opportunities.
What do you think? Would an X-Men show work, and if so, who'd you like to see leading it?