Last year, we thought we would be at TCA in 2017 talking about Fox’s Hellfire series. Unfortunately, that was scrapped, and in its place is a new X-Men series is in development from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix. Nix spoke to a handful of journalists after the panel for another new Fox series, APB (where he is an executive producer), about what we can expect from the still untitled new Marvel series, which will enter the cycle for this year’s Fall pilots.
Firstly, for those who aren’t aware, FX’s soon-premiering Legion series is also an X-Men story, but it’s not one that is connected to the larger X-Men cinematic world (in the comics the main character, played by Dan Stevens, is the son of Charles Xavier — in the show that’s not the case). Nix told us that this new series will be very different from what Legion is doing (which is exceptionally visually and narratively ambitious), but most especially in the fact that his series will be connected to the X-Men cinematic universe.
“Without getting into specifics that I’ll get murdered for, I would say that a fan of the movies — particularly the movies but also the comic books — would not be disoriented as to where this fits in the mythology. If you look at the movies that take place, they don’t all line up perfectly. So it’s not like I’m slavishly fitting myself into a particular slot [but] if you like that world and the world of the movies, there are definite nods to it, it definitely exists in the same general universe.”
When asked if it would connect like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does with the MCU, he said,
“Close. Not exactly. In a sort of general way, it acknowledges that events like those that happened in the movie have happened. It’s still evolving, so we’ll see how much that comes in. But it’s certainly not like ‘since this happened X-Men Apocalypse, now all of these things are happening,’ which I think is cool but [S.H.I.E.L.D.] already did that.”
He also let us know that it would ideally run 12 or 13 episodes instead of a typical broadcast 22 or more. Plot-wise, we know that it will be about a family on the run as their kids (or as he confirmed, teenagers) begin manifesting mutant abilities, which “in a world where that’s the case, where mutant kids just manifesting their powers have to go on the run, established mutants are going to have something to say about that.”
Speaking of established mutants, on the subject of whether or not the show will mostly be original characters, Nix revealed that
“Without getting into specifics, it’s sort of designed to side-step questions like ‘Where is Wolverine?’ So you sort of have to answer those questions, and I didn’t want to do anything like ‘Wolverine is just offscreen!’ You know what I mean. So it exists in a world where those questions are answered without needing to name a lot of names or spend time dwelling on that issue.”
“So within that, there are a certain amount of those characters I can use, and I’m using some of those, but others I’m inventing. But everything is invented with a nod towards the existing mythology. When I was pitching the show, I pitched some characters that appear nowhere in the mythology, but the guys from Marvel, when I started describing them, all gave each other knowing nods. It was like ‘Oh I see what he’s doing, yes.’ So I tried to do a lot of that. I didn’t want to get into the realm of too much ‘Yep! New X-Men here we go!’ because with this there’s a little bit of fan service.”
When talking about what doing this series means to him as a lifelong fan, he said:
“You don’t want to sound douchey saying something like this, but it’s like how a lot of people have talked about joining the Star Wars franchise and how when you do that there’s a sense of respect. Like you don’t want to be slavishly doing the same thing over and over again that everyone else has done, but at the same time, you’re conscious that this is important, and that I owe something to my 10 year old self right now. And I want to respect that, for that kid obsessively reading comic books, I need there to be something rewarding for him where he’s like ‘I didn’t waste my time, l know what this is!’”
We’ll bring you more information about the series as we know it, but in the meantime stay tuned to all of our TCA coverage.