While X-Men: Apocalypse would seem to signal that perhaps Bryan Singer should probably leave X-Men alone, and that shows like Legion and the success of Deadpool show that other creators can take mutants from here, he’s not done with X-Men yet. Yesterday, we reported that Fox had ordered a pilot from Matt Nix (Burn Notice) about mutants on the run, and now TV Line reports that Singer will direct the pilot for the series.
Singer was already on board as executive producer, but that didn’t provide any details with regards to his level of involvement. Now that he’s directing the pilot, he’ll get to set the tone for the story’s visuals (although it’s possible that look could change; the pilot for House, M.D., which he directed, looks very different from the rest of the series), and it keeps him firmly planted in the X-Men universe even if he’s only directing the first episode of the series.
For those who are unfamiliar with the upcoming untitled series, it focuses on “two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.” While that’s not the worst premise for a TV series, and Fox obviously wants to get as much money out of the X-Men franchise as possible, network television isn’t conducive to great storytelling. Even in the age of “Peak TV”, all of the best shows are coming from cable networks and streaming services that give creators the freedom to tell exciting stories. Meanwhile, we don’t have to look any further than Gotham to see how Fox handles telling superhero stories on the small screen.
I also don’t really think Singer has every “got” X-Men beyond understanding its broad themes with regards to discrimination. His characterizations have been muddled (we’ve had five movies with Storm and none of them really got her right) and often feel like someone trying to create fan service without understanding how to best tell stories that would appeal to die-hard fans of the comics. Additionally, as the X-Men world branches out and becomes more diverse in terms of tone with Legion, Deadpool, and Logan, I’m not sure how Singer’s vision fits in anymore. It seems like at a time when others are trying to branch out and try new things with the X-Men universe, Singer is sticking to the confines of his small sandbox.