Fox is hard at work on bringing X-Men to the small screen.
Dana Walden, chairman and CEO of the Fox Television Group, revealed the news at a press stop for the Television Critics Association. “[For] X-Men, we’re in negotiations with Marvel,” Walden told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to announce something soon. We’ve not closed on a deal yet but it’s something we’re definitely pursuing.”
The idea is to create a “long-running” live-action series; in other words, not a limited series like the upcoming returns of X-Files or Prison Break. Fox already has Star Trek 3 scribes Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne on board, who will share creator credits with 24’s Evan Katz and Manny Coto, the X-show’s potential showrunners.
The trick of the deal is that while 20th Century Fox owns the rights to Marvel’s mutants on the big screen, their small screen life is a bit more complicated. For instance, Marvel has produced its own (rather excellent and canceled prematurely) animated series with the the characters without Fox’s involvement. Fox’s TV studio will have to negotiate the rights to bring the X-Men to the network in live-action form.
What is clear, however, is that any X-Men show would not crossover with anything Marvel is doing independently. “The characters from the X-Men franchise are with Fox on the feature side so we won’t be including Marvel characters that are at ABC with Disney,” Walden explained. “This will be exclusively the franchise as it has existed at Fox.” Whatever the licensing deal ends up being, it would only pertain to the mutant characters Fox is already allowed to use in feature films. That means there’d be no connection to Disney’s animated Marvel shows or ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.
On the feature film side of things, Fox also has X-Men: Apocalypse nearing completion, a final run at Wolverine with Hugh Jackman in the works, and have just signed Channing Tatum to Gambit. There’s also the announced The New Mutants film from Josh Boone, Jeff Wadlow’s long-gestating X-Force, and next year’s anticipated Deadpool. While Marvel’s name appears on these films, they have little to do with their actual development.
Whether Marvel will continue to let Fox run with the live action interpretations of their X-characters and bring them over to television is yet to be seen, as the deal is still being hammered out.