After the success of Gotham, Fox appears to be exploring options to bring another comic book franchise to television. According to rumors, Fox may be greenlighting an X-men series for the small screen. However, there is no further word on casting, plot lines, or even what channel it may be on. Also, with the mixed bag of movies that Fox has released over the years, fans may be skeptical about a TV series.
When you consider the timing of an X-men series in a period where we have seen the successes and failures of other comic-to-TV franchises, there are a few things that the show would have to do to be successful:
Do not rely on the movies as a crutch
This may be the most singular way that Fox will win or lose fans. In my opinion, the movies have been a mess over the years in terms of storytelling and cohesiveness. The movies have been difficult to follow at times because a plot line established in one film may be broken or even completely erased in another. I think that, as a show, this would be the perfect time for the X-men to do a reboot on the TV level with a clean break from the movies. If Fox wants to make a show that is accessible to fans, then they should not spend much time trying to tie the show in with the films. As many will attest, this is how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (“AoS“) nearly failed, because its first few seasons relied on movie callbacks. If Fox is going to find a way to keep the X-men franchise in its wheelhouse and bring fans onboard, it needs to stand on its own merits as a well-scripted show from the ground up similar to how Gotham has gone without relying on any of the movies.
Stay faithful to utilizing good X-men Characters
The success or failure of any superhero franchise on TV today is the visibility of the actual characters on screen. Even though Marvel’s AoS has managed to stay around awhile, it’s still problematic that Marvel’s first foray into a TV series after nearly 30 years was to have a show with no recognizable characters. There is a reason why Daredevil is popular on Netflix. There is also a reason why Luke Cage literally broke that same service. Fans want to see their favorite characters onscreen. If Fox does this series, there is almost no way it can do it without Ororo, Jean, Scott, Logan, and Hank. It’s nearly impossible to do without Charles as well. That said, please just don’t throw a bunch of characters at us all at once. A slow, steady drip of characters will do. The same goes for their rogue’s gallery. This show needs to avoid some of the same mistakes that Arrow has made by using too many villains not really associated with those characters. If done right, we could see conflicts with the Juggernaut, Magneto, of course, and even The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Just imagine if somehow Fox could do what they couldn’t do on the big screen and give viewers an epic Dark Phoenix story line! Many would tune in for that. What about their struggles with the Morlocks? The Morlocks have barely been touched in the movies and utilizing them on the small screen would be a great way to bring them back to the forefront. This would also be a perfect time to fix Bishop and introduce Cable as well. Bottom line is, depending on how deep the well is for Fox’s licensing, there are a fair number of characters that can be used without Fox having to create new ones.
Oh, and maybe a Ryan Reynolds Deadpool cameo?
Keep the storylines simple
As mentioned earlier, the movies were a mess simply because so many hands in the pot and the lack of continuity ruined the franchise. First and foremost, don’t ever let Brett Ratner near the franchise again. The best case scenario if the show is greenlit, is if there is a well thought out plan for the series. Fox needs to establish a long term plan for not only introducing the characters but also what their roles will be for the long term, not just from episode to episode . Plot development for many series (coff Flash and Arrow) has been problematic because it seems like story writers did not bother to plan far enough ahead to insure that from season 1 to season 2 and 3 that there was cohesion in the overall plot and themes of the show. Too many times some kind of time-traveling Deus Ex Machina or other hokey plot twists have been implemented to thinly cover up plot holes that have been wide enough to fly a Blackbird through. If Fox has followed the other comic-based TV series out there, hopefully they can learn from this. As an aside, a connection to Legion, the X-Men show that premieres on FX on February 8th would be interesting if done correctly.
Again, as of now, the show is still in the planning phases. However, if Fox plays its cards right, they may show Marvel Studios as well as the CW and a few other networks out there how it’s done. By sticking to a good long plan and a steady drip of good recognizable characters, Fox can ensure a great following as well as make up for the mess of movies that fans have been given over the years.
So, let’s hear from you, what would you like to see out of an X-men series?
P.S. More Sentinels please??