Yesterday, Fox announced that it is teaming up with Marvel to produce two television shows based around characters from the X-Men Universe. Coming to Fox will be Hellfire, centered around the Hellfire Club seen in X-Men: First Class, and coming to FX is Legion, based on the son of Charles Xavier.
If you don’t feel that bit of excitement yet, it takes a little understanding of the legal aspects of the characters to understand why such a team up is so momentous. Marvel owns the films rights to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is your Iron Man, Captain America and your other Avengers. Fox owns the film rights to the X-Men film series. The two companies have shown no interest before in working together, which is why you haven’t seen Wolverine, Beast and Storm in the Avengers series even though they each have been Avengers in the comics before and also why you saw two distinctly different versions of Quicksilver in the last two years.
This will be the first time Fox and Marvel proper will be working together to co-produce something. It’s quite the “uncanny” partnership. Reason being, Marvel still owns the Television rights to the X-Men and Fox is forced to partner with them to produce television properties based around everyone’s favorite mutants.
The actual properties themselves are less exciting than the partnership between the two companies. Hellfire will reportedly take place in the 60’s and will focus on a young Special Agent who discovers “a power-hungry woman with extraordinary abilities is working with a clandestine society of millionaires to take over the world.” It sounds like when Moira McTaggert discovers Emma Frost running clandestine operations in the back of the club in X-Men First Class. Who the cast will focus around exactly has yet to be announced but Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost are two of the most likely candidates due to casual fans familiarity with them and their long history with the Hellfire Club.
Legion centers around Daniel Haller, the son of Charles Xavier. He is known for his powers based around his mental illness and was the original catalyst for the much loved Age of Apocalypse in the 90’s. The pilot description given states “The pilot introduces the story of David Haller: Since he was a teenager, David has struggled with mental illness. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, David has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.” Legion has already been granted a pilot for FX, but no further information has been given out about when the show will take place.
Fox will likely try to keep the shows based inside the world of constantly rewritten continuity of the X-Men’s film universe leaving the door open for guest stars of mutants and actors that are still cheap enough to appear on TV. Here’s looking at you Havok and Banshee.
There have been rumors come out of this, unconfirmed whispers in the shadows that in return for permission to use the X-Men characters on television, that Fox will be returning the Fantastic Four and all related characters to Marvel proper. Again, this is unconfirmed but it is the great hope of all nerds everywhere that it’s finally here. It’s finally coming. Say it with me now…
IT’S CLOBBERING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you aren’t excited about this, it’s probably because of the three terrible Fantastic Four movies to date and Fox’s utter complete butchery of a once great franchise, but under Marvel, who has shown great care for it’s properties and treats each in a way to cater to it’s properties capabilites, Fantastic Four has a chance to be great again and opens all kinds of new doors for the MCU. We can now see the Kree/Skrull War. The world devourer himself Galactus may show his purple bright suited self in all its ridiculous 60’s glory as he stands over the world, instead of some stupid cloud. Most of all, if there is anyone who can be the great fear and foe of the Marvel Universe after Thanos, then all hope lies in Doom. Doom can save us all from a boring post Thanos universe. Doom can save the universe from destruction, by causing all kinds of destruction! Again, none of this is confirmed, but it is a rumor that is well worth celebrating if true. Marvel would have everyone under the banner again except the Mutants, and only time will tell.
UPDATE: According to a few sources, this trade may not have actually happened, but one can dream.