One of the more unexpected announcements regarding a comic book adaptation of late was the news not that long ago that 20th Century Fox is developing not one but two TV series based on characters and elements from the “X-Men” universe.
The first is “Hellfire,” which is setup at FOX and revolves around the villainous Hellfire Club in the 1960s. That one will be run by “24: Live Another Day” showrunners Evan Katz and Manny Coto and is thought to be more of a traditional X-Men show.
The second is “Legion” at FX with “Fargo” showrunner Noah Hawley writing the pilot. That series will follow David Haller, a man diagnosed as a schizophrenic who has a strange encounter that confronts him with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might just be real.
Simon Kinberg, a producer on the “X-Men” film series, recently sat down with Collider and spoke about his excitement for the shows, specifically “Legion”:
“Legion and Hellfire are both super active. Hellfire we’re hoping to be shooting at the beginning of next year, the pilot… the Hellfire script we have an amazing writing team, really two writing teams working together on it.
It has been extraordinary working with Noah Hawley [on Legion], who I think is a straight up genius… So that’s really ramping up now, the production’s ramping up to start shooting at the beginning of the year with FX.”
With “Legion” on FX, it allows for the producers to get away with stuff they can’t on network television, and that means some dark paths for its core character to wander. To that effect, Kinberg compares it to the journey of a certain Walter White:
“I mean the thing that’s cool and that’s the hope in branching out to TV is that we can tell these X-Men stories in a slightly different way and even with a slightly different tone. It’s one of the thing we’re kind of doing in the different movie franchises.
I mean Deadpool obviously has a very different, almost antithetical tone to the mainline X-Men movies. The X-Men movies are dramatic and almost operatic, whereas Deadpool is irreverent and hysterical and sort of a dirty R-rated comedy in many ways. And Gambit will have its own different flavor and tone to it, will be more of like a heist movie and a sexy thriller in a way.
So the TV shows give us an opportunity to go even further and certainly what I’m seeing on Legion with Noah and FX is an intent to do something completely original in the genre, in some ways to sort of blow up the paradigm of comic book or superhero stories and almost do our Breaking Bad of superhero stories.”
Both shows only have pilot commitments at this point so an episode count is uncertain for now.