An Op Ed To Fox: How To Make an X-Men TV Show

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By Nick Taylor

The X-Men have graced the television medium before. We didn’t see Cyclops, Wolverine, or Psylocke but we all watched it. Maybe Magneto wasn’t the villain, and Xavier wasn’t running the school but I assure you that you watched it. You may not have realized it at the time you were watching ‘Heroes’ on NBC you were actually watching the X-Men but at the end of the day ‘Heroes: Season One’ is X-Men. I won’t bore you with lame comparisons but I think you understand what I am trying to say. An X-Men TV show will most certainly be a success because as we know; it already has.


When Fox first premiered X-Men in 2000 the world was blown away. For years we had dreamed of seeing Xavier and his beloved X-Men on the big screen. When the X-Men arrive in TV format it will be the exact same. Maybe it won’t be Jean Grey, Storm, and Sabretooth but it will still be X-Men. If rumors are true then we will be seeing something more along the lines of an X-Factor or X-Force series but anything is possible, especially when we are talking about such gifted individuals like mutants.


Fox already tried to take X-Men to the small screen with the Generation X made for TV movie but it wasn’t exactly a home run. I know Fox has had a remarkable ability to screw up one of the best comic series ever, still I have to believe they are ready to do things the right way. Bryan Singer and company will not be writing nor directing so for the first time Fox will be getting a clean slate, a fresh start, but best of all – a shot at redemption. The one very simple rule is that they cannot make the TV and movie universe a combined universe.


They must be separate. Here is why:

Fox has completely screwed themselves with all sorts of continuity issues: Havok is a kid in the 60’s, Quicksilver is a kid in the 70’s, etc. How do they plan on these characters being in their 20’s or 30’s in a modern day TV series? That might work in comics but it doesn’t fly with TV or movies. If this is truly a chance to set things right (and Days of Future Past did not just fix all of the Fox X-Men woes) they are going to have to start fresh. There can be no connection to any of the movies. If they use Juggernaut, half the greatness of the character is his relationship with his step brother Charles Xavier. In TV you need character depth and the relationship to push the character of Juggernaut as far as you can. Quicksilver is the son of Magneto and he has some serious issues because of that, play it up!


Even though I would love a TV series about the REAL original X-Men, I totally get why they want the show to be X-Factor or X-Force. If you can watch the X-Men on TV, why would you go watch them in the theater? If we are going to use one of the side teams be it X-Factor, X-Force or even Excaliber just make sure you do the characters right. Most of the characters in the Fox X-Men movies outside of Wolverine, Xavier, Mystique, and Magneto are pretty much 2 dimensional characters and that will not work for television.


Tease us with cameos, name drops, and events. I want to see major villains play a large role. People like Mr.Sinister, Omega Red, and The Brood are all great examples. I want the space part of X-Men to come into play; the Shi’ar and Lilandra are most certainly part of the Fox X-Men rights so use them! I want Cameron Hodge to start off as a good guy and eventually be revealed to be a complete psychopath.


The X-Men mythos is chocked full of amazing stories and characters which are all connected. The original X-Factor was actually the original X-Men, the original X-Force was pretty much the New Mutants plus Cable, etc. You don’t have to follow it word for word but use it to your advantage. You have the rights to everything that is X-Men so don’t ever forget that.


This show cannot be a monster of the week or a procedural scripts – it has to be a very serial drama. The X-Men comics are 90% dialog but that is what makes the X-Men so perfect for television. The show has to be able to stand up to the likes of ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash,’ the superhero TV show standards have been set and Fox has to match up. This is the golden opportunity to make one of the greatest comic book series into one of the greatest TV shows of all time.