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Why Fox's X-Men TV Series Won't Use Certain Marvel Characters

Over 15 years have passed, and the X-Men film franchise is still going strong. Next year will bring Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and Gambit, with other movies based on New Mutants and X-Force in development. Not content to just stick to the big screen, however, it was reported last year that Fox was looking to develop an X-Men TV series based in the same universe as the movies. Information has been light on its progress, but now it’s been confirmed that the TV network is indeed looking to feature the Marvel Comics mutants, albeit with a few restrictions.

This morning at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden revealed to THR that the network is pursuing a deal with Marvel to make an X-Men TV series that will be “long-running” as opposed to a limited run. There’s just one catch. Much like how Fox can only use characters they have the film rights to (purchased from Marvel back in the ‘90s), the same will apply to this TV show. According to Walden:

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. This will be exclusively the franchise as it has existed at Fox.

So if you were looking for a loophole that would allow the cinematic X-Men characters to interact with those that Marvel owns, you’re out of luck. Still, considering how many heroes, villains and supporting characters live in the X-Men world, Fox won’t have a problem introducing audiences to new players. It’s still unclear what the potential series will be about. One past report said characters like Multiple Man and Quicksilver would be featured, while another report mentioned that the potential series would be based off the X-Factor comic book created by writer Peter David.

If the project goes into development, it will be written by Star Trek Beyond’s Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, and they will share a “created by” credit with showrunners Evan Katz and Manny Coto. And while Disney and Marvel might not be ecstatic about Fox taking the heroic mutants to the small screen, the MCU is doing fine with leaving its mark on television. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter will kick off their new seasons on ABC in the near future, and Marvel is building a strong presence on Netflix with shows like Daredevil and the upcoming Jessica Jones. There is also a mystery ABC superhero series being written by 12 Years a Slave scribe John Ridley, so Marvel doesn’t have to worry about losing its hold of the fans.

Combined with the DC Comics airing across three networks, this X-Men project would be just one more superhero series for both fans and general audiences to enjoy should it move forward. Here's hoping Fox announces something more official soon!

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.