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Get Ready to See a Lot More of Marvel’s X-Men on TV

Director Bryan Singer poses on arrival for the premiere of X-Men: Apocalypse in London on May 9, 2016. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas—AFP/Getty Images

21st Century Fox is developing yet another television series based on Marvel’s X-Men franchise.

Variety reported that 21st Century Fox has ordered an as-yet-untitled TV pilot based in the X-Men universe for its Fox broadcast network. The company’s FX Networks has already developed another X-Men-based show, called Legion, that premieres on Feb. 8.

Bryan Singer, who directed and produced many of the X-Men movies released over the past 17 years, including 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, is signed on to direct Fox’s X-Men TV series. Matt Nix (Burn Notice, The Comedians) will write the show, according to Variety.

In an interview with tech news site CNET on Wednesday, Nix said the Fox series will be “more intimate” than the X-Men movies and that the show is likely to focus on parents who discover that their children are mutants and must deal with the repercussions. (The X-Men comics feature “mutants” like Wolverine and Storm, who have unique superpowers and often deal with political themes such as prejudice and oppression.)

Meanwhile, FX entrusted Legion with writer-director Noah Hawley (the Fargo TV series). That show follows a mysterious lead character with split personalities, each one of which uses his superpowers differently.

It’s no surprise that 21st Century Fox would be developing both shows, as the company owns exclusive film and television rights to the X-Men characters through a deal with Marvel that predates Marvel’s 2009 sale to Walt Disney. (Disney’s purchase of Marvel paved the way for the long list of Marvel Cinematic Universe films—such as the Iron Man, Avengers, and Captain America series—but some of Marvel’s previous rights deals mean that Disney does not have access to characters from comics such as The X-Men and The Fantastic Four.


Last year, Fox also scored a major cinematic hit with Deadpool, a movie that is ostensibly a spin-off of the X-Men comics. The movie, about a foul-mouthed anti-hero played by actor Ryan Reynolds, grossed more than $780 million at the worldwide box office.

Two years ago, Disney struck a deal with Sony that allowed Marvel’s Spider-Man character, to whom Sony long ago bought the film rights, to appear in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. It was rumored last year that Disney and Fox might strike a similar deal related to the X-Men characters, but Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige called such a deal “an impossibility” as recently as November.