With the new FX series Legion accumulating rave early reviews, it seems Fox has finally realized the X-Men universe is filled with as much potential for television as it has for movies. And as Legion proves, a given X-Men show doesn't even need a well-known character at its center to be intriguing--Legion himself is a relatively minor character in the greater X-Men universe. With that in mind, which other relatively obscure mutants are ripe for exploration these days? Here are my top five choices for X-Men universe concepts that could easily make the jump to television.
Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s oddball mutant team X-Statix--was originally a revamped version of X-Force, if only in name--was one of coolest and more original comics to come out of Marvel's rebranding under EIC Joe Quesada in the early 2000s. The comic skewered our celebrity obsessed culture by focusing on a group of mutants (namely Orphan, U-Go-Girl, Phat, and Vivisector) who'd go out and fight menaces as part of a reality television show. These "heroes" didn't care all that much about fighting for mutant rights and saving innocents as they did about ratings and recognition.
X-Statix may feel even more relevant today than it was when it first came out in 2001. Of course, a lot of changes would have to be made to this property if it were to transition to TV. For example, the main mutant characters of X-Statix were actually often downright unlikable, even sociopathic at times, so it might be hard to sustain interest in characters like that for long term television. Even the comic had this problem. Nevertheless, this is an overall concept tailor made for television. Plus, who doesn't want to see Doop, the floating mutant cameraman who speaks an indecipherable language, finally make it to live action?
Late '80s X-Men spin-off Excalibur was always one of the weirdest of the X-books back in the day. The series was about a trio of former X-Men==Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, and Rachel Summers--who become ex-pats (or is that X-Pats?) and move to England, where they join up with British heroes Captain Britain and his pixie-ish girlfriend Meggan. Together they live in a lighthouse and call themselves Excalibur. The original comics from writer Chris Claremont and co-plotter and artist Alan Davis were filled with stories that involved the interdimensional crossings and journeys into alternate timelines, and all manner of wacky, far out stuff. Could this be Doctor Who meets X-Men?
The basic concept of former X-Men trying to start a new life in a new country could work really well on television, and show us a side of the mutant universe we haven't seen before. The real question is: Could actress Ellen Page, who played Kitty in the movies, be lured back for a TV series? Even if they had to recast the roles, Excalibur could be one of the more interesting mutant concepts to make it to TV.
X- Factor Investigations
X-Factor feels perfectly suited procedural type show, albeit one with a twist. Writer Peter David wrote maybe the most popular version of this team in the comics, which has had many incarnations and mission statements over the years. In David's run, the star of the book was Jamie Madrox, a.k.a. the Multiple Man, who can literally duplicate into hundreds of versions of himself. Madrox owns a detective agency that specializes in mutant specific cases, set in a kind of "mutant ghetto" of NYC.
The comic book cast was filled with mutant C-listers that David gave true life and personalities to (it's fair to say no one really cared about Shatterstar or Strong Guy before Peter David fleshed them out). Because the focus would be on solving crimes and living the private detective life, this show wouldn't break the bank like a regular X-Men TV show would. Of course, because of a certain popular reality show, Fox would do well to change the name of the show, which is why I’d just call it X-Factor Investigations.
Lila Cheney and Dazzler
Lila Cheney is one of those mutants that has been around the pages of Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants comics forever, but has never actually joined any of the X-Men teams. A mutant musician, Lila has the ultra-cool power of teleportation, but unlike Nightcrawler, can only teleport over vast galactic distances. But she can teleport large groups of people, which is pretty convenient when fighting aliens and the like. It's a cool power to have, and what a great hook for a TV show: You're a lady rock star who can travel lightyears across the galaxy, it's Star Trek meets Jem and the Holograms.
And while we are on the subject of mutant rock stars, why not pair up Lila Cheney with that other awesome mutant pop idol, Dazzler? Dazzler, of course, is the mutant disco diva who has the power to turn sound into light. Although she's been a member of the X-Men on and off for years, the movies have never used her. I say team her up with Lila Cheney, and have the show be a girl power rock 'n' roll fest that takes the mutants all over the galaxy. Who wouldn't want to see that?
Here's one that would make for a cool series, although I kind of don't want to see it happen. Fox currently holds the rights to both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four characters. While I desperately want the Fantastic Four to return to the hands of Marvel Studios, at the moment I believe Fox could make a show featuring the Fantastic Four characters if they so chose. One of those characters is actually a mutant: Franklin Richards, son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm.
Franklin also has ties to the X-Men world, as he's a mutant of the highest power levels. In one of the alternate timeline futures, he is in fact in a romantic relationship with Cyclops and Jean Grey's daughter Rachel Summers. The story of Franklin, the child of superhero royalty who is destined to become the most powerful mutant of all time, could make for a rather fascinating TV series. It might be a tad too much like Legion, but can possibly take things even further. (But I still want Marvel to get back the Fantastic Four rights more than I want a Franklin Richards show. Sorry Franky).
Which minor X-Men character or team would you like to see make the jump to TV? Are you that one person just dying for a show about Maggot, or Marrow? Let us know down below in the comments!
Images: Marvel Comics