Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Television is the ideal medium to bring comic book stories to life, especially for an intricately-plotted series like the X-Men, but there was always the problem of budgeting that kept an X-Men TV show from being feasible. Until recently, there was no way to bring a team of super-powered mutants to television without having the costumes and effects look cheap and/or ridiculous. The big screen, meanwhile, allows for big budgets, but films take years to put together, undercutting the serialized appeal of the X-Men comics.
Now, it still isn’t easy, but a TV show can be done, especially as television has become a place for extended serialized stories rather than a big collection of standalone tales. As shows like Arrow build in popularity and Marvel plans to solidify its television approach with a set of “street-level” New York heroes such as Daredevil, a live-action X-Men show — or a New Mutants or X-Force spin-off — seems like something Fox could really play with.
Indeed, big-screen X-Men screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg says the studio is figuring things out.
Speaking to Collider, Kinberg says Fox “definitely [has] a sense of it, and there’s a real interest and appetite for how to explore and expand that world into other movies, into spinoffs, into different time periods, the whole gamut.” Further, he explained,
We’re still in this place of figuring out what the future of the franchise will be, but when you look at S.H.I.E.L.D. to some extent and what Marvel is doing now with Daredevil and other shows on Netflix, it makes sense to tell some of these stories in TV. Partly because there’s just not enough screens to do all these characters, and also because the serialized format of comic books is better suited for TV. Because that’s it, every week you come back to the same characters different story, and in comic books every week it’s the same characters, different story.
And, yeah, it’s the availability and affordability of effects that, in part, makes such an idea feasible:
I think what [Fox is] seeing now is with the proliferation of new kinds of visual and special effects, there’s a way to make these stories that doesn’t cost $300 million every time you have to make a huge movie.
This doesn’t mean we’ll get an X-Men TV series soon — Fox is currently quicker to move on some of these ideas than, say, Sony, but it still falls short of Marvel’s level of initiative. But at this point it would be more of a surprise to see Fox fail to bring these characters to TV than it would be to see them remain exclusively in the movie theater.