In a two-project agreement between Marvel and Fox Networks Group, FX and Fox are moving ahead with two TV dramas set in the world of X-Men, both executive produced by the film franchise’s director, Bryan Singer, producer Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg as well as Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory. FX has given a pilot order to Legion, written/executive produced by Fargo creator Noah Hawley, while Fox has closed deals to develop the long-rumored Hellfire (working title), created by Evan Katz (24: Live Another Day), Manny Coto (24), Patrick McKay (Star Trek 3) and JD Payne (Star Trek 3).
Neither series has the X-Men branding though both are set in the same universe and both stem from 20th Century Fox’s Marvel deal for the rights to the X-Men franchise, which has spawned 11 movies, including several that are in the pipeline. The deals expand Marvel’s live-action TV footprint, adding to the company’s two existing series and a pilot at ABC and four series and a limited series at Netflix.
Legion introduces the story of David Haller: Since he was a teenager, David has struggled with mental illness. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, David has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real. He’s based on the Marvel comics character Legion, the son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the films), first introduced in 1985.
Hawley will write the pilot and serve as an executive producer with Shuler Donner, Singer, Kinberg, Loeb, Chory, John Cameron (Fargo) and Steve Blackman. The pilot for Legion will be produced by FX Productions and Marvel Television, with FXP handling the physical production.
“Legion is just the sort of ambitious story that Noah excels at,” FX’s Nick Grad said. “His adaption of Fargo for television was one of the most acclaimed television events in recent memory. It’s also an honor to partner with Marvel on Legion and to enlist such an accomplished team of Executive Producers to create this pilot.”
Set in the late 1960s, Hellfire, produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Marvel Television, with 20th Century Fox handling the physical production – follows a young Special Agent who learns that a power-hungry woman with extraordinary abilities is working with a clandestine society of millionaires – known as “The Hellfire Club” – to take over the world. A different version of The Hellfire Club was previously seen as the primary antagonists of X-Men: First Class, led by Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw.
“We are thrilled to partner with Marvel to bring this world to television and build upon the vibrant mythology that has captivated fans for years,” said Fox Entertainment president David Madden. “These powerful and dynamic characters are complicated and larger-than-life, the pace and visual imagination are unrelenting, and the story takes place during one of the most explosive eras in recent history. ”
McKay and Payne will write the pilot script, based on a story by Katz, Coto, McKay and Payne. Shuler Donner, Singer and Kinberg executive produce with Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory will executive-produce the pilot, alongside Katz and Coto, who will serve as showrunners.