Back in February, Marvel and Sony were finally able to broker a deal that would allow Spiderman to come to the MCU. The news was groundbreaking at the time, as Sony was in the process of creating their own cinematic universe based upon the extremely popular Marvel character. The joining of the two companies provided hope that that someday Marvel would be able to reach a similar deal with Fox to bring the X-Men into the MCU.
On Wednesday, a huge step was taken toward that goal. On Marvel’s website, Fox TV and Marvel Television came to a joint agreement to produce two separate television shows based upon the X-men universe. The two shows are currently titled “Hellfire,” based on the villainous Hellfire Club that served as the antagonists for X-Men: First Class and Legion based off of the titular character (with a very gray past). It looks at the current moment that Hellfire will be on Fox, while Legion has already added Noah Hawley (Writer/Executive Producer of Fargo), to write and executive produce the pilot.
Even more fascinating is the news that “Hellfire” will apparently be a period show. According to the press release on Marvel’s website:
Set in the late 1960s, the series — which will be produced by 20th Century Fox Television 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.
The Hellfire Club’s villainy is well noted across every iteration of the Marvel Comic Universe. The group could easily be classified as a terrorist organization, but often proves to be far more dangerous. Not only do they often have a substantial amount of connections to political groups around the world, but they operate as a shadow organization well versed in espionage. Kevin Bacon played a vile version of its leader, Sebastian Shaw, in X-Men: First Class. January Jones could potentially reprise her role as Emma Frost on the small screen as well. While she’s currently doing well on Last Man on Earth, the show does lend itself to an easy exit for Jones if she wishes.
The news that Hawley will be leading the charge on Legion is also very exciting. The character has been extremely complex for a long time, and his origins vary depending on the universe in which he exists. One constant is across the various iterations of the character is his father: Professor Xavier. However, his mother changes depending on the iteration. For example, in the Ultimate Universe Legion’s mother was Maria McTaggert, a character played by Rose Byrne in First Class. He has also functioned as an anti-hero in the Earth-616 Universe, but could also be a villain (as seen in the Ultimate Universe). He is also plagued with mental illness, so having someone as skilled as Hawley was always a must to make this show work.
The bigger question that many have asked is what Marvel is getting in return for this deal. With Marvel’s success on TV (Daredevil and to a lesser extent Agents of SHIELD), Fox is getting a strong pedigree and track record to inspire confidence in each show. There is still little known about Marvel’s end, though many have already begun to speculate. This morning for example, Screenrant speculated that Marvel may get the Fantastic Four universe in exchange for the deal. Specifically, Galactus and Silver Surfer would be ideal for the MCU. Considering that Marvel just added three new film dates to its upcoming schedule, this crossover potential could already be in the works.
Not only would the Fantastic Four be solid additions to the MCU, but Wolverine, Beast, and other X-Men have been Avengers at various times. Having Nicholas Hoult or Hugh Jackman join the Avengers would be a great way to invigorate the post-Infinity War Avengers. With all the assets that Fox controlled, it would be hard to imagine that Marvel didn’t reacquire a character or two in this deal. Surely, this deal may be a sign of an even bigger announcement in the coming months.
“Hellfire” is currently being developed for Fox and looks to premier in the fall of 2016. Legion has already received a pilot order, and looks to premiere about the same time.