Fox wants to take the X-Men franchise to the small screen, and they’ve found the man to lead them there. Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crowley on Downton Abbey, will take on the title role in the pilot for Legion, based on The X-Men spinoff comic of the same name.
Stevens will play David Haller, the son of Professor Xavier, who has struggled since he was a teen 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.
Rachel Keller (Fargo) will play Syd, self-sufficient and street-smart who uses her sharp and prickly demeanor to protect her soft core, because even though it makes her a sucker and puts her at risk, she still believes in happily ever after.
Also cast are Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) as Lenny, David’s friend, who despite a life of drugs and alcohol abuse, knows that any day now her life is gonna turn around, which gives Lenny the likeable energy of the impossible optimist despite her rough demeanor; and Jean Smart (Fargo) as Melanie, a nurturing, demanding therapist with a sharp mind and unconventional methods.
Fargo co-creator Noah Hawley wrote the pilot and will executive produce along with X-Men stewards Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg, plus Jeph Loeb for Marvel TV, Jim Chory and John Cameron
Believe it or not…but Fox has given a pilot production commitment for the Greatest American Hero remake – again. Last summer Fox gave a put pilot commitment, but it appears it didn’t take off, much like the main character (sorry…), so they are trying again, this time with Dope‘s Rick Famuyiwa writing and directing. Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Tawnia McKiernan are still executive producing along with Seth Cohen, for 20th Century Fox TV.
The original show followed a teacher (William Katt) who stumbles upon an suit of alien origin that gives the wearer super powers, but he soon loses the instruction manual and struggles to be a superhero while also teaching, and working with his federal agent handler (Robert Culp). A casting director has been hired to find a new lead for the series.
Marvel and Fox (who holds the movie and TV rights to Marvel’s X-Men franchise) are working together on a pair of TV projects based on X-Men characters for two of Fox’s networks.
Legion, based on the character of the same name, has a pilot order from FX. Fargo creator Noah Hawley will write and exec produce. Legion is David Haller, who is in fact the son of Professor Xavier, and has suffered from multiple personality disorder for all his life. But his splintered personalities eventually manifest different mutant abilities.
Hellfire (the working title) is still in development at Fox, and follows a Special Agent that discovers that a woman with uncanny powers is working with a secret society of rich people called the “Hellfire Club” in a plot to take over the world – the same group led by Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class. The show was created by Evan Katz (the 24 franchise), Manny Coto (the 24 franchise), Patrick McKay (Star Trek 3) and JD Payne (Star Trek 3).
The X-Men movie heads Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg will executive produce both series along with Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory from Marvel TV.
Interestingly, neither series will bear the X-Men label, but will be set within the same universe as the movie franchise.
Could this be the final sign that studios are out of original ideas? It’s one thing to want to reboot something that has shown success (Sony is about to embark on it’s third reboot of Spider-Man), but Fox seems set on trying to make gold from lead, this time with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
The 2003 film was a critical and box office failure, but it did at least get a cult following, as does the source material from writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill, which deals with a group of Victorian heroes who band together to help save the world. The characters are taken from various stories of the time: Mina Harker (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Alan Quartermain (H. Rider Haggard’s novels), Captain Nemo (Jules Verne), Doctor Jeckyl (Robert Louis Stevenson), and the Invisible Man (H.G. Wells) (for the 2003 movie, the character was renamed for legal reasons.) It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but it deviated from the source material in terms of the leaders of the group (in the comic/graphic novel, Harker was in charge with Nemo aiding a lot, while the movie it was mostly Quatermain – likely due to Sean Connery – and Tom Sawyer), and overall I think it just dealt with characters that were too unfamiliar to people. Even in the case of Captain Nemo, although in the Verne novels he is an Indian prince, most portrayals were by British or American actors.
I was overall less than impressed with the acting and the visuals, but I do remember the one bright spot was with Tony Curran as Skinner (not THE Invisible Man, but invisible, making a noticeable performance a major feat.) Even Connery permanently retired from acting right afterwards.
Back in 2013 Fox committed to a put pilot (they would have to air the pilot regardless if they pick it up to series, or pay a penalty) for a TV adaptation, but from what I hear the pilot was rejected, and I haven’t seen any sign it will ever air. This movie appears unrelated to the pilot, with a different production team in the form of Ira Napoliello (Mr. Popper’s Penguins) and Matt Reilly, and John Davis (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, I, Robot).
Finally answering a long-gestating rumor, Fox is confirming that they are in negotiations to being one of the Marvel franchises it has had success with on the big screen to the small screen.
Fox TV co-chairs Gary Newman and Dana Walden told TV Insider that they are indeed planning on bringing the X-Men to TV, joining ABC and Netflix with Marvel-based shows and the CW with their DC-based franchises. They are currently very early on as they need to negotiate for the rights with Marvel (now part of rival Disney), which could lead to some interesting changes. Fox has the rights to films based on the X-Men, but Marvel has to grant the rights for TV use.
Since this is in the very early stages, nothing else has really been set up yet. It likely would be late 2016 at the earliest that any series could air.
X-Philes rejoice! Fox is reported to be considering bringing back the supernatural drama created by Chris Carter and starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson that ran on the network for 9 seasons between 1993-2002. Fox TV Co-Chairman Gary Newman confirmed that they were in talks and were hopeful.
Although what format the return would take (the word “reboot” was used, but that means too many things these days), the talks also related to the recent 24 limited series. In addition, Co-Chairman Dana Walden said they were working on logistics involving Duchovny, Anderson and Carter and windows of availability, so it certainly would seem to involve the return of the primary characters if they can pull off a schedule that works; Anderson is currently involved with Hannibal, which makes working on a full series difficult, and thus a more limited series seems likely.
Fox, which has been working on a TV Adaptation of the 2002 Tom Cruise sci-fi movie Minority Report, loosely based on a Philip K. Dick short story, since September, and now they’ve agreed to a pilot commitment, according to TVLine.
The story is about the “PreCrime” department, which stops crimes before they happen through the use of “Precogs”, people with the ability to see visions of the future. The TV adaptation will reportedly follow one of the three Precogs as attempts to lead a normal life despite the constant intrusion of visions.
No casting has taken place yet. West Wing and Franklin & Bash producer Kevin Falls will be executive producer and showrunner; Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein will write and also executive produce.
Warner Bros TV are teaming up with Jerry Bruckheimer to adapt the DC Comics limited series Global Frequency, which has received a pilot commitment from Fox. Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape, Defiance) will pen the script.
Global Frequency was a limited series comic from Warren Ellis about an underground organization led by a former intelligence agent who calls herself Miranda Zero, who connects with a thousand members of the Global Frequency, chosen for their varied specialties, via specially modified phones to deal with any number of different crises. Although existence of the organization is known it’s members are not, even to each other, until they are called in for a particular case. The only constant characters are Zero and her dispatch coordinator, named Aleph.
This will actually be WBTV’s third attempt at a series for the title. in 2005 a Mark Burnett-led pilot starring Michelle Forbes (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Killing) as Zero and Aimee Garcia (Dexter) as Aleph, along with Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town), and looked promising (J. Michael Straczynski was already lined up to be showrunner) but ultimately was not picked up to series. Another script was floated for the CW several years ago but a pilot was never commissioned.
Remakes are still the buzzword in Hollywood…Deadline reports that Fox wants a series remake of the 1981 ABC series The Greatest American Hero, giving a put pilot commitment to the team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who successfully remade another TV show into a movie franchise with 21 Jump Street.
The two will work with Tawnia McKiernan (daughter of the late Stephen J. Cannell, who created the show) as executive producers, and the pilot will be written by Rodney Rothman who will also executive produce.
The show was about a liberal high school teacher who stumbles upon an suit of alien origin that gives the wearer super powers, but he soon loses the instruction manual and struggles to be a superhero while also teaching, and working with his right-wing federal agent handler. The original starred William Katt as teacher Ralph Hinkley and Robert Culp as FBI agent Bill Maxwell. The remake will reportedly place the teacher in the inner city, and is named Isaac.
Anna Fricke, who with her husband Jeremy Carver adapted the British Being Human for North American audiences and was showrunner for entire run which ends in a couple weeks, will now take over Fox’s straight-to-series project Hieroglyph, while also developing new projects for 20th TV. Set in ancient Egypt, where fantasy and reality intertwined, it follows Ambrose (Max Brown, Beauty And The Beast), a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah (Reece Ritchie, Hercules). Also starring in the show is John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings).