The X-Men franchise has gone through a rapid expansion in the last few years, opening the main franchise of films to more fantastical comic book stories (see: X-Men Dark Phoenix); opening the franchise to more adult-themed stories (Logan); while giving other characters big chances to shine in spinoff films like Deadpool, or New Mutants. X-Men has also broken new ground on the television screen, with the breakout success of FX's Legion, and this fall's new series, The Gifted.
During all of this franchise expansion, there's been a lot of confusion as to how the X-Men Cinematic Universe fits together and connects. The franchise has been famously bad at creation cohesive continuity, and things haven't exactly gotten clearer - especially with the recent announcement that The Gifted (which was supposed to be a direct spinoff of the X-Men films) won't be connected to the movie franchise or Legion in any kind of way.
While at San Diego Comic-Con, we here at Comicbook.com had a chance to speak with X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner about the state of the X-Men Cinematic Universe, and what plans there are for future character introductions and exploration.
We asked Lauren Shuler Donner about plans to bring more X-Men characters that are directly related to the team to TV screens (as opposed to tangential characters like Legion or The Gifted's Fenris Twins).
This is what the longtime superhero movie/TV show producer had to say on the subject:
"From the X-Men world? No. You know, I don't want to oversaturate, that's the big fear. And because we're now doing so many spinoffs of the X-Men characters as movies, I think that's best. I'm very happy with these two [TV shows]."
We haven't seen The Gifted premiere on TV yet, so the fan reaction and viewer ratings are anybody's guess, at this point. However, after the unorthodox and artsy approach that Noah Hawley took with the character and story of Legion season 1, - while still tying in major X-Men mythos and comic book fantasy - makes Donner's trepidation confusing. If anything, putting major characters behind a TV concept is less risky than something like the costly production and weak character appeal that The Gifted is currently trying to sell...
The Gifted - In a world where mutated humans are treated with distrust and fear, an institute for mutants battles to achieve peaceful co-existence with humanity.
The series stars Stephen Moyer (SHOTS FIRED, “True Blood”), Amy Acker (“Person of Interest”), Natalie Alyn Lind (GOTHAM) and Percy Hynes White (“Night at the Museum 3”) as the STRUCKER family. Also featured in the series are Sean Teale (“Reign”) as ECLIPSE/MARCOS DIAZ; Jamie Chung (GOTHAM) as BLINK/CLARICE FERGUSON; Emma Dumont (“Aquarius”) as POLARIS/LORNA DANE; Blair Redford (“Satisfaction”) as THUNDERBIRD/JOHN PROUDSTAR; and Coby Bell (“Burn Notice”) as Sentinel Services Agent JACE TURNER. The series is written by Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), directed by Bryan Singer (the “X-Men” franchise”) and executive-produced by Nix, Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) and Marvel’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory.
Legion - Legion is the story of a troubled young man who may be more than human. It introduces the story of David Haller, who since he was a teenager, 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.
The show stars Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Rachel Keller (Fargo), Jean Smart (Fargo), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Jeremie Harris (A Walk Among the Tombstones), Amber Midthunder (Hell or High Water), Katie Aselton (The League) and Bill Irwin (Interstellar) star in Legion.