In Hollywood, it’s no longer enough to make a successful film. Since Marvel changed the business with their pantheon of interconnected superheroes, blockbusters and TV shows, it’s now all about ‘shared universes’.
Thus speculation has been rife that Legion – the upcoming TV series based on an X-Men character– would be connected to the X-Men movie universe. Now Bryan Singer, who directed four of the movies, wrote another and is credited as a producer on Legion, seems to have confirmed this is the case.
During a discussion about working with Fox at this year’s Edinburgh Television Festival, Singer talked about cross-media projects.
“You feel like you’re in an entrepreneurial place where you can say shit in a room and not feel like there’s another arm of the corporation doesn’t care. I think that arm does care, I think that arm wants to see how it’s going to work with its arm,” he said. “What we’re doing right now with Legion and with the other X-Men television project will relate to future X-Men movies, whether it’s Deadpool, X-Men sequels, and the past ones that I’ve done.”
The emphasis was his, and seems to confirm that the events of Legion (who in the comics was Professor Xaviers son) will possibly be affected by the plots of the movies. Discussion moved on to Noah Hawley, the showrunner behind Legion who previously worked on the TV adaptation of Fargo.
“Noah had done an incredible job with [Fox] on Fargo,” Singer said, “and we wanted to make a show that would be part of the X-Men universe, but when you watched it you wouldn’t have to label it, it could exist completely on its own.”
For comparison the Marvel TV shows, which include Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD and Peggy Carter, operate on a ‘connected but separate’ system that sounds at least superficially similar to what Singer is describing. Part of the reason for this is the immense difference in budgets between television and blockbuster movies, also a concern with Legion.
“That was really important because if you tried to just make X-Men for TV, well you can’t afford the visual effects,” Singer explained. “A minute of the film would cost an episode. So it has to exist that way.”
“And yet Noah has created some extraordinary visuals to compliment what will be a really ambitious and fun and very unique storyline, and yet will still be connect to that universe.”
Now, it is possible Singer means ‘connected to the universe’ in the sense that this will be an extension of the X-Men franchise, but not necessarily an adjunct of the X-Men movie universe. As in this breakfast cereal is also connected to the X-Men universe, but Wolverine has never been seen eating it. Producers have previously claimed it will take place in a ‘parallel universe‘ to the main series.
Nevertheless, the mention of “Deadpool, X-Men sequels, and the past ones” heavily implies that Legion has more than a superficial connection to the X-MU. (X-Alumni?) Marvel characters also occasionally cameo in each other’s properties (for instance, Samuel L Jackson showed up in Agents of SHIELD) but nothing like that was suggested here.