The Marvel brand has been successfully expanding from the big screen to the small screen in recent years, with hit TV shows on Netflix and ABC based on their characters finding legs and doing very well with fans. Fox is now trying to extend the X-Men franchise to the small screen as well, and the first show we are going to see will be Legion, which premieres on FX in the fall. We are painfully aware that the X-Men movies are not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it looks like this new TV show might be.
Marvel had a massive presence this year at San Diego Comic-Con, introducing new characters for both TV and movies left and right. So, in order to help fans keep up, Ben Morse posted an article on Marvel.com detailing some of these characters. What was most surprising is that Legion was listed among other MCU characters from upcoming titles such as Captain Marvel, Luke Cage and Doctor Strange. This doesn't seem to be an accident either, given the way Morse decided to intro the article.
"You followed our coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, you know that when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the likes of Iron Man and Captain America have got to make room for a new wave of heroes and villains set to seize the spotlight."
There is a lot to dig into here, but let's start with how Legion came to be. Marvel only sold the movie rights for X-Men to Fox all of those years ago, so anything that Fox wants to do on the TV side of things had to go through Marvel, and the studios decided to work together on a couple of TV projects. Legion being one of them, Hellfire being another that fell apart. But recently it was announced that a Bryan Singer produced X-Men series was headed to Fox. Point being, there is collaboration between the studios happening here.
The other side of that coin is that the TV side of Marvel and the movie side of Marvel don't appear to be getting along as well as fans might like. Kevin Feige has a very specific vision for the MCU, and Jeph Loeb is doing something a bit different with Marvel TV. Recently, it was even heavily implied by Loeb during that Television Critics Association summer press tour that the connectivity between the MCU and Marvel TV isn't what we all thought it was. Here is what he said to /Film.
"As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn't just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It's connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded."
That seems like a nice way of saying that the movie and TV universes are pretty much going to stay in their seperate lanes, at least for the time being. That being the case, X-Men Legion could wind up being a part of the TV universe and somehow connect with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the other upcoming Netflix series. Even if it doesn't bleed over into the movies specifically, that does open a very exciting door. That would mean that Marvel and Fox would finally be working together to let their characters crossover, which is something that fans have wanted for a very long time now. If it starts on the TV side of things, it could easily bleed over to the movie side.
It is very unclear how Legion fits into the current, very messy X-Men movie timeline. If it is meant to exist as its own thing, that could be by design to include it in with the Marvel continuity. As for how Marvel could fix the messy timeline situation, if they do decided that this is the first step to some X-Men and Avengers crossover that we have all been waiting for, that may have already been answered. It was recently confirmed that Doctor Strange will be introducing the multiverse into the MCU. That means that multiple universes and timelines could co-exists in the same movie/TV universe. That would mean that Marvel could bring in new versions of characters to the MCU, and just say that what happened in the Bryan Singer X-Men universe was just an alternate universe. This is purely speculative, but it is very much a possibility.
For right now, there are a few options and we will have to wait and see which one Legion winds up fitting into. One, this was an oversight by Marvel and this article was falsely misleading. That seems unlikely though, as Marvel is pretty obsessive about this stuff. Two, the TV side of things is finding a way to work together to bring mutants into the same universe as the Marvel TV heroes. Lastly, this could be the first step to Marvel and Fox finally working together and wholly uniting the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a way that we never thought was possible. We'll find out more when Legion premieres on FX this Fall.