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More Marvel Machinations



Last week, we reported on the latest announcements from Marvel in the form of an Ant-Man sequel and release dates in 2020 for three as-yet-unannounced films. This week, things are busy once again.

Breaking In Bad

First, the internet is abuzz with the word out of New York Comic Con that Bryan Cranston would like to play a villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In an interview with Metro UK, Cranston first said he’d like to play a villain created from scratch, something of his own design. But in New York, during a panel for SuperMansion, the actor revealed his desire to play Mister Sinister in the X-Men movies.


Second, Marvel and Fox have announced the development of two new series: Legion and Hellfire.

Hellfire will be set in the late 1960s and will focus on “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 announcement came from David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“We are thrilled to partner with Marvel to bring this world to television and build upon the vibrant mythology that has captivated fans for years,” said Madden. “These powerful and dynamic characters are complicated and larger-than-life, the pace and visual imagination are unrelenting, and the story takes place during one of the most explosive eras in recent history. We are so looking forward to working with this incredibly talented team.”

Hellfire is a unique opportunity to be able to go deeper with some of these extraordinary characters, but to also dramatize new characters and give TV viewers a chance to experience this expanded world in an explosive way that everyone will be talking about,” commented Jonathan Davis, President, Creative Affairs, 20th Century Fox Television.  “The action at the center of Hellfire will be dynamic and will satisfy the rabid fans, but that said, newcomers will surely be addicted too!”

Members of the Hellfire Club first appeared in the pages of Uncanny X-Men in January 1980, and made their big-screen debut in X-Men: First Class. The club also showed up in previous animated X-Men outings.

Manny Coto is also on board as one of the many producers, along with Evan Katz, Patrick McKay, and J.D. Payne. McKay and Payne wrote the pilot based on a story by all of them. Executive Producers are Katz and Coto along with the usual suspects: Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Jeph Loeb, and Jim Chory.

Legion will go into development at FX, introducing David Haller, diagnosed as a schizophrenic and struggling with mental illness since his teen years. But the voices and visions in his head could actually be real, a possibility he faces after an encounter with a fellow patient in a psychiatric hospital.

Haller, as die hard Marvel fans know, is the son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. He first appeared in New Mutants #25 (March 1985).

FX Productions will build the show for Marvel Television, with Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley on board as executive producer along with Donner, Singer, Kinberg, Loeb, and Chory. Fargo‘s John Cameron will also EP, and Hawley is set to write the pilot.

Legion is just the sort of ambitious story that Noah excels at,” FX original programming president Nick Grad said. “His adaption of Fargo for television was one of the most acclaimed television events in recent memory. It’s also an honor to partner with Marvel on Legion and to enlist such an accomplished team of executive producers to create this pilot.”

These two show announcements follow news last week that Marvel is moving forward with Ant-Man and the Wasp as a sequel to this year’s Ant-Man with Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in the title roles. Marvel also staked out three dates in 2020 for films yet to be announced.

Den of Geek quoted a source that said part of this deal involved Fox getting the TV rights for the X-Men in exchange for the rights to the Fantastic Four, putting the First Family back under direct control of Marvel Studios. Very soon after this rumor began circulating, updates went out clarifying that Fox and Marvel both had denied that there was any such deal.

However, remember that those same denials flew fast and furious just prior to the announcement that Marvel and Sony had worked out a deal over Spider-Man. Is it possible that some kind of arrangement is at least in the works, but has yet to be finalized? The fact that there’s no deal in place currently doesn’t mean there’s no deal being negotiated.

Smashing Thor’s Party

Finally, there’s word that Mark Ruffalo is in final negotiations to bring the Hulk to Thor: Ragnarok.

Sources tell Variety that Ruffalo will appear alongside Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Jaimie Alexander in the third Thor stand-alone film. The story will spin out of the briefly-seen visions Thor had during Age of Ultron, in which he discovered the meaning of the Infinity Stones. Christopher Yost, co-writer on Thor: The Dark World, is scripting with Craig Kyle.

Taika Waititi will direct. The New Zealander is known for The Inbetweeners and Flight of the Conchords.


We discuss this and other Marvel news and rumors on our podcast, Level Eleventy-Seven.


Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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