Despite unveiling simultaneously, FOX and FX’s X-Men TV series Hellfire and Legion arrived at vastly different stages of development, to the point Hellfire ended up replaced with a new X-series. Now, FOX explains the decision to cool Hellfire, identifying it as a show that “wanted to live as a feature.”

For those just catching up, Hellfire was to center on the same Hellfire Club seen in X-Men First Class, described as following “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 project effectively shuttered in January, as the announcement of a new 24 series took producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto off Hellfire, with Star Trek Beyond scribes Patrick McKay and JD Payne also abandoning the project. FOX has since hired Burn Notice vet Matt Nix to develop a new X-Men series, while /Film caught network boss Dana Walden’s comments on back-burnering Hellfire:

We did see an early draft of Hellfire and there was a lot of work to be done. Manny and Evan were getting very busy with the new 24. At a certain point we all regrouped, together with Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer and Lauren Shuler Donner and Jeph Loeb at Marvel and really made a decision.

I would say if there was anything about Hellfire that was not ideal for us, it felt like a show that wanted to live as a feature rather than really taking advantage of what television does best: exploring relationships and characters and smaller moments. It doesn’t mean it can’t feel like a big show but Hellfire felt more like another installment of the features.

Walden also noted that the new series would feature at least some recognizable mutants amid its introduction of a family on the run, but could Hellfire have made for a more interesting exploration of the X-men world?

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