According to Cinescape Online, the Wall St. Journal is reporting that 20th Century Fox is suing Marvel over a planned Mutant X syndicated television series. Fox reportedly feels that the series represents a breach of the agreement it reached with Marvel in 1993 for movie rights to the X-Men, which stated that Marvel would not do any similar live action projects that might infringe on the X-Men franchise. Fox, which is currently preparing a sequel to the highly successful X-Men movie, is concerned that the syndicated Mutant X series will dilute and damage the X-Men movie franchise it is trying to build. Although its name is the same as a short-lived X-Men comic title, Mutant X, the TV series does not involve any of the standard X-Men characters. Instead the characters are an entirely new group of outlaw mutants resulting from genetic experiments in the 1960s. Howard Chaykin (Amreican Flagg) is the chief writer on the Mutant X series, which is being produced by Avi Arad.
Marvel, which reports that it has already managed to syndicate the Mutant X show to 90% of the television markets in the U.S. (no mean feat for a new syndicated show these days), is countersuing Fox. According to Fandom's Newsarama, Marvel was planning to produce a comic based on the new Mutant X television series. For retailers, this situation is interesting since it goes to the heart of the problem of title proliferation. Would the market be better off with just a big-budget X-Men movie every few years in addition to animated cartoons, comics and video games, or with a number of different examinations of the 'mutant' phenomenon including a live action television show, that would have its own comic book spinoff? There can be 'too much' of a good thing. The hard part is knowing where to draw the line. It's not like comic properties have had many opportunities to be overexposed in recent years.
Since the Mutant X syndicated series was supposed to start filming early in June, Marvel needs a quick resolution of this matter in order to make the show available for syndication in the fall of this year. In the American legal system it is much easier to drag your feet than to expedite matters, so though Marvel may eventually prevail, don't expect to see a Mutant X television show anytime soon unless the parties can come to a quick out-of-court settlement.