As a '90s kid, my favorite superheroes were the X-Men because they had the greatest cartoon of all time. I will not argue this point because in my universe it's just fact. The cartoon was part action/adventure, part drama, and part romance. This winning formula created a series so compulsively watchable that no one cared when they ran out of new episodes and just showed the Phoenix saga a billion times. Now Fox is interested in turning X-Men into a live action TV show and TV Line reports it could happen as early as 2016.
This is basically the greatest TV news of all time. Granted, there is some boring legal stuff to work out since Marvel is busy making their own TV shows at Netflix and ABC, and even though Fox has the film rights to X-Men, agreements will have to be worked out for a TV show. I think these two powerhouse studios can make this happen though and fans can finally see X-Men the way it's meant to be seen: in its full serialized glory.
For the most part, the movies are good, but they are self-contained and honestly, the big name cast tends to distract me more than it entertains me (that's why I prefer X-Men: First Class to all the others). With a TV show the storytelling possibilities are as endless as the number of mutants who could star. X-Men is all about inclusivity and what it's like to be feared for not being "normal." It is meant to be character-driven, not plot-driven and in the right hands it could be the best superhero show on TV. It needs a good cast though and I have a few suggestions.
The Actor: Ben Kingsley
Kingsley has taken on TV roles in shows like Tut, and he has the perfect gravitas to pull off Professor Xavier. Given how prominent the character is in the movies, it seems appropriate for him to be a powerful figurehead here. As something of a Dumbledore for his students, Professor X wouldn't have to be around all the time, but when he was, his presence would need to be felt. An actor of Kingsley's caliber would feel almost omnipresent even when he wasn't there.
Dr. Moira MacTaggert
The Actress: Mary McDonnell
Moira isn't always involved with the X-Men, but I would love to see a female leader working opposite Kingsley and thanks to Battlestar Galactica, everyone knows McDonnell can be both gentle and completely badass. That balance is exactly what a character like Moira needs to shine. I see her working within the school studying the students and teaching them with Professor X's permission.
The Actor: John Noble
Noble has a long relationship with Fox thanks to shows like Fringe and Sleepy Hollow, but it's more his talent for playing sympathetic bad men that makes me want to see him as Magneto. Again, I would like to see Fox focus in on the students and their teachers, but the possibility of seeing Noble and Kingsley go toe-to-toe is too good to pass up.
Scott Summers (Cyclops)
The Actor: Cameron Monaghan
I am going young for the main crew and completely disregarding time periods because a show about a school for mutants needs to focus on the characters becoming heroes and embracing their abilities. Monaghan is a standout on Shameless and Gotham, but the main reason I chose him is because he has an added bite that is often missing from screen depictions of Scott. He's a good guy with edge.
The Actress: Jane Levy
Another Shameless alum, Jane Levy would make the perfect Jean. She has the confidence to convey Jean's power and as an added bonus she could bring a spark to a character that occasionally comes off as a bore onscreen. Thanks to Suburgatory, everyone knows Levy can be hilarious and heartbreaking. A young Jean needs to be both.
The Actress: Kat Graham
I have seen Graham play the fiery and bold Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries long enough to know she would make a killer Storm if given the chance. She's got the outward calmness hiding a turbulent personality thing down.
Bobby Drake (Iceman)
The Actor: Jack Gleeson
Yes, I just picked Gleeson, aka Joffrey Baratheon, to play one of the sweetest superheroes ever. What of it? Gleeson was amazing at Joffrey, so there's no reason he couldn't switch gears and be amazing as a funny, gifted X-Man.
The Actor: Keegan Allen
Playful, sexy, and talented, Pretty Little Liars' Allen is definitely my top pick for a young Gambit. He has charisma to spare. As long as he nailed the accent, everything would be perfect.
The Actress: Kaitlyn Jenkins
The girl who once played Boo on Bunheads has so much potential. She is a graceful, sweet, charming young actress who deserves a role where she can shine. Also, Rogue is heartbreaking and when Jenkins cries the whole world cries with her.
The Actress: Brianne Tju
Tju was recently killed off of Scream, but her four episodes left a lasting impression. Jubilee has to be fun and a little naive, and Tju can definitely pull off the teenager's fun, fashion-forward, and kick-butt personality.
The Actor: Corbin Bleu
Angel was only in one of the movies, but he is such a cool character. There's just something about Bleu from his physique to his strong nature that makes me think he could play the ambitious Angel.
Hank McCoy (Beast)
The Actor: Nick Purcha
Purcha hasn't done a lot just yet, but the kid has major chops. I know he can play Hank's nerdy side thanks to his role on Spooksville, but I can also imagine him nailing the emotion of Hank's transformation into Beast.
The Actress: Emma Roberts
No she wasn't officially an X-Man for a really long time and she's kind of a bad guy, but every story needs someone to stir up trouble and I'm going to be totally honest, Emma is one of my personal favorites. As for why I chose Roberts, she is the perfect queen bee in everything she does.
That's my dream cast. Now, let's all keep those fingers crossed that Fox makes an X-Men series a reality.
Image: 20th Century Fox; Macall B. Polay/HBO