|MX FAQ: The Mutant X vs. X-Men Lawsuits
||[Apr. 9th, 2006|02:41 am]
Mutant X Discussion
Mutant X trivia question: Who was Albion Magnus?|
Mutant X vs. X-Men: The lawsuits
Okay, so here's what happened. Tribune Entertainment and Marvel Comics teamed up during the summer of 2000 to plan a live action show called Genome X (coincidentally, the first X-Men film had just been released by 20th Century Fox Studios that July). The show's title would later be changed to Mutant X. Though production began shortly after the cancellation of Howard Mackie's popular "Mutant X" Marvel comic book series in 2001, the show's characters are unrelated to those of the comic books. Mackie's 32 comic books depict an alternate X-Men universe, where Havok is transported to a parallel dimension in which Scott Summers's family was captured by the evil Shi'Ar, and many 616 heroes were villains. More about the "Mutant X" comic books can be found here.
In early April of 2001, while the show was still in production, Fox Studios sued Marvel Comics for copyright violation, claiming that the premise and characters of Mutant X were nearly identical to those of the X-Men film to which they held the rights. They accused both Tribune and Marvel of riding on the coattails of the X-Men movie's success, and proposed an injuction to stop production of the show. 13 minutes later, Marvel counter-sued, protesting that the show's characters were entirely separate from those of the X-Men world, and that the Fox suit had been brought solely to block the show's release.
Who was right? Were the characters of the show and the film related? Mutant X was co-produced by Marvel. The show's title and original premise, along with the timing of its release ensured that comparisons with X-Men were inevitable. According to an early casting breakdown published by Comics2Film in January of 2001, Mutant X was similar to X-Men in several ways. Check out these character descriptions:
Adam Xero: Adam is 30's, handsome, charming and at ease with everyone. He is the leader, strategist, tactician and all around one-man brain trust of the Mutant X. Adam is simply the smartest man alive-one of the special breed of children genetically engineered within the Human Genome Project - a product of a test-tube baby. He knows everything known to man since the dawn of time and can call upon this information at any time. His extreme intellect is his mutation. Even at the age of 10 he was a published writer in the fields of physics, biotechnology and medicine as well as writing bestseller novels that made him a millionaire. He very sexy and has an excellent body. The call sheet requests a physical actor.
Shalimar Fox (aka Shadowfox): She is a fiery and feral beauty utterly in touch with her primal nature. She is a little wild and completely unpredictable... breathtakingly sensual. Outrageous sexiness, with a dark edge. She has strong survival instincts, all of which are the natural outgrowth of her mutant abilities. She also has strength & speed. This actor must be extremely sexy, have a fantastic body and be an amazing athlete.
Brennan Mulwray (aka Fuse): He is the master of electricity-able to literally throw off sparks with enough power coursing through his body to power a small city. A street-smart guy, he is fast talking and wise-cracking with an ingratiating grin. He is a vibrating mass of nervous energy, jumpy and impulsive. He loves being a Superhero and thinks throwing off sparks is a total gas. He is a good-natured, partying, wiseguy, urban roughneck. He has one weakness.... the Mutant X named Emma for whom is is crazy about.
Emma Desalvo (aka Rapport): She is a telepathic, capable of creating a psychic link with any other living thing, sensing empathetically the feelings of others, as well as plant suggestions in humans that affect and direct their behavior. She is beautiful, charming and saucily sexy with a wisdom beyond her years. She can also manipulate the way others feel. She is a sunny, happy young woman with a sense of mischief and prankish nature. Her psychic powers have also given her too much information at times…which sometimes terrifies her but also makes her a strong survivor in the team.
Jesse Kilmartin (aka Synergy): A very complex guy. Son of a self-made millionaire. He grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. He is a lonely guy who has gone though life unloved and uncared for. He is cautious and defensive. Jesse can literally split his body into three triplicates, each representing a different aspect of his personality. He wants to use his powers to help others in need. He can be aggressive, charming, sensitive and is also able to take on the physical appearance of anyone around him.
If this information is accurate, the following points are readily apparent.
1. The X in the Mutant X logo resembled X-Men's.
2. Mason Eckhart's original name was Albion Magnus...uncomfortably close to Magneto, X-Men's main villain.
3. Adam Xero's surname was also close to Professor Xavier's. Today, one of the main differences between Adam Kane and Professor X is that Adam is human, while Xavier is a mutant. But the original Adam Xero character actually was the product of genetic experiments. He didn't have the psionic abilities of his X-Men counterpart, but his mental capabilities were genetically enhanced.
4. One of Jesse Kilmartin's original abilities was to alter his physical form to look like other people, a characteristic of the X-Men character Mystique.
5. Emma deLauro (then Emma deSalvo) was initially going to be a telepath like X-Men's Jean Grey. Also like Jean, Emma was to be paired with Brennan, whose character description somewhat resembled Scott's.
6. The X-Men had code names. The Mutant X team members originally had code names too: Shalimar Fox = Shadowfox, Brennan Mulwray = Fuse, Emma deSalvo = Rapport, and Jesse Kilmartin = Synergy.
7. The Double Helix shared the stealth capabilities of the X-Men's jet.
8. Despite repeated claims by Mutant X's creators to the contrary, the early plot outline stated that there was a connection to the X-Men movie:
"The series is based on the feature film X-Men. Different characters, different stories. This series is about 5 genetically engineered humans who were all victims of the Human Genome Project-a top secret experiment on fetus's that created children with enhanced gifts. They were made still very human and yet they have capabilities that far exceed those of mankind. The New Mutants, led by Adam Xero, are a 'family' of outlaws with a mission to find the victims of the Human Genome Project...aid them in mastering their abilities, protect them from those who would exploit or harm them, and to provide a sanctuary where they can rebuild their lives.
"There is a government agency called the Genetic Security Agency (GSA), a completely covert intelligence service under the command of Albion Magnus, that seeks out Mutants to bring them into the government's custody. Our New Mutants heroes are not about to be captured by the GSA. The government agency has converted a team of mutants to work for them in their mission to track down all the New Mutants. Each adventure will pit Mutant X against other equally powerful-or even more powerful-mutants, working for the GSA."
After deliberation, Judge Allen Schwartz allowed Tribune to continue production, but ordered that some eliminations be made in the show's planning, such as Adam Xero's surname, the appearance of the X logo, and the code names for the Mutant X team members. As a result, Adam was surname-less for the first season, finally acquiring "Kane" in the introductory voice-over of the second season. The characters' code names were also cut, and the logo's font underwent a curvaceous makeover:
Even with these compromises, the legal battle between Fox and Marvel continued until March of 2003, when the two companies settled privately. Not long before the settlement, ADV Films was awarded the rights to sell Mutant X DVDs, which it released in June. Seven months later, shortly after Tribune had also settled with Fox, Tribune sued Marvel for 100 million in damages, blaming Marvel for all the drama which had ensued. This lawsuit is still ongoing.