The X-Men franchise has had a few animated series, and is on their way to a sixth live action movie. But how would you put together a ten season live action show with continuity and including the best stories from the various X-books over the years?
At its heart, The X-Men have been a small band of mutants brought together by Professor Charles Xavier. He’s a professor because he runs a school. A small school. A small private school for mutants. But when Marvel handed the reigns of their franchise to Grant Morrison, he thought “What if we made everything about the X-Men bigger?” More mutants, bigger campus, higher stakes. And thus, all the X-men writers and artists followed him as he helped the X-Men involve into the 21st century.
Xorn meditates on how to eat a cheeseburger while wearing a metal mask
art by Frank Quitely
Season Five: Planet X
(showrunner: Grant Morrison)
Serial 1: New X-Men Ultimate Collection Volume 1
(written by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely, Ethan Van Sciver, Leinil Francis Yu, Igor Kordey, and Tom Derenick)
Grant Morrison fucks shit up. Secondary mutations, how mutants fit into the evolutionary timeline, Professor X takes his school global, the X-Men give up their random uniforms for leather jackets with yellow Xes, Professor X has a twin sister, Emma Frost has a British accent and a heroic streak, a whole mess of new characters. So much goodness in one giant book.
E Is For Extinction. 4 episodes
Serial 2: X-Treme X-Men Volumes 1-3
(written by Chris Claremont, art by Salvador Larroca)
Meanwhile, Chris Claremont is back for a weird little run of his own. Rogue is trying to figure out Destiny’s book of predictions for the X-Men and how to stop world ending events. There are a lot of Claremont tropes of losing powers and team dynamics that are a fun respite from the Morrison stuff.
Destiny. 2 episodes
Serial 3: X-Corps
(written by Joe Casey, art by Ian Churchill, Sean Phillips, Ashley Wood, Ron Garney, and Aaron Lopresti)
On a more serious note, while Morrison’s book focuses on Xavier’s School, Joe Casey shows us what happens when Angel’s money allows the X-Men to form a corporately funded team to react to world events. Banshee leads a squad in Europe, while back in the US, some of the usual X-Men are joined by Chamber and Stacy X, as Casey explores a lot of religious and sexual themes (but not X rated sexual themes).
X-Corps. 3 episodes
Serial 4: New X-Men Ultimate Collection Volume 2
(written by Grant Morrison, art by John Paul Leon, Igor Kordey, Phil Jimenez, Ethan Van Sciver, Keron Grant, and Frank Quitely)
Our leather clad school teachers try to deal with the aftermath of an extinction level event and the outing of Professor X (as a mutant), a drug epidemic, a school based riot by a naughty psychic student, and then Bishop returns from The X-Treme X-Men to solve a murder of someone who is totally and completely dead forever.
Riot At Xavier’s. 4 episodes
Background story: Mystique: The Brian K Vaughan Ultimate Collection
(written by Brian K Vaughan, art by Jorge Lucas, Michael Ryan, and Manuel Garcia)
Throughout the third and fourth serials, we witness Professor X sending long-time X-foe, Mystique, out as a mercenary to do the jobs that Professor X can’t have traced back to him. What could possibly go wrong?
Episode 15: X-23 Innocence Lost
(written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, art by Billy Tan)
We spend an “episode” away form the main teams as we meet yet another stabby member of the Wolverine “family”, as a young clone fights her Weapon # training to try and be a good uhhhh person.
X-23. 1 episode
Serial 5: Assault On Weapon Plus
(written by Grant Morrison, art by Phil Jiminez and Chris Bachalo)
I’m sure you imagine this season will end with New X-Men Ultimate Collection 3, the denouement of Morrison’s run. Ehhhh. Look, you can buy it if you want, but the last few issues of his run is a giant middle finger to Marvel’s Editorial, and while that’s conceptually interesting, it’s kind of annoying to read. I recommend getting the smaller trades. In this serial we meet Fantomex and discover what the “X” in “Weapon X” really stands for. (Spoiler alert: It’s not porn related.) Plus, bonding between Cyclops and Wolverine is always so much fun.
Assault On Weapon Plus. 2 episodes
Serial 6: Planet X
(written by Grant Morrison, art by Phil Jiminez)
I’m not really a fan of Planet X but it does wrap up all the plot development that Morrison laid down. We learn more about Xorn than we imagined. The “special class” at Xavier’s school goes rogue. Plus, while I’m usually sarcastic when I mention that a character death is totally permanent and forever, the death in Planet X has lasted fifteen years and that character isn’t back yet. Very much.
Planet X. 4 episodes
Season 5 is 20 episodes
Interseason special: NYX Wannabe.
(written by Joe Quesada, art by Joshua Middleton and Robert Teranishi)
X-23 and some other young mutants live in New York. They’re not on the X-Men’s radar, so they live their lives on the streets making dubious choice after dubious choice.