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Hypothetical TV: X-Men: Children of the Atom

Illustration: X-Men: First Class #8 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

This is pretty much a jumble of ideas, but I really do think it could work. And the first season of the show could lead into the first Uncanny X-Men movie, with subsequent seasons being what happens between each film in the franchise.

X-Men: Children of the Atom

A television series about Charles Xavier’s first class of mutants; what they learn about themselves and the world around them; and how they deal with the conflicts with oppressive groups and radicalized mutants.

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PREMISE

Children of the Atom is about, well, children. Teenagers not yet equipped with the knowledge to live in the world yet. But they are burdened with something that not many other people have: a quirk of genetics has given them extraordinary abilities, abilities that cause others to declare them as freaks or less than human. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is a safe haven, made to shield them from the outside work, but also allow them to learn to control their abilities. The goal is mutant integration, humans and mutants living side by side...but these students will soon learn that there are both humans and mutants who would rather this not happen.

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CHARACTERS

Students:

  • Scott Summers, 17, the first student Xavier recruited. He lived for several years at a children’s group home and caries a chip on his shoulder because of it. He agreed to go with Xavier if Xavier would help find his young brother, who had been separated from him.
  • Robert “Bobby” Drake, 16, the second student. Bobby hid his insecurities about his homelife and his feelings for other boys through humor and being a class clown. Xavier told him that at his school, he wouldn’t need to hide who he was.
  • Warren Worthington III, 17, the third student. Warren is the son of a wealthy businessman, but who chafed at his expectations. When he started growing wings, he was quick to hide them using a harness, but was contacted by Xavier and told he wouldn’t need it if he attended Xavier’s school.
  • Henry “Hank” McCoy, 18, the fourth student and oldest. Hank’s father was a nuclear physicist and taught Hank from a young age, meaning that Hank knows far more than anyone else in his grade. When he began changing – his arms, hands, and feet growing unusually large – he realized that he must be a mutant and went on to contact Xavier himself. Xavier invited him to his school and Hank got his parents to agree.
  • Jean Grey, 17, the fifth student who joins in the first episode. Jean had been having a happy childhood up until the point where her best friend was hit by a car and died; her powers manifested at that point and she found herself inside her friend’s mind when she died, trapped and alone. Catatonic, she found help from Xavier, who brought her back and then invited her to his school.
  • Callie Rankin, 18, the sixth student who joins in the seventh episode. Callie was born Calvin, but when her mutant ability to mimic the physical traits of anyone in range manifested, she quickly changed into a woman. She always makes sure that this is the one trait she never changes, but is afraid of anyone finding out.
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Faculty:

  • Professor Charles Xavier, the world’s leading expert on genetic mutation. After having encounters around the world with other mutants, he decided he needed to open a school in which mutants could be taught to control their powers and integrate into society. There is, however, a more secret mission for his students: to fight and protect humanity from any mutant threats and find and protect mutants from any human threats. He teaches history and literature to the students.
  • Dr. Moira MacTaggert, another expert on genetic mutation. Dr. MacTagget acts as the school nurse, but she’s also there to monitor each student’s health and mutation. She herself is not a mutant.
  • Sean Cassidy, the groundskeeper and gym teacher. Cassidy is a former member of Interpol and someone Xavier encountered early in his career. He agreed with Xavier that there should be a school for mutants, but balked at being a teacher. Xavier finally got him to agree with the knowledge that Moira was there, since Cassidy has a crush on her.
  • Mr. Forge, the math and science teacher. Forge is a mystery to the students, who don’t even know his first name. All they know is that he’s a Cheyenne and worked for the Department of Defense before leaving and joining Xavier at his school. He also has a robotic hand and leg, but the students are too afraid to ask how he lost them.
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EPISODES

1x01: “First Night”
POV: Jean Grey

This is about the first night when the original five students of Charles Xavier first gathered. It was a dark and stormy one and Jean Grey was the last to arrive. The next morning there would be classes and training and battles, but this was the first night when they met.

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1x02: “Vanishing Acts”
POV: Bobby Drake

Bobby Drake knows how to disappear. He’s used to it by now, which is why he likes making jokes and being the class clown – so that he doesn’t disappear. But now they are on the trail of the Vanisher, a man who can literally disappear and Bobby doesn’t quite know what to do when they find him. Especially if Bobby is all alone when it happens.

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1x03: “Untouchable”
POV: Scott Summers

So far, things have been good for Scott Summers. He enjoys his classes. He likes being around Jean. And he is good at leading missions for the X-Men...until they face off against a Russian criminal called Unus the Untouchable. How can you fight something you can’t touch? And with this problem comes a whole slew of mental ones that Scott wishes he could forget.

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1x04: “Wheels Within Wheels”
POV: Warren Worthington III

The Vanisher and Unus were not isolated cases – they had both been contacted by an organization called Factor Three. And now Factor Three contacts Warren, telling him that he has to leave the X-Men and join their group or else his father will die. Warren has a plan, but Factor Three has plans within plans, and nothing will stand in their way.

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1x05: “Behemoth”
POV: Hank McCoy

The X-Men are trapped within Factor Three’s huge underground facility by the mutant Changeling. And Hank McCoy is the only one who can figure the way out. He’s always known that his mind was stronger than his body, but now is the chance to prove it. Or die trying.

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1x06: “Gabriel’s Horn”
POV: Sean Cassidy

The X-Men have escaped from Factor Three’s facility, but the organization is still after them and determined to either capture or kill them. What they don’t know is that their gym teacher, Mr. Cassidy, has been tracking them. And now it’s time to unleash the Banshee.

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1x07: “The Indigobird”
POV: Callie Rankin

There’s a new student at Xavier’s and her power is the ability to mimic the physical traits of anyone around her. But is Callie Rankin hiding a deeper secret? Can the first five X-Men really trust this unknown mutant?

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1x08: “The Child Ballads”
POV: Moira MacTaggert

Every single day, Moira MacTaggert monitors the X-Men’s health, both physical and mental. Every day, she sees them risk their lives and she worries. And now something new is coming and Moira knows this will take everything they have...and it might break them.

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1x09: “The Ghost Dance”
POV: Mr. Forge

Before they face off against the Juggernaut, Mr. Forge decides to take the X-Men on a class trip. In the desert, under the stars, he tells them that each one must choose whether or not they want to stay and fight. And then he tells them of his own story, of the time he fought in a war he didn’t believe and how it pains him every day.

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1x10: “The First Murder”
POV: Charles Xavier

In Westchester, at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Cain Marko has arrived. He wants one thing: to kill his brother, Charles. The X-Men are there to stop him. But nothing can stop the Juggernaut. Nothing except what’s inside Charles Xavier’s mind.

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1x11: “Six Mutants in Search of an Exit”
POV: Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Bobby Drake, Hank McCoy, Warren Worthington III, and Callie Rankin

Waking up in six empty white cells, the X-Men wonder exactly what happened to them and where they are now. They recall the events after their defeat of the Juggernaut until the moment things got hazy. And then their cells open...and the games begin.

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1x12: “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”
POV: Scott Summers

Someone has paid Arcade a lot of money to put the X-Men in his Murderworld. Scott Summers wants to know who it was. And he doesn’t care how many rooms of death traps he has to break out of to get it.

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1x13: “Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies”
POV: Jean Grey

It was all a trap. While they were busy in Murderworld, someone broke into the mansion and killed the Professor. But...the Professor isn’t dead. The Professor wasn’t the Professor at all – in death, he turns back into the mutant Changeling and suddenly, all secrets are revealed. And the biggest secret: who is Magneto and the Brotherhood? But these secrets might just do what no other enemy could do: break the X-Men.

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POST-CREDITS SCENE

SIX MONTHS AGO

CHARLES XAVIER sits by a small lake, tearing up a piece of bread and throwing it to the ducks. A man sits down on the bench next to him.

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CHARLES: I heard about the incident in Alberta. Did you really have to kill all those people?

ERIK: Getting squeamish, Charles? It was your idea to for me to form this little group, remember? The X-Men are for upholding the law and promoting mutant equality, but you needed someone that could break those laws, that could find those places that held our extinction, our genocide in their hands, and stop them. You have your X-Men and I have my Brotherhood and never the twain shall meet, wasn’t that the agreement?

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CHARLES: It was. I’m just wondering if you have to go to such lengths, Erik. The...the number of bodies.

ERIK: Then read my mind, Charles. Look at what they were doing.

Charles pauses, closes his eyes, and then almost retches.

CHARLES: What...what were they doing?

ERIK: Making weapons out of mutants, I presume. And the mutants that didn’t have powers they found useful were killed. It wasn’t the first mass grave I’ve seen and I doubt it will be the last.

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CHARLES: All the men responsible...when you killed them...did it hurt?

ERIK: Absolutely.

CHARLES: ...Good.

The two men sit by the lake and look out at the water, their minds moving fitfully in frightening directions.

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