Surprising absolutely no one, Fox has put in a series order for the Marvel pilot that was filmed in Dallas. For fans of X-Men and a robust Dallas film industry, this is good news.
The bad news is that conservatives in the Texas Legislature remain set on ending the state’s film incentives program, which means it’s increasingly likely The Gifted—now the official title of the Marvel show—will move production to greener pastures, in states with more generous tax rebates.
But let’s try and end on some good news here, and point toward a couple items that may stand as proof the Dallas film industry isn’t completely screwed. There’s this week’s nice Dallas Observer feature on Cinestate (which D Magazine wrote about in December), the relatively new Dallas media company now shooting a Puppet Master reboot in town. The company has its fingers in books and audio projects as well as part of its mission to create almost Marvel-esque medium-spanning properties, but film remains a priority. The Observer lauds Cinestate for turning Dallas into a “city where movies get made” while acknowledging (bad news incoming) that the company’s bigger-budget projects, including films with Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson, are shooting out of state because of the dearth of state incentives.
It’s also worth wildly speculating that perhaps the Marvel pilot is so loaded with Dallas exterior shots and other North Texas references that it couldn’t possibly shoot anywhere else without significant cinematic trickery. From all the news tidbits out there, it doesn’t appear that the action in the show actually happens in Dallas, but it could. It sure could. Why not?
We can certainly watch the 22-second teaser for The Gifted, which gives almost zero hints on whether that flight of fancy is correct. Those do look an awful lot like Dallas police cars sparking 12 seconds in, though. A full trailer comes out Monday.
An update, with less wildly speculative good news: Janis Burklund, director of the Dallas Film Commission, emails to say that she is “cautiously optimistic” The Gifted series will film in Dallas, although a final decision is still pending. She also notes that the pilot spent about 17 days shooting in Dallas, about three months including preparation and wrap. (The initial version of this post incorrectly said the pilot had been filming for months.)