FX is developing a show based on the mentally distressed X-Men character David Haller called ‘Legion‘. Until recently not much beyond the loglines has been known about the series. Now the executive producer Noah Hawley (Fargo) shared what drew him to the character in a recent interview with TV Insider:
“What I really like about him is, here’s a character who is schizophrenic on some level, a character struggling with mental illness. Is he crazy or does he have these powers? The answer is, kind of both. I’m a big believer that the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story. And so I liked the idea that if you have a character that doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not real, that is also the audience’s journey.
David Haller, aka Legion, suffers from multiple personality disorder. Each personality controls a different set of powers related to his mutant abilities. Being a mutant, there are automatically ties to the ‘X-Men’ movies, but it doesn’t stop there. Haller is the son of Charles Xavier and plays a key role in various comic storylines, most prominently ‘Age of Apocalypse’ which involves the central villain from the upcoming ‘X-Men’ film. It’s still unclear how much of this connection will be explored in the show. The producer seems to imply that the connection is there while not being the focus of the show:
“It’s conceived more as a standalone. I don’t want to say too much more about it on that level, but certainly it’s not constructed as a back-door anything. It’s more just that there’s a story that I want to explore that has to fit into that larger universe, which is exciting.”
When asked if ‘Legion’ will share connections with the Fox’s X-Men related TV show in development, ‘Hellfire‘, Hawley said:
“We certainly haven’t had any conversations about crossovers. I don’t know anything about it, but I think that one is more linearly taken out of the world of the movies. Ours has its own world to it.”
This makes sense to me. ‘Hellfire’ focuses on the Hellfire Club which is a group in the comics featuring characters in ‘X-Men: First Class’ while ‘Legion’ is a more isolated character. They could get away with never referencing X-stuff on ‘Legion’ beyond the mutant source of his powers. It’s still early days for the show and they are likely trying to keep their options open.