Last month we reported that 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the hit ‘X-Men’ movie franchise, was venturing into the world of television with ‘Hellfire’ on FOX and ‘Legion’ on FX. Of all the X-Men-related characters, Legion is probably one of the last that most would select to headline an ongoing TV series. He’s never even headlined his own comic book! But the mentally conflicted son of Charles Xavier is coming… at least for a pilot, which will be written by Noah Hawley, the showrunner for FX’s critically acclaimed ‘Fargo’. While the show hasn’t gone into production yet, producer Simon Kinberg stated that should the cable network pick it up, the first season would consist of 10 to 13 episodes.
‘Legion’ would follow the journey of David Haller, a schizophrenic young man who has been hospitalized for most of his life until he discovers that the voices in his head may be real.
Expect ‘Legion’ to have it’s own voices… er voice, making it distinct from the existing ‘X-Men’ movies. Having the show on FX will help allow it to be a bit grittier and more violent than if it were on a major network. Kinberg went so far as to compare it to a beloved, but decidedly adult show with a passionate fanbase, ‘Breaking Bad’.
“I mean the thing that’s cool and that’s the hope in branching out to TV is that we can tell these X-Men stories in a slightly different way and even with a slightly different tone. It’s one of the thing we’re kind of doing in the different movie franchises. I mean Deadpool obviously has a very different, almost antithetical tone to the mainline X-Men movies. The X-Men movies are dramatic and almost operatic, whereas Deadpool is irreverent and hysterical and sort of a dirty R-rated comedy in many ways. And Gambit will have its own different flavor and tone to it, will be more of like a heist movie and a sexy thriller in a way. So the TV shows give us an opportunity to go even further and certainly what I’m seeing on Legion with Noah and FX is an intent to do something completely original in the genre, in some ways to sort of blow up the paradigm of comic book or superhero stories and almost do our ‘Breaking Bad’ of superhero stories.”
Pretty ambitious comparison, Mr. Kinberg! First comes a pilot, which should begin filming early next year for consideration in the spring when networks start selecting which new shows will join their lineups in the fall.
Kinberg, for his part, is bursting at the seams with excitement over this unlikely project, as he discussed the show’s genesis:
“It’s been extraordinary working with Noah Hawley, who I think is a straight up genius. Actually the idea for Legion, it began in conversations with Lauren Schuler Donner and Bryan Singer and Noah and me, but I remember I was actually in Moscow last year about to go into a dinner, I was there for the Days of Future Past premiere, and I was sitting in a car outside a restaurant about to go into dinner. It was really early on in the process, like one of the first conversations, and Noah and I were on a call just the two of us just riffing ideas, and I was sitting outside what I thought was gonna be like a 10 minute call and I ended up sitting out there for three and a half hours, missing the dinner. Everybody had not only had the dinner but went home, and I just got off that call being like, ‘It’s midnight in Moscow but we have to make this show with this guy because he’s so brilliant.’ So that’s really ramping up now, the production’s ramping up to start shooting at the beginning of the year with FX.”
‘Fargo’ is an amazingly crafted show, so hopefully Hawley can work his magic on this X-Men property.
What do you think? Can this edgy mutant carry his own TV show? How faithful should it remain to the comics? And how should it connect to the film series?