While they may be a little late to the game, Fox is finally bringing the ‘X-Men’ film universe to the small screen with ‘Legion’! With the booming success of all of the comic book based shows currently airing on network television like Marvel’s ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ on ABC and ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’, and Luke Cage’ on Netflix, as well as DC Entertainment’s CW series like ‘Arrow’, ‘The Flash’, and ‘Supergirl’, plus Fox’s own DC owned shows ‘Gotham’ and ‘Lucifer’, it only makes sense that Fox would cash in on their rights to Marvel’s ‘X-Men’ film franchise and adapt it for television; Though the version we get may not be the version you are expecting! This past week at New York Comic Con 2016 FX (which is one of several networks owned by 20th Century Fox) gave fans a preview of their new ‘X-Men’ themed television series ‘Legion’ and let people know just what the show was about! Before the actual panel began, convention-goers were treated to the first half of the pilot episode of ‘Legion’, which will begin airing its eight-episode first season early next year on FX.
While it is a part of the ‘X-Men’ film universe, don’t expect to be seeing any of your usual familiar faces from the films! ‘Legion’ is set to follow a man named David Haller (played by Dan Stevens of ‘Downtown Abbey’ fame). David is a schizophrenic who recently discovered that he is also a powerful mutant whose abilities are only just beginning to manifest (for those who aren’t quite savvy to the X-Men, mutants are people who have evolved special superhuman abilities)! According to showrunner Noah Hawley (‘Fargo’), who was on hand to introduce the show, David “doesn’t know what’s real” due to the combination of his powers and his schizophrenia. “In the show, you’re in his head, so you don’t necessarily know what’s real either” exclaimed Hawley, clearly proud of his work. Also on hand for the ‘Legion’ panel alongside Hawley were X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb, and series stars Dan Stevens, Aubrey plaza, Katie
According to showrunner Noah Hawley (‘Fargo’), who was on hand to introduce the show, David “doesn’t know what’s real” due to the combination of his powers and his schizophrenia. “In the show, you’re in his head, so you don’t necessarily know what’s real either” exclaimed Hawley, clearly proud of his work. Also on hand for the ‘Legion’ panel alongside Hawley were X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb, and series stars Dan Stevens, Aubrey plaza, Katie Astleton, Amber Midthunder, Bill Irwin, Rachel Keller, and Jeremie Harris.
As for how ‘Legion’ really fits into the greater ‘X-Men’ cinematic universe, Hawley added:
“We have to earn the right to be part of this universe. My hope is we create something so strong that the people in the movie studio call and say they would be foolish enough not to connect these things. But all I can do is control the show and make the best version possible. There’s a certain degree to where that’s to be determined. We’re in David’s subjective reality, so it’s hard to tell. One thing that’s attractive about X-Men is there are alternate timelines and universes. We start to realize we’re seeing this world through multiple layers and mixed signals that Dan’s character is getting. It would be a spoiler in a true sense to say… I’ll say that we are true to the origins of this character, and just leave it at that.”
It’s worth noting that the comic book version of our lead character David Haller is the son of the legendary founder of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier, so how will this fit into our story? “You can’t tell this story without that element. I mean, there’s a wheelchair in the first scene…” joked Hawley. So hopefully we will get a better sense of where this story falls once it hits the air.
So what is ‘Legion’ really about? Who is the big villain from the ‘X-Men’ universe that David will be up against? Well, there may not actually be one, according to Hawley. The core ideas behind the series concept seem to spur from the world we live in today and being our own worst enemies within ourselves. As Hawley explains:
We live in a tumultuous time” said Hawley. “Things are polarizing. There’s a lot of intolerance. A lot of that starts inside us. The great thing about exploring this character is before he has an opinion about anyone else, he has to figure out his own shit. That’s what we all have to do. This journey isn’t necessarily racing toward a battle with an entity, so much as embracing the battle within.”
‘Legion’ is the first (hopefully of many) live action ‘X-Men’ television series, and as such is being co-produced by Marvel Television and FX Productions. Does this mean that we may finally have our doorway opening for the ‘X-Men’ universe to officially become a part of the larger ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ proper? Marvel’s TV Head Jeph Loeb joked:
“The fact that I’m sitting here is an indication that bridges are being made, but I don’t want to make any promises that I’ll have to explain the next time someone asks me. But it boils down to this, Marvel heroes at their core are people who are damaged and are trying to figure out who they are in life. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re X-Men, Tony Stark, Matt Murdock or Peter Parker. That’s where it starts. We’re much more interested in the person inside the mask than the mask. If you start at a place as strong as David’s character is and you have a storyteller like Noah, then it’s Marvel. In that way, it is all connected.”
‘X-Men’ series producer Lauren Shuler Donner said fans can expect ‘Legion’ to be both familiar and yet uniquely its own thing:
“This is far from the X-Men movies, but still lives in that universe, the only way for X-Men to keep moving forward is to be original and to surprise. And this is a surprise. It is very, very different”. Loeb chimed in with his thoughts on why now is the perfect time for ‘Legion’, stating “We live in a world where diversity and uniqueness and whether we fit in or don’t fit in is on our minds 24/7, the ‘X-Men’ have never been more relevant than they are right now.”
‘Legion’, the first live action ‘X-men’ television series, starring Dan Stevens (‘Downtown Abbey’), Aubrey Plaza (‘Parks & Recreation’), Katie Astleton (The League’), Amber Midthunder(‘Hell Or Highwater’), Bill Irwin (‘Law & Order: SVU’), Rachel Keller (‘Fargo’), and Jeremie Harris (‘The Angriest Man In Brooklyn’) is set to premiere early in 2017 on the FX Network. Be sure to stay tuned to ScienceFiction.com for all of the latest news updates on ‘Legion’!
Jordan is a Toy Columnist & Staff Writer here at ScienceFiction! Journalist, Musician, Toy Collector, and Overall Awesome Guy! For more on Jordan’s thoughts, toys, and wacky adventures, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.