FX is about to unleash ‘Legion’ the first TV show from 20th Century Fox in connection to their ‘X-Men’ franchise. But just how connected is it?
It doesn’t sound like it’s connected at all.
Despite earlier statements that ‘Legion’ took place in the same universe as the ‘X-Men’ movies, more recent statements indicate that it does not. That is especially unsurprising considering that it appears that Fox is at a crossroads with the film franchise, with ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ looking more and more like the final installment in that cycle of films.
‘Legion’ creator Noah Hawley appeared at a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour along with producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Jeph Loeb and members of the cast including Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller and Jean Smart, to offer some insight into their new series, which is already being praised for its remarkable visual style and ambitious scope.
One thing the creators stressed was that this was not what one would call a “superhero show” and hoped that viewers would check the show out without expecting what they normally see on, say The CW. Hawley stated that ‘Legion’ was “a love story first,” with the genre elements added in after the fact. Loeb added that it “redefines the genre in a new way.”
Not that they are completely shying away from the main character, David Haller’s comic roots. (He is the son of Professor Xavier, in the books.) Loeb said, “X-Men is a world where you can bend the rules a lot… It’s about outsiders who are defined one way by society, and finding their power, both literally and as people.”
However, he also stated, “We don’t start out from a place where this is a person defined by their powers, it’s about a character.” They used the character Syd (Rachel Keller) as an example of how the characters powers reflect their personalities. “Syd can’t touch people because of her abilities, so she’s diagnosed as anti-social, so then she becomes so.”
Other than David (Stevens), none of the other characters are based on Marvel characters, but the creators do have access to some, so long as the film division doesn’t have plans for them, so some may show up in the future. But the creators quickly and firmly shut down any idea that FX was looking to kick off a shared universe of X-Men-based shows, similar to The CW’s block of DC and Netflix’s Marvel shows.
So while this show is based on a Marvel/X-Men property, don’t expect Wolverine to show up. And don’t look to see David and company out saving the world. But that doesn’t mean not to expect big things.
As Hawley put it, “We’re ambitious, we just wanted to tell the biggest story.”
‘Legion’ premieres on FX on February 8.