X-Men and mutants aren’t only going to be appearing on the big screen in 2017; in fact, before Hugh Jackman makes his final appearance as Wolverine in Logan (which hits theaters next March), Dan Stevens of The Guest and Downton Abbey fame will make his debut as David Haller on the FX TV series, Legion. The latter follows David as he moves in and out of psychiatric hospitals, under the (mis)belief that he has a severe and unusual case of schizophrenia. Just like in the world of X-Men comic books, though, David is really the son of Charles Xavier and has similar powers to those possessed by his father – meaning that the voices he hears in his head are, in fact, the thoughts of other people (and not “voices” that he’s imagining).
As recounted during our Total Geekall podcast recap of New York Comic-Con 2016, the Legion pilot episode – part of which was screened for the people in attendance at the TV show’s NYCC 2016 panel – has the same off-beat and, at times, downright bizarre tone/style as the promos that have been released for the TV show, thus far. Yet another mind-bending promo in that vein has been released online for Legion too; though this one comes with the bonus of a specific premiere date frame for the series, to go with the latest batch of strange (brief) clips from the show.
Legion is now officially slated to debut on FX in February 2017, though an exact premiere date has yet to be formally announced. Fans of Legion creator Noah Hawley’s other FX TV series, Fargo, ought to be all the more pleased by this news; seeing as season 3 of Fargo may well start airing not too long after Legion season 1 concludes (assuming that FX doesn’t allow the two shows to overlap one another in terms of their air dates). That means there may be a constant supply of Hawley’s brand of “weirdness” airing on FX for his fans to enjoy, throughout the first half of next year.
Descriptions of the Legion footage that was shown at NYCC 2016 suggest that the TV series is shaping up to feel like “X-Men as envisioned by the creator of Fargo,” in the best way possible. The producers of the X-Men movie franchise have made it no secret that the peculiar sensibility of Hawley’s Legion TV show pitch was what convinced them to sign off on the small screen X-Men project to begin with. It’s, presumably, been for related reasons that the overseers of the X-Men cinematic property have been so vague about how exactly Legion will tie into the upcoming X-Men films – not wanting to place unnecessary restrictions on Hawley’s artistic vision that would only allow it to be linked with future X-Men movies in a superficial way.
Setting aside the discussion of connections between Legion and the X-Men films aside for a moment, Hawley’s new FX TV series boasts a cast of talented character actors on the same level as the cast members that have appeared on Fargo thus far. In addition to Stevens (who, between Legion and his role in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, could enjoy a proper breakout year in 2017), the Legion acting roster also includes Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Kate Aselton (The League), Amber Midthunder (Longmire) and Fargo alum Rachel Keller, among others.
Takes as a whole then, Legion has the potential to even further demonstrate the range of what the superhero TV show genre can encompass. This would allow Hawley’s show to build on the success of other recent additions to the genre – perhaps most notably, the critically-acclaimed Marvel/Netflix TV series like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. It will only be a handful of months (from the time of writing this) until we find out for certain if that’s the case with Legion, thankfully.
Legion premieres on FX in February 2017.