One of the most exciting new projects in the Marvel pipeline for television is the upcoming Legion TV series, set to air early next year. The show revolves around mutant David Haller a.k.a. Legion, whose powers are near-infinite but connected to multiple personalities. It will be the first live action X-Men series on the small screen. A joint venture by Marvel Television and FX, the pilot is written and directed by Noah Hawley (Fargo, Bones), who will also be a producer and showrunner. Several other big names from the X-Men movies are involved as executive producers, including Simon Kinberg, Bryan Singer, and Lauren Schuler Donner, along with Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb.
With production on the eight-episode first season starting this summer in Vancouver (and the pilot already in the bag), it’s no surprise that the new series is getting plenty of attention at this year’s Comic-Con — including the first trailer for the series.
FX officially released the trailer (above) at SDCC, starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as David Haller, alongside Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation), Katie Aselton (The League) and Hamish Linklater (The Crazy Ones). At just under two minutes long, the trailer establishes the tone and basic premise of the new series, as well as showcases some of the incredible effects that we will see as the show explores Legion’s mindscape.
The trailer reveals several important elements in the new show, starting with a conversation between David Haller and a man listed only as “the Interrogator.” This appears to be one of two conversations happening at different times in the pilot — one, while shut in a locked room with the Interrogator, and other other (in a different outfit) with someone we can assume to be a psychiatrist.
Rachel Keller is heavily featured as Sydney Barrett, a girl who “disappeared.” This is a character who will presumably be front and center in the pilot, as Haller claims that she switched places with him somehow (potentially after a kiss, also shown in the trailer). While Haller believes that he is mentally ill, those interrogating him are aware that he may be an incredibly powerful mutant, and it appears that this may be why they are questioning him.
The trailer also shows several scenes of a dream-like world, presumably Legion’s “mindscape” — the place where his various personalities reside. The trailer wraps up with a rapid-fire action sequence and the reveal of the show’s logo: the word “Legion” in block letters, with the X-Men symbol inside the ‘O’.
Based on this trailer, Legion is going to be an incredible first offering for a small-screen X-Men universe. With a combination of flashbacks to David’s past, exploration of his surreal mindscape, and power-packed adventures in the present day, the show promises to be complex and fascinating. The story of a missing woman and an investigation into Legion will act as the perfect central plotline to tie together the other elements, lending structure to what would otherwise be a potentially chaotic concept. Even better, the trailer includes some bright and humorous moments — key to balancing out an otherwise very serious series that could get very dark, very fast.
Many X-Men fans had their doubts about Legion as the central character of his own series. The character is a complicated one, and his multiple personalities and mindscape will be difficult to properly convey in live-action. However, it looks as though Legion has found a way to make this work, embracing his surreal nature.
The show is not expected to crossover with the X-Men movies which is a disappointment to some, but it does allow the series a little more creative freedom than a connection would. However, we would like to see Haller’s connection to Professor X from the comic explored at some point in the future. Hopefully, this trailer will have cleared any doubts that fans have about the show, because Legion looks like it could be the surprise hit of Spring.
Legion is expected to debut early 2017 on FX.