Since it was announced that Marvel TV and 20th Century Fox had teamed up to develop two television series based on the X-Men characters, fans have wondered whether the shows will connect to Fox’s X-Men film series and/or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although the series with the working title Hellfire is still in development at FX, the other show, Legion – from Fargo’s Noah Hawley – is set to premiere in 2017.
Legion follows David Haller aka Legion (The Guest’s Dan Stevens), who is an extremely powerful mutant, though his power is limited by the fact that he has multiple personalities, which takes a toll on his mental health. During the Legion panel at New York Comic Con, FX presented the first half of the show’s pilot episode and took questions from the audience.
In response to a question from a fan about whether Legion would be connected to any upcoming Marvel movies, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb responded with a version of his “It’s all connected” assurance and explained the difficulties presented by the FX series especially:
This one is particularly complicated as I’ve tried to explain. It isn’t because the Marvel universe isn’t connected, because it is. In this particular case, I think this audience is sophisticated enough to know that the X-Men characters live in the Fox world and [Marvel TV] lives in a different world. Obviously the fact that I’m sitting here is an indication of bridges that are being made – people like Lauren [Shuler Donner] are facilitating that and making that happen, and John Landgraf who’s the head of FX, who’s very involved.
Certainly, given the popularity of superhero properties both on film and TV, fans have become more well-versed in what it means for one particular movie studio to have the rights to certain characters and how that impacts the stories being told. For instance, since Fox owns the rights to Marvel’s mutant library, the MCU altered the origin stories of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch so that the characters aren’t mutants. That said, Loeb went on to explain that all the movies and television series following Marvel Comics characters are connected in their focus on characters, particularly when it comes to Legion:
What it really boils down to is that Marvel heroes at their core are people who are damaged, are people that are trying to figure out who they are in life and that doesn’t matter whether or not they’re X-Men characters or they’re Matt Murdock or they’re Tony Stark or they’re Peter Parker – that’s where it starts. We’re much more interested in the person that’s inside the mask as opposed to the mask or the cape.
So if you start at a place as strong as David Haller’s character and you have a storyteller like Noah, then that’s Marvel and in that way it is all connected. We’re all approaching it from a place which is how do we make it something that you – because you guys at the end of the day know what it is more than anybody else. So we just want something that has truth to it. So if what you just watched feels like Marvel, then it is all connected and that’s really what matters.
Loeb’s comments don’t necessarily establish that Legion directly exists in the MCU or Fox’s X-Men world – though it was confirmed at the NYCC panel that David is Charles Xavier’s son as the character is in the comics. But, Loeb’s assurance that Legion will feel like a Marvel story and honor the comic book character in that way may help fans get a better idea of what to expect from the series once it debuts. Of course, based on the teasers that have already been released and the footage shown at NYCC, Legion will be a truly unique X-Men experience. But, at its core, Legion is still a Marvel property and it seems it will still appeal to Marvel fans despite its differences.
Legion is expected to debut in early 2017 on FX.