2017 promises a comic book-inspired television series like no other. Legion is FX’s foray into the world of Marvel’s Merry Mutants, and from a visual and storytelling standpoint it is a wild swerve away from what’s available on TV for comic fans at the moment. Developed by Fargo creator Noah Hawley, the series follows the misadventures of David Haller – potentially the most powerful mutant alive – as he tries to make sense of the confounding mystery that is his powers. Are they just a manifestation of his mental illness as he’s been told for years, or is David in fact part of an extraordinary leap in human evolution?
So far, the majority of the promos for the series have focused on Dan Stevens’ portrayal of Haller and his life as it unfolds within the confines of a mysterious mental hospital. Those promos have gone to great lengths to illustrate a series which has, at its center, an immense question, one that will drive the show going forward and present a unique problem for those watching: Is what the series depicts actually happening, or is Haller set to join the ranks of television’s famed unreliable narrators? Well, before viewers start lumping David in with Rami Malek’s Mr. Robot character, a new promo may convince them it’s not all a sham.
The new video comes from FX, and it features Jean Smart as Melanie Bird, a therapist who has undertaken a mission to help people like David. Bird’s methods are unconventional, to say the least, but as the MRI technician points out with regard to his oversized amygdala, there’s nothing conventional about a guy like David. Check out the promo above.
The introduction of Smart’s character opens up the Legion narrative and demonstrates the way in which the X-Men-adjacent world Hawley has built around Haller expands far beyond the institution shown in most early promos. It also takes the fear of a burgeoning evolutionary shift, the birth of mutantkind, and turns it into a through-line common to the X-Men series – both movies and comic books. By blending that level of consumer-friendly familiarity with the surreal oddity of the series itself, FX may have a hit on its hands.
Of course, fans don’t have long to wait until they can decide for themselves whether or not Legion is up their alley. Given the network’s commitment to engaging, original dramas, and for allowing its creators to experiment with different kinds of storytelling as they see fit, the convergence of that mindset with the Marvel Universe should produce some interesting results.
Legion premieres Wednesday, February 8 @10pm on FX.