Fox’s upcoming Legion TV series saw its trailer debut at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, which only stoked the already considerable fan interest in this adaptation of the X-Men-based comic book series. Starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as David Haller, a mutant whose extraordinary power is linked to his multiple-personality disorder, Legion is only connected to the established X-Men films in the sense that they both exist in a universe with super-powered mutants.
Showrunner Noah Hawley (Fargo, Bones) has already told fans not to expect any major X-Men to show up in the Legion TV series. Now, however, we are seeing hints that the Legion series might actually connect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Coming out of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel has provided an overview of incoming additions to the MCU, from newcomers to be established in upcoming films and TV series (Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, Ego: The Living Planet, Captain Marvel) to recently-introduced characters who will soon be fleshed out even further (Luke Cage, Black Panther). Listed among them is Legion, with the show’s 2017 release date noted along with the character’s biography.
Legion’s background as the son of X-Men leader Charles Xavier is not expected to play a role in the show at this point, but this aspect of the source material is included on Marvel’s post. Clicking on the Read More! link at the bottom of the entry leads to a page devoted to the X-Men: Legacy comic book series, part of the Marvel NOW! continuity. There is a strong possibility that this page on Marvel’s site is merely intended to gather together the different Marvel characters and properties that were showcased at Comic-Con, and not an explicit sign that Legion will be part of the MCU.
Still, we have heard rumblings as recently as earlier this month that Fox and Marvel – a historically tense creative partnership – may be looking to collaborate on a project. It has been popularly held that said project is more than likely another shot at rebooting Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four. Fox’s most recent attempt to breathe life into the dormant property infamously crashed and burned last year and was savaged by fans and critics alike. The world is not exactly clamoring for another Fantastic Four – at least not anytime soon – but with Marvel and Sony bringing Spider-Man: Homecoming into the fold, Fox could use Legion as a relatively low-risk way to hook into the immensely popular MCU, especially if it takes place in a supposedly parallel universe.
This prospect is undoubtedly exciting to fans hoping for an “X-Marvel” partnership to bring all their favorite comic book characters under the roof where they (arguably) belong. Yet there is a strong case to be made for allowing Legion to stand on its own: given the snarl of conflicting timelines established by the X-Men films – a situation not exactly helped by this year’s somewhat divisive X-Men: Apocalypse – a fresh take on an increasingly crowded genre which stands apart from what came before could be an exciting prospect, one with a slew of possibilities unhindered by an existing shared universe.
Legion is expected to appear in early 2017 on FX.