While the filmmaking arm of Marvel Studios continues to create shiny, action-packed superhero movies about saving the world and facing foes, their TV production division has begun to focus on developing complex — sometimes antiheroic — protagonists. From traumatized recluse Jessica Jones to the gritty, moralistic Luke Cage, Marvel TV series are able to take the time to explore their enigmatic leads, since the span of an entire TV season allows more time for character development and narrative evolution. Though so far all of Marvel’s original TV programming has been done in partnership with Netflix, the studio is now collaborating with 20th Century Fox on X-Men TV series Legion, set to air on FX.
Legion follows David Haller, son of Charles Xavier, as he struggles with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and his disturbing, superheroic reality. The super-powerful mutant, played by Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens, must navigate love and hospitalization as he uncovers the truth about who he really is. The series, created by Fargo‘s Noah Hawley, will have an eight-episode run and feature cast members Stevens, Rachel Keller, and Aubrey Plaza. We’ve seen lots of interesting new promotional material for the show this year, including a full-length trailer and some teasers that indicate the series will be just as dark and interesting as Fargo.
As 2016 wraps up and we prepare for a slew of new and interesting media in 2017, Legion is definitely a series to look out for — and their marketing team doesn’t want us to forget it. FX has now released a new promo that highlights the show’s dark undertones, and frames protagonist David as a potentially-dangerous lead. Check it out, above.
The promo shows Haller facing off against what appears to be a psychotherapist, though he could also easily be a government interrogator. “My job is to assess, are you still a danger to yourself, to others?” the man asks, as a bedraggled Haller in his signature orange jacket looks on wryly. The promo is ultimately very short, but it reveals a lot about the central theme of the show, which is being billed as a sci-fi psychological thriller.
Though there is plenty of deeply psychological fodder in the superhero canon, it’s rare to find media that truly gives these themes its due. Perhaps, then Legion will join the ranks of shows like Jessica Jones and be able to really explore Haller’s origins in a way that feels sympathetic and interesting. His origin story actually reminds one of Eleven from Stranger Things, albeit with more overt medicalization. While this show’s premise undoubtedly seems interesting, it will be even more fascinating to see what role mental illness plays in its development. Will Haller’s schizophrenia be just another narrative prop, or will he face the deeper challenge of navigating altered reality and mutanthood? We’re fascinated to find out next year.
Legion will debut in early 2017 on FX.
Source: FX Networks