FX is just about a month away from premiering its first superhero series with Legion, from Fargo creator Noah Hawley. It's a big bet for the network, which has been on a massive winning streak as of late, as the X-Men-adjacent tale of enormously powerful mutant David Haller brings with it not only tangential mention of Marvel's merry mutants but also a stamp of approval from Marvel television itself. And while footage of the series that's been shown so far demonstrates just how unlike other superhero shows Legion really is, it's a distinction Marvel is only too eager to underline.
At the FX panel during the TCA Winter Press Tour, Hawley and Marvel TV's Jeph Loeb joined the cast of Legion to discuss this odd tale of a misunderstood mutant, and what really makes the show so special. The panel answered plenty of questions from journalists, but Loeb seemed to want to dispel any notion that Legion was the start of yet another onscreen universe where spinoffs and interconnected storylines – like the ones Marvel is currently making with Netflix – will eventually begin to spill out from the story of David Haller.
As reported by THR, Loeb dismissed the idea but he also went on to point out why Legion will be attractive to those looking for something outside the norm of the typical comic book TV series:
"Legion redefines the genre in a new way. We get asked a lot: 'Are there too many superhero shows? Have we reached the saturation point?' We have two responses to that: 'Do we ask those about cop, medical and legal shows? No.' Secondly, the other idea is Marvel doesn't start out from a place [where] a person is defined by their powers. This is about what's happening to David in that world.
"You can really bend the rules. Noah came in and asked about mental health and exploring the perception of people. [These are] stories of people in the real world. We don't know that anyone is going to come to this show because they like The Defenders. We think they'll come because of Noah, the cast and FX merged together for a kind of show Marvel has never done before."
For someone as high up the food chain at Marvel TV as Loeb to claim the primary selling point of the studio's newest series is its creator is perhaps the biggest way the series is set to redefine the genre. Hawley rapidly made a name for himself over the course of two critically acclaimed seasons of Fargo, and for him to then jump into the superhero swimming pool, writing and directing the premiere – while also readying Fargo season 3 – is ambitious, to say the least. But anyone who has paid close attention to the trailers for Legion will see that, from a purely visual standpoint, the series doesn't look like anything in the realm of live-action superhero entertainment. As such, given that Hawley's unique creative fingerprints are readily apparent, perhaps Loeb's statement is true.
At any rate, it will be a different series for sure, and with any luck Legion will succeed in redefining the superhero genre.
Legion premieres on Wednesday, February 8 on FX.