The first season of Noah Hawley’s Legion was a superhero show like no other. It took us into the shattered psyche of David Haller, Charles Xavier’s powerful mutant son. Along the way, it introduced viewers to a classic X-Men villain – the Shadow King. In season 1, this psychic entity was played by Aubrey Plaza, as the Shadow King was pretending to be an aspect of David’s mind. Now, the villain is loose in the world once again, and it seems he’s about to show his true face.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, showrunner Noah Hawley revealed that the Shadow King has been recast. Navid Negahban will play the part of Amahl Farouk, replacing Wonder Woman‘s Said Taghmaoui. Fans will recognize Negahban for playing Islamic terrorist Abu Nazir in Homeland, although he’s more recently appeared in Mistresses and The Messengers. This time around, Nazir is taking on a massively important role.
In the comics, Amahl Farouk was the original identity of the Shadow King. A crime lord in Cairo, Egypt, the Shadow King used his telepathic powers to force children to steal for him. One picked the pocket of the young Charles Xavier, who was swiftly drawn into a telepathic battle with Farouk. Xavier emerged triumphant, striking Farouk down with a terrible psychic blow. Farouk’s body died, but his mind was left stranded on the Astral Plane.
Now that he’s free from the Astral Plane, it’s possible that the Shadow King will revert to the identity of Amahl Farouk. If that’s the case, Negahban will actually be playing the main villain. But there is another possibility, a creative one that’s ideally suited to Legion. The first season gave the Shadow King a remarkably comic-book-accurate origin. Given that’s the case, it would be no surprise to see season 2 include flashbacks to Farouk’s time as a crime lord. Noah Hawley has long teased that Charles Xavier could appear in the series. That means season 2 could even include a flashback to the fateful day when two telepaths battled in Egypt.
Whatever the truth may be, it’s likely to be complex. Noah Hawley’s Legion explored this strange new world through the eyes of David Haller. As a result, it took viewers a long time to work out what was real and what wasn’t. The Shadow King may not be trapped inside David’s mind any more, but that narrative concept is sure to continue for season 2.
Legion season 2 premieres on FX in April 2018.
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