The third and final season of FX’s Legion introduced Professor X on its most recent episode, and series showrunner Noah Hawley admits he briefly considered the possibility of bringing Patrick Stewart back to play the role. The series has been playing fast and loose with the X-Men canon, as well as its timeline, meaning Hawley and FX had plenty of options when the time came to cast the powerful mutant and father to series protagonist (antagonist?) David Haller (Dan Stevens). And though Stewart is certainly the actor most associated with the role of Charles Xavier, the show ultimately went with former Counterpart and Game of Thrones actor Harry Lloyd.
For most of its run the series has danced around much of David’s personal history, including his true parentage. Much of that had been obscured due to the fact that Amahl Farouk (the Shadow King) had invaded the David’s mind from a very young age, turning his concept of reality (and the show’s) into a jumbled mishmash of influences and half-truths. But as the series moves deeper into its final season, and plays around with the concept of time travel, thanks to newcomer Switch (Lauren Tsai), Legion has an opportunity to put David and Charles face-to-face.
The third episode of season 3 delivered the first look at Lloyd’s Professor X, in an origin story of sorts that eerily mirrors that of David. The decision to paint Charles Xavier in this new(ish) light illustrates the freedom Hawley had when it came to Legion’s depiction of one of the most famous mutants in Marvel’s mutant lineup, but it also seemingly necessitated the decision to step away from Stewart and bring in someone new to play the role. In an interview with The Wrap, Hawley discussed the process of casting Professor X and what direction the show ultimately ending up going. Hawley said:
“We’re going to have to meet [David’s] parents eventually. Nobody fought us on it. There was a question obviously about what age is he? What’s the model? Is he the McAvoy age? Is he Patrick Stewart age? Should we try to get either of those actors to do it? Ultimately, I felt like we established our own alternate reality here on ‘Legion,’ where it’s both 1964 and the future… I think I felt like the younger Xavier was actually more consistent with the timeline. But there’s something about David, if David meets his father and his father is his age, I think there’s something interesting about that.”
With Charles now firmly a part of the Legion storyline, it’s hard to argue with Hawley’s casting decision, as Lloyd’s depiction of the character certainly seems to fit better with the show’s tone and its approach to mutants of all kinds. Though the series is nearing its completion, there’s still plenty of time for father and son to interact, potentially altering the course of the series and the story of David Haller in some fascinating ways.
Legion continues next Monday with ‘Chapter 23’ @10pm on FX.
Source: The Wrap