Legion marks the FX network’s first foray into the Marvel universe as it tackles the complicated story of David Haller (Dan Stevens), a mutant with multiple personalities (and powers) who would fit better in one of his father Charles Xavier’s classrooms than a psychiatric ward. Haller’s fractured mind, and various superpowers possibly inhabiting them, has led him to be diagnosed as schizophrenic and spend much of his life having his head examined by mystified doctors.
Life is extra challenging for mutants in the X-Men universe in general, but several mutant identities within one mind present an entirely different set of challenges. Haller, a.k.a. the title character Legion, may be the most powerful mutant ever encountered in his world - or it may be all in his head. Those psychological - and, by extension, physical - struggles will be at the center of Haller’s story as he attempts to understand and harness the uncanny mutant abilities hidden inside his multiple personalities.
Much of the marketing push for Legion ahead of its February 2017 premiere has painted a picture of a paranoid, complex man who is struggling not only to understand his immense powers but control them once they are fully manifested. One clip, titled 'Begin,' hints at some kind of twisted experiment and also the start of Haller understanding how real his powers are.
A new clip entitled ‘Powerful’ shows Haller appearing unhinged as he begins to unleash his powers on the world - and others start to take notice:
A clip called ‘Normal’ depicts a scene with Haller and a therapist, who wonders if he’s truly his regular self:
‘MRI’ gives a glimpse of Haller’s experiences being examined and evaluated, and how they may appear to him in various, mysterious ways:
The biggest mystery of all lies in the clip titled ‘Feel,’ which hearkens back to a clip from the original previews for the show. Haller feels “better,” but it’s not totally clear why:
The five new clips continue the theme of identity and the nature of reality that will permeate the show and its titular hero. It’s clear that Legion will feature plenty of action and eye-popping visuals, but it will also feature the story of a man suffering through a tortuous existence wracked by multiple personalities and constant questions of whether the powers he exhibits within them are real.
Legion’s success is hinging on Stevens’ lead performance, which appears to be as demanding as any Marvel character ever committed to the screen. He has a very complicated mind to untangle in Haller’s and will need to deliver a convincing performance to make Legion not only compelling but coherent. The clips and previews shown so far haven’t proven that Stevens is capable of doing that, but they have certainly indicated that the show is taking the right approach with its character development.
Legion premieres Wednesday February 8, 2017 @10pm on FX.