As X-Men: Apocalypse wraps up the latest chapter of the X-film saga, 20th Century Fox looks to transition their corner of the Marvel world onto the small screen. Recently, the studio set their sights on creating two new X-universe offshoots, Hellfire and Legion. The latter show, drafted by Fargo creator Noah Hawley, explores Professor X’s son for FX.
Hawley’s take on Legion is a less-traditional, nuanced concept for the X-Men world, one more psychological than straightforward superhero-based. Apparently, his vision, as well as his success with Fargo, translated well to the network heads.
Today, Marvel announced that FX has picked up the first season of Legion. Home to edgier fare like American Horror Story and The Americans, The X-related show's emphasis on Haller’s schizophrenic personality and dreamlike nature should match up well with the network. Legion will feature Dan Stevens in the title role, as well as Rachel Keller (Fargo), Jean Smart (Fargo), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), and Amber Midthunder (Longmire), among others. Take a look at the first image from Legion below:
Clearly, FX executives hold Hawley’s work in high regard, as Co-President of Original Programing Nick Grad expressed his confidence in the Fargo creator and the X-spinoff:
“We’ve come to expect excellence from Noah Hawley and with 'Legion' he has delivered another major creative achievement. Just as he did in reimagining 'Fargo,' he is bringing an entirely new aesthetic and sensibility to the enormously popular and richly represented X-Men world. The pilot episode is stunning, driven by incredible performances from Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart, Rachel Keller and the rest of the cast. We join our producing partners at Marvel in congratulating the creative team for what they’ve accomplished and are as excited as the fans for the premiere of 'Legion’s' first season.”
FX picked up an eight-episode run of the show, which will be produced by Hawley, as well as Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Jim Chory (Jessica Jones), and John Cameron (Fargo). Marvel Television, now branching out from their spate of Netflix and ABC programming, also expressed their excitement over the deal. Head of Marvel TV, Jeph Loeb, who will also be an executive producer on Legion, announced:
“Marvel Television is thrilled to not only have our first partnership with FX go to series, but working with the enormously talented Noah Hawley makes it even better. From the first time we heard Noah's vision to his exceptional script and cast through the extraordinary filming of the pilot, we knew the series would be incredible.”
While loosely related to the X-Men realm, FX President John Landgraf announced that Legion wouldn’t directly connect to the overall film universe. Instead, the show will sift through the murky world of David Haller, the illegitimate son of Charles Xavier and former patient Gabrielle Haller. Although it’s uncertain how closely the show will mirror Haller's origin story, the first season will undoubtedly be ambiguous and surreal as he discovers the degree to which his ‘powers’ are just in his head. The new series, as well as the villain-based Hellfire (if picked up), will mine aspects of the mutant world left fairly unexplored in the film world.
However, the presence of Kinberg and Singer as executive producers does suggest a possible X-Men connectivity. Even if the film and television worlds remain separate (as with DC and Marvel, in general), the show would have to abandon Haller’s origin story entirely to skirt around the character's connection to Xavier and other mutants such as Mystique and the New Mutants. However, the show may choose to ignore many threads from its source comics, despite Hawley’s initial speculation, instead focusing on Haller and his unique blend of madness/emerging power and those around him.
Legion is set to air on FX in early 2017.