ByTom Bacon, writer at Creators.co
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

Much to the delight of #Marvel fans everywhere, 2017 will see Marvel and Fox work together on two #XMen TV shows. Perhaps the most unusual of these is Legion, an 8-episode series that will star Dan Stevens as a powerful mutant with multiple personality disorder. With Noah Hawley (of Fargo fame) as showrunner, it promises to be perhaps one of the most promising and inventive superhero shows to date!

Legion News & Rumors

Dan Stevens stars as Legion. Image: FX
Dan Stevens stars as Legion. Image: FX

Updated 11/25/2016

Fans and critics got the chance to see the first 30 minutes of Episode 1 at NYCC 2016! The reaction was universally positive; the show was praised as "visually stunning", "a surreal experience like nothing else on TV", and "more like magical realism than traditional superheroics."

Patrick Stewart seems set to return! Image: 20th Century Fox
Patrick Stewart seems set to return! Image: 20th Century Fox

Fans were excited to hear strong rumors that Patrick Stewart himself would make a cameo in Legion. With Stewart filming an aged Charles Xavier in #Logan, it seems an opportune time to get him to play a brief scene.

Let's talk Legion! Image: FX
Let's talk Legion! Image: FX

In an interview with IGN, showrunner Noah Hawley explained that he wouldn't be following any plot from the comics — instead, he'd mining the concepts, the theme and the style from the comics, and then telling his own story. He added:

"If you have a character who for his whole life has believed that he’s schizophrenic, and is now starting to think that he may have these powers, but he doesn’t know and he doesn’t know what’s real – well, that’s the experience the audience should have. To be put into his world is to enter something that’s by definition surreal, because he’s hearing things, he’s seeing things… Are these things real or not real? What can you trust that you’re seeing?"

Legion Release Date

Although we know to expect Legion in February 2017, Fox is yet to confirm a definite release date. Check back here for updates!

Legion Trailers

The first trailer immediately sets the strange and off-beat tone of Legion. In the comics, David Haller traditionally has multiple personality disorder, with each character accessing a different powerset. The trailer shows something different, though; it hints at David actually swapping places with a girl he touched, perhaps absorbing her into his broken psyche. This is actually fairly similar to a concept Marvel toyed with in the pages of New Mutants back in the mid-2000s.

The second trailer upped the action level, to spectacular effect!

Check out these outstanding promos:

Legion Characters

David's powers flare out of control! Image: FX
David's powers flare out of control! Image: FX

Played by Dan Stevens, the star of the character — David Haller — is (loosely?) based on a prominent X-Men character. In the comics, David Haller is the son of none other than Charles Xavier. He's always desperately struggled to retain any semblance of sanity, and is powerful enough to have twice warped the very fabric of reality (launching the "Age of Apocalypse" and "Age of X" epics, respectively). In recent years, the character was given a starring role in Simon Spurrier's tremendous X-Men: Legacy series, which tonally seems similar to Legion.

The story seems to only be loosely inspired by the comics, and we frankly have no way of even knowing which original characters are actually real people! Showrunner Neil Hawley (Fargo) explained:

“I always feel like the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story. If the story, as in this case, is about a guy who is either schizophrenic or he has these abilities, i.e., he doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not real, then the audience should have the same experience.”

Legion Cast

This is going to be surreal! Image: FX
This is going to be surreal! Image: FX

Dan Stevens — most well-known for his role in Downtown Abbey — is taking on the title role. 2017's going to be a good year for Stevens, who's also starring alongside Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast.

Given that the story seems to be very original, it's actually very difficult to predict which roles will be important to the plot. We do, however, have some details on the cast:

  • Tatyana Forrest — of The Flash and Frequency fame — will playDavid's mother (Gabrielle Haller in the comics).
  • Katie Aselton (The League) is playing an original character named Amy Haller, described as David's "practical" older sister who's struggling to stay positive.
  • Jeremie Harris is confirmed to be playing a character named Ptonomy Wallace (likely to be one of David's personalities). Ptonomy is described as being “an outsider by nature, stand-offish and sardonic who is a former child prodigy who feels trapped in the past.”
  • Aubrey Plaza will play an alcoholic, drug-abusing friend of David's known as Lenny
  • Jean Smart plays the nurturing therapist Melanie
  • Rachel Keller plays the street-smart Syd.

Legion Theories

Legion's most famous cover! Image: Marvel Comics
Legion's most famous cover! Image: Marvel Comics

Fan reaction to Legion trailers is very positive, and at NYCC fans — and critics — were given a teaser. The series sounds to be among the most creative comic-book-inspired shows ever made. As Vox commented:

"Each scene is visually thrilling.Some are chilly, evoking the icy, metallic feeling of a clinic. Others play with the composition of the frame, carefully considering the way the characters inhabit (or are absent from) the space around them and the how close they are to one another. Sometimes, the show experiments with David’s point of view; through his eyes, some characters appear hazy or out of focus, occasionally blurring into the sunlight behind them."

A haunting moment in the comics. Image: Marvel Comics
A haunting moment in the comics. Image: Marvel Comics

This unique style makes it pretty hard to predict the direction the show's going to take — what is reality in Legion? The core idea seems heavily inspired by Simon Spurrier's X-Men: Legacy series, which dived deep into the various consciousnesses living inside David Haller's mind. That said, the core concept of X-Men: Legacy — which saw David take on a sort of 'Messiah complex' for the mutant race — doesn't sound to fit with the series, so I suspect the inspiration is more tonal than anything else.

Excitingly, it seems that Legion is intended to slot into the wider Fox X-Men universe, leaving fans speculating about how it will fit into the broader Fox timeline.

Where to watch Legion online

The series will premiere on the FX networks, and will be available online through Amazon Prime.

Poll

Are you looking forward to watching 'Legion'?

(Poll Image: FX)