His name is Legion, and he's possibly one of the most powerful mutants in the world.
Over in the X-Men comics, Legion is the son of Charles Xavier himself. Suffering from multiple personality disorder, Legion's mind is fragmented; each personality taps into a different one of his nigh-on unlimited powersets. And, with the character so deeply disturbed, personalities range from female prostitutes to brutal murderers. The mutant is infinitely powerful, infinitely complex, and seriously fun to write.
With Marvel and Fox having reached an agreement to allow X-Men TV series, Legion is a surprising star turn. The central role will be taken by Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame), who'll play the troubled mutant in a series not based within the X-Men continuity. In an exclusive interview, Vanity Fair got showrunner Noah Hawley to talk about his take on Legion.
Hawley's take looks creepy and sophisticated.
“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.”
It's an approach that was exploited in Simon Spurrier's tremendous X-Men: Legacy series, which starred Legion. In X-Men: Legacy, aspects of Legion's psyche began to manifest themselves in the real world, and ultimately Legion's battle for self-identity happened both internally (in a sort of 'mindscape') and externally, in the real world.
Avoiding the superhero action tropes, Hawley adds:
"I think my goal with this is to do something whimsical and imaginative and unexpected. Not just because I want to do something different, but because it feels like the right way to tell this story.”
Legion is easily one of the most unexpected superhero concepts to be getting attention, and shows real promise. In the vein of more unusual comic-book-inspired films, such as V for Vendetta or Watchmen, it's an opportunity for the superhero genre to demonstrate its diversity. Given Hawley is clearly intending to exercise all his creativity in this show, I'm getting pretty excited.