Today, Marvel surprised fans across the world by unveiling the first trailer for the new Fox/Marvel TV series, Legion. Although there's long been hostility between Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment — who run Marvel's TV shows — and Fox Television seem to be getting along a lot better. The trailer's surprising, and very different to anything we've seen before. Take a look!
Legion — which stands apart from the mainstream X-Men continuity — clearly exists in a world where mutants are common knowledge. Dan Stevens plays David Haller, a powerful mutant who seems to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Or is he? As showrunner Noah Hawley put it:
“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.”
In the comics, David Haller (known as Legion) is actually the son of Professor X, and is easily one of the most powerful mutants of all time. There are essentially no limits to his powers, but usually different personalities have been portrayed as having access to different powersets. His abilities have ranged from the power to restructure reality at a whim, to pyrokinesis, to an acid spit! Meanwhile, personalities have included prostitutes, schoolteachers, cowboys, and serial killers, each with access to a different powerset. At one point, some of these personalities even managed to gain physical reality, before Legion absorbed them back into himself.
This trailer seems to call that kind of view into question, though. Sure, you have different personalities, and a wide range of powers (I spotted telekinesis, time manipulation, and possibly pyrokinesis in the trailer), but the trailer shows Legion talking about somehow switching lives with a prostitute, who's since disappeared. That sounds very different.
It may be more true to the comics than you'd think, though. The third series of New Mutants kicked off with an arc that reintroduced Legion, but in a subtly different form. As well as suffering from multiple personality disorder, he was shown to be able to absorb other minds into his own (making his psychological issues even worse, of course!). Is it possible that the Legion TV series has adapted this idea, and that here Legion's power is to absorb other mutants into himself, gaining both their powers and their psyche? If so, then little wonder he seems to be under investigation — mutants would be constantly going missing whenever they crossed paths with him..
The trailer for Legion shows a superhero show unlike any I've seen before, one more interested in psychological drama than in superheroic action. Whatever the truth about David Haller's powerset, he's clearly a very disturbed character, and the answers to his questions will be deeply intriguing...