After screening the first half of the Legion pilot for an audience at Comic Con, executive producer Noah Hawley answered some audience questions about just how connected the show will be to the larger X-Men Universe. The short version: Yes, it will be linked, and Professor X—David Haller’s father in the comics—will be involved one way or another. But that doesn’t mean that James McAvoy and/or Patrick Stewart are suddenly going to come rolling along. Hawley first explained that the series is “true to the origins of this character and just leave it at that.” But asked point blank about whether there will be a “hint” of Haller’s familial connection, Hawley responded: “I don’t think you can really tell the story without that element to it. And so I would say you probably will.” Dan Stevens, who plays David, jumped in, coquettishly. “There’s a wheelchair in the first scene,” he said.
But as for whether that means the movies’ stars will show up, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner said, “probably not, but you never know” while Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb countered, “wouldn’t that be great.” Hawley, meanwhile, likened his approach to what he did with his other FX series, Fargo. “What I enjoyed with Fargo was the idea that it seemed for the first three hours completely unconnected to the movie because it had to stand on its own feet, and I feel that way about this show as well,” he explained. “You’ve got to earn the right to be a part of that universe, and my hope is to create something that is so strong that people at the movie studio follow up and go, ‘We’d be foolish not to connect these two things.’” For what it’s worth, the films’ director Bryan Singer has already said it will “relate to future X-Men movies.”
The tone of what we saw is much more in line with the weird and wonderful world Hawley created for Fargo than any big blockbuster. It’s a convoluted ride that doesn’t get bogged down in its own games, thanks to the underlying sense of humor. From its first moments, it takes the viewer into the head of David with a montage set to “Happy Jack,” which charts the hero’s path from joyful baby to troubled young man plagued by visions and voices. That opening comes to an end when David seemingly attempts suicide, landing him into a mental facility. Of course, viewers knows these are signs of his powers.
Viewers of Fargo know that Hawley loves symbols and allusions and there is much of that to pick apart in this effort. At times it also recalled Pushing Daisies a bit. That’s in part because one of its protagonists—Sydney Barrett (Rachel Keller), whose name is indeed a nod to Pink Floyd—doesn’t like to be touched, leading her boyfriend David to come up with a creative solution for the romantic conundrum that yields. (Keep in mind that when the series was ordered the character was “rumored to be a mix of Rogue and Spyke.”) But the Pushing Daisies comparison also arises because of the idiosyncratic world Legion occupies, styled with vintage flare. “When I started to think about putting it on its feet it sort of wanted to feel like a 1964 Terence Stamp movie for some reason,” Hawley said, later continuing: “I like that if there’s a character who doesn’t know what’s real then somethings feel very retro and some things feel very modern.” For much of the Comic Con audience saw, David is costumed in a comfortable-looking track suit. “No cape, no dumb horns,” he said. “I mean, sorry, I have to tease Tom Hiddleston about those occasionally.” Legion is expected to premiere in early 2017.