FX’s ‘Legion’ Is the Kind of Show “Marvel Has Never Done Before”
The Noah Hawley ‘X-Men’ drama is not going to be the kind of superhero show like DC Comics’ CW universe or even Marvel’s ‘Defenders’ franchise on Netflix, producers say.
Producers including showrunner Noah Hawley and Marvel head of television Jeph Loeb told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour that the FX drama starring Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller and Aubrey Plaza will not be similar to the kind of comic book TV universes seen on the small screen.
Asked specifically if Marvel’s Legion is setting up a universe similar to what The CW has done with DC Comics’ The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl andLegends of Tomorrow as well as Marvel’s own Netflix roster of heroes in The Defenders — Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Luke Cage — Marvel head of television Jeph Loeb said that wasn’t the case.
The underlying show, no matter the genre, has to be a compelling character story,” he said, singling out the relationship between David and co-star Rachel Keller’s character (whose “power” is the inability to touch people).
“Finding David’s storyline and introducing Rachel’s storyline and this idea of this epic love story and then putting the genre back into it and saying, ‘If we have a character who isn’t sure what’s real, could we make a show that’s subjective?”
‘Legion’ Producer: FX Characters Won’t Cross Over With Film Franchise
producers of FX’s “Legion” are not looking at the new series as a building block in an X-Men television franchise.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour Thursday in Pasadena, the show’s producers and stars were asked whether the series would be part of a broader universe, as the CW’s “Arrow,” which ties in with “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “Legends of Tomorrow,” is.
Fellow executive producer Jeph Loeb, head of television for Marvel Entertainment, characterized the series as an evolution of the superhero genre.
The character originated in Marvel’s “X-Men” comic-book series.
“I think that the underlying show, whatever the genre is, has to be a compelling character story.
Legion aims to be a Marvel show completely different from the pack
Executive producers Noah Hawley, Laura Shuler Donner and Jeph Loeb appeared with the cast of Legion at the Television Critics Association to talk about how FX’s first Marvel co-production is going to be very different kind of superhero drama.
He’s not wrong, as Hawley’s loose adaptation of the Marvel mutant character, David Haller (Dan Stevens), is a highly-stylized drama focusing on Haller’s life-long diagnosis as a schizophrenic who comes to discover in the pilot that he might not be mentally ill but actually have repressed telekinetic powers.
The underlying show has to be about character and story, so that’s what attracted me to it, finding the David storyline.
As to the ensemble cast led by Stevens and Fargo vets Rachel Keller and Jean Smart, Hawley said, “When I wrote the second episode, it was very important that in the end of the first episode David goes from where he was to somewhere new, so the world needed to be fully realized and filled out.
Emmy-award winning actress Jean Smart said she was wooed by Hawley after working together on the second season of Fargo to play the Professor X-esque character of Melanie Bird.
Superheroes Have Already Conquered Film—TV Is Next
Although this approach doesn’t necessarily guarantee huge box office returns or critical acclaim—see again, Batman v Superman—it’s successful enough that it sometimes feels like the only major projects coming out of Comic-Con involve Marvel or DC.
Then on Saturday, DC and Marvel traded headlines, from the Legion of Doom’s upcoming appearance on The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow to Ghost Rider’s debut on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And lest we forget other SDCC highlights: Fox’s Gotham, perhaps the most bizarre show on broadcast TV, Lucifer, and FX’s X-Men-adjacent Noah Hawley project, Legion, which delivered the best trailer of the weekend.
Although Marvel and DC keep their film and TV universes mostly separate on-screen—before you grumble: yes, Marvel purports to offer one big universe, but let me know the next time the films acknowledge something important from TV—the companies are increasingly treating the respective mediums equally.
Likewise, by the time Justice League hits theatres in 2017, it will have taken Marvel and DC about four years to bring their respective superhero teams together.
But now, Marvel and DC simply use the same strategy—with Comic-Con as the centerpiece—to get fans amped for the new fall TV season, or the next great Netflix binge weekend.