As we mentioned earlier this week, FX is quickly becoming one of the premiere destinations for top-notch original television programming, and Fargo series creator Noah Hawley is preparing to lead the cable network into superhero territory with Legion. Based on a character from the X-Men comic universe – but not connected to the film series – Legion follows the story of David Haller, a diagnosed schizophrenic “confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.”
Described by executive producer Simon Kinberg as “the Breaking Bad of superhero stories,” and with Hawley scripting the pilot and serving as showrunner, Legion could be poised to become a game-changer in the realm of comic book adaptations. The idea of a protagonist with a disassociative identity disorder that allows each of his personas to control a particular superpower is absolutely fascinating, and Hawley is looking forward to experimenting with genre and storytelling conventions, telling Vanity Fair:
“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…
[This will have a] surreal or dreamlike quality where it’s not just about running and kicking. There’s, whatever, 9,000 superhero stories right now. They’ve got all the running and kicking covered. 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.”
Hawley cites Twin Peaks creator David Lynch as a major influence on his approach to Legion, and even though he has a deal in place with 20th Century Fox, he believes that the flexibility of television is the perfect place for this story to unfold:
“We’ve got the time, right? It’s not a two-hour movie. It’s an 8- or a 10- or a 12-hour movie. Let’s tell the parts of the story that you couldn’t tell on the big screen. What is it really like to hear voices or to be able to move things with your mind or to think you can move things with your mind, but you’ve been hospitalized and they’ve been talking you out of the idea that you can actually move things with your mind. If there’s one thing that television doesn’t really do, and has never really done, is to tell a surreal story.”
Despite Hawley’s enthusiasm, it’s worth mentioning that FX has not given Legion a full series order just yet. Hawley recently finished shooting the pilot and is currently in post-production, with an official decision to come after network executives have a chance to review the completed work. I’d be surprised if the deal doesn’t come together, but it may prove difficult to meet the 2016 premiere date that was initially proposed.
At any rate, we’ll keep you posted on Legion as more news becomes available.
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