Noah Hawley Discusses FX’s ‘Legion’ Pilot; Comments On Where It Stands In ‘X-Men’ Universe

The internet went crazy with buzz this week when it was revealed that Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox would be combining forces to bring two television series’ set in the X-Men universe to the small screen. Included in this announcement was the reveal that FX had ordered a pilot for Legion, which would be based on the schizophrenic son of X-Men leader Charles Xavier, which would be developed and written by Noah Hawley (Fargo). While speaking with TV Insider, the showrunner commented on how he came about working on the series.

It’s been in the works for a long time. Some of that was Marvel dealmaking process. Fox has rights to make movies and sort of tacitly the rights to do TV, but they’ve never done it before so they had to work out all the details.

The reality is it was literally between Season 1 and Season 2 of Fargo that we came up with it. It’s been this whole time of trying to work all of that other stuff out. It came out of FX and [Fox Networks Group chairman/CEO] Peter Rice, who had greenlit the first X-Men movie [when he was a film executive at 20th Century Fox] with [producers] Lauren Shuler Donner and Bryan Singer.

Hawley then went on to reveal that it was Lauren Shuller Donner & Bryan Singer that went about looking into expanding the X-Universe to television before commenting on what exactly interested him about this particular project.

I’m not a huge comic person. I read a lot of X-Men growing up, but it’s not something that was my life-long dream to do something like this. But what’s nice is I just started the process, not even based on any of the characters from the universe, but I just started thinking about that world and if there is an interesting show to play around that idea of mutant-outsider identity. The thing about the X-Men franchise that’s so unique is it’s a movie that starts in a concentration camp. And so you know that it’s actually concerned with real-world morality and evil. It also has these diametrically opposed points of view that are both right.

Magneto feels that he knows humans will try to wipe them out because they’re a fear-based animal, and so they have to be wiped out first. Which, given his past, is a totally legitimate feeling. And you’ve got Professor X saying, no, we have to teach them, and get them to the place where they can accept us, which is also a totally valid point of view.

I like those two morally opposite ideas could exist in this world. I basically came up with a TV show that I wanted to tell and then found the right character for it. It was more about trying to find my way to what the show was. In some ways reverse engineering it. We found the perfect character. But it has to be a great show, it can’t just be a great genre show.

The reason Hawley decided to go after Legion was due to the character’s internal struggle and that he is “a big believer that the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story” and that he “liked the idea that if you have a character that doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not real, that is also the audience’s journey”. So, where does this fit into the larger X-Men cinematic universe?

It’s conceived more as a standalone. I don’t want to say too much more about it on that level, but certainly it’s not constructed as a back-door anything. It’s more just that there’s a story that I want to explore that has to fit into that larger universe, which is exciting.

In regards to the lack of mention of the X-Men name in the press release for the series, Hawley said that “that the show needs to stand on its own two feet. The people who care that it’s an X-Men title are going to know it’s an X-Men title”. It sounds like this series will be a part of the X-Men universe but will stand on it’s own, much like what Marvel is doing with their own television projects. Are you looking forward to Legion? Let us know what you think about this one in the comments section below. 

Source: TV Insider

Shawn Madden

Shawn Madden

I write stuff. Sometimes.