Legion is Marvel’s latest television venture, and while the series does take place within the same universe as the X-Men franchise, Legion does something that sets itself apart from most other Marvel properties. While superheroes tend to be set above the rest of humanity in both ethics and deeds, Noah Hawley’s Legion presents a more down-to-earth hero with Dan Stevens playing the all-too-human David Haller. As Legion is set to air its premiere episode, Hawley opens up about creating a “real life” superhero for a modern age.
What Sets Legion Apart From The Rest
Admittedly, Legion isn’t the first series to tell the story of a superhero who succumbs to human failings (Jessica Jones comes to mind), but, as Time reports, rarely have we seen an individual mistake his superhero status for mental illness. Usually, it’s the other way around. In Legion, creator Noah Hawley sees an opportunity to bring greater attention to the world of mental illness, while also entertaining with a Marvel superhero tale.
As Legion opens, David Haller has spent years battling mental illness, trying to overcome episodes of hallucinations, nightmares, and blackouts, but he soon comes to realize that all of those symptoms may have been real occurrences. Just as is the case in Marvel’s line of Legion comic books, Haller is the son of Professor X and is an antihero who mistakes his gifted powers for symptoms of mental illness. In fact, those gifts tend to support the idea that Haller does suffer from dissociative identity disorder, as he develops a different personality for each superpower he possesses.
David isn’t even in control of those personalities. He may be a hero or he may be a villain. It all depends who the dominant personality is at a given time.
Legion‘s Journey Will Be As Magical For Audiences As It Is For David Haller
Unlike traditional superhero sagas that place an emphasis on each hero’s crime-fighting abilities, such as flying and X-ray vision, Hawley tells Vulture that Legion seeks to explore more internal conflicts and abilities. He says the new Marvel series will explore the different personalities inside David’s head and how he copes with finding out that many of his delusions are real. The Legion mastermind adds that David Haller won’t be the only one struggling to understand what’s real.
As Legion sets out, viewers will have to deal with a little confusion of their own, as they attempt to make sense of what’s really going on. For instance, there’s a scene in which an assortment of kitchen utensils are seen swirling around David’s head. The audience, much like Haller himself, will have to make a judgement call, trying to determine whether the flying utensils are the result of a superpower or merely another psychotic episode.
“My hope is that when you watch the first hour, though it may not be always clear what every image means, and what the information is that you’re supposed to be gathering from every moment, those answers are coming. And so by the end of the first season, it’s going to be very clear what’s going on and what’s what,” Legion‘s showrunner says. “The show doesn’t exist to manipulate and deceive you. It exists to put you in a character’s state of mind and then reveal reality as he discovers it.”
Legion and X-Men exist in the same universe, yet they operate independently, says Noah Hawley. While it’s true that both series are Marvel properties and do exist within the same universe, Noah says he’s taken great care in keeping the X-Men franchise separate from Legion. Marvel fans shouldn’t expect any major crossovers, at least not in the near future.
Legion premieres on Wednesday, February 8, on FX.
[Featured Image by FX]