Director: Noah Hawley
Starring: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Aubrey Plaza
Original Character Creators: Writer Chris Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz
SDCC has been pumping out some great material this year and while DC has been dominating the movie scene, Marvel has been revealing trailer after trailer for the Marvel Television range. The latest of which is Legion (not at all related to the terrible 2010 movie of the same name), a brand new show based upon David Haller, the son of X-Men’s Charles Xavier. Of course, being the good professor’s son, you’d expect Haller to be a mutant of some considerable power; and you’d be right. Although, not everything is as it seems. Haller isn’t your average hero, serving instead as a multi-powered anti-hero in the X-Men verse. Furthermore, comic book writer Chris Claremont created a delicate, multi-layered characterisation in Legion, who suffers from schizophrenia and dissociative personality disorder. With each personality Haller expresses, there is a different power, leading to an unpredictable, fascinating character that, done right, is both endearing and terrifying all at once.
The first trailer, featuring Dan Stevens as Haller (who you’ll most likely recognise from Downton Abbey or, if you were lucky enough to see it, Adam Winguard’s The Guest). Right off the bat, Stevens is likable, pulling off a mix of Marvel-patented humour and charm while also embodying the struggle of mental illness. One is reminded of Hannibal’s Will Graham, if he’d been given superpowers (on second thoughts, that might not have been such a good idea). After a strange encounter with a fellow patient at the psychiatric hospital, Haller begins to question whether his hallucinations are, in fact, real. The dark existentialism is beautifully represented in the footage and if Deadpool was the zany end of the X-Men spectrum, Legion is shaping up to be the other, darker, end. The premise looks well-handled and, if the show really does pull it off well, FX has a show here that will rival the great age of Netflix Marvel shows.
Headed by Fargo creator Noah Hawley, one already feels that the show is in safe hands. Rachel Keller has been brought in from Fargo as the female lead, co-starring alongside fellow Fargo actress Jean Smart and TV comedy staple Aubrey Plaza. With an exciting cast, a stellar first look and a brilliant creative team, this show is already firmly on my watch list.