Noah Hawley, the creator of FX’s hit television anthology Frago, is wrapping his mind around one of the most unique and challenging mutants of the Marvel Universe. Hawley is writing and executive producing the pilot for FX’s Legion. The series follows David Haller (Dan Stevens), the son of Professor X. David is a powerful mutant with multiple personalities, each of which controls a different aspect of his mutant gifts. Some would assume that trying to bring such a complex and difficult character to television instead of movie theaters would be an especially difficult task, but Hawley sees it as an opportunity.
“Film and TV have traded places where, you know, where you are now in a case-of-the-week movie world,” Hawley tells Vanity Fair. “One week, the Avengers fight this guy; the next week, they fight that guy. You can’t take the story too far in any one direction.”
Hawley plans to avoid that overly-episodic structure by taking a form as function approach to the story, which sounds similar to how Si Spurrier handled the character in X-Men: Legacy.
“I always feel like the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story,” he says. “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.” Hawley adds that he is looking to create a “more existential exploration” and “surreal or dreamlike quality where it’s not just about running and kicking.”
“There’s, whatever, 9,000 superhero stories right now,” Hawley says. “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.”
Legion is a co-production of Marvel Television and FX Productions. Filming on the pilot began in March. If picked up by FX, the first season of Legion will run for 10 episodes. The show takes place in a parallel universe to that of the core X-Men movie franchise, allowing Legion to reference the franchise as much or as little as it needs without having to worry about maintaining continuity.