One of the high points of the X-Men movies and television franchise under 20th Century Fox was FX's Legion. The series focused on the obscure X-Men character David Haller, a powerful telepath struggling with mental illness. Creator Noah Hawley used Haller as an entryway to bring his distinct sensibilities to the world of mutants. Jeff Russo, who also works with Hawley on Fargo, provided all three seasons of the series with a standout score. But that era has come to a close as the rights to the X-Men now rest with Disney after the corporation purchased Fox. ComicBook.com spoke to Russo over the phone and asked for his thoughts on the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Playing with the musical version of Legion was and will, I think, always be one of the greatest times I've had making the score in my entire life," Russo says. "I mean, Noah allowed me to play in a sandbox that I'd never played in before for visual media and there were no rules. We basically unbridled ourselves from any of the rules. And I think that if we were to be asked to do an X-Men movie of any sort, I would hope that that filmmaker would want it to be unbridled in that way, because I think that, certainly with the character David Haller, it seemed reasonable to do that. I very much enjoyed that, so I'd love to do that again and I think that it could work in a much broader sense. But who knows? We're all just trying to make art."
We also spoke to Russo about how he handles writing the score for shows like Legion and The Umbrella Academy, where music is often part of the narrative taking place. "When Noah, who's the creator of Legion, asks me to think about what I would do in a dance battle, that sort of comes outside of the score, so I don't know that one necessarily informs the other. I think that those types of moments are very much encapsulated in their own world from a musical perspective and keeping the score its own thing is usually how I'm able to make that work in my head."
It may be a while before we see the X-Men come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but, in the meantime, all 27 episodes of Legion are now streaming on Hulu.