Legion Series Producer On “X-Men” Tie-Ins

Last week’s reveal of not one but two “X-Men” related live-action TV series in the works – FOX’s “Hellfire” and FX’s “Legion” – caught many off guard. A new interview by TV Insider with “Fargo” series producer Noah Hawley, who is also an executive producer on “Legion,” has now revealed some more details about that series.

Hawley says plans for the show have been in the works for some time and were held up due to legal issues: “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.”

Hawley confirms that “X-Men” film series producers Bryan Singer and Lauren Shuler Donner were the ones who pitched the idea for the series to Fox Networks Group chairman/CEO Peter Rice. According to Hawley, it sounds like he essentially has a LOT of free room to explore:

“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 thats 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.

What I really like about him [Legion] is, here’s a character who is schizophrenic on some level, a character struggling with mental illness. Is he crazy or does he have these powers? The answer is, kind of both. I’m a big believer that the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story. And so I 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.”

The “Legion” comics follow David Haller, a character who is the son of Professor X. This has lead to the obvious question of how will these shows fit in with the larger “X-Men” universe. He confirms it will be a part of that universe, but don’t expect much in the way of cameos:

“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.”

Asked about the possibility of a Hellfire crossover, he says:

“We certainly haven’t had any conversations about crossovers. I don’t know anything about it, but I think that one is more linearly taken out of the world of the movies. Ours has its own world to it.”

Hawley says the aim is to kick off production on “Legion” by late January/early February and “hopefully we’ve made something great and we can shoot the rest of the year and go from there.”