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Legion: Bringing “Personalities” to the X-Men Universe

Without a doubt you’ve watched one of the stellar Marvel television series that have debuted in the last few years. The Netflix properties such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage as well as Agents of Shield have set a high standard for quality superhero programming. However all of these shows are connected to the Disney side of Marvel and have literally not had the rights to dive into the X-Men universe. Well that hasn’t changed (much to the dismay of nerds everywhere), but luckily X-Men is owned by Fox and they just happen to have a network where they can finally explore this up and down cinematic world on the smalll screen. FX and Marvel Television is set to bring the bizarre tale of Legion to the masses.

The hardcore comic book fans are probably familiar with the story of David Haller (who is played by Dan Stevens in the series) but for many of you, kind of like with Deadpool, you will be learning about the character for the first time while watching the series. I’ll be honest, I had to do some research on the character as well, because after seeing the previews for the show it was hard not to be intrigued.

I’ll go ahead and get the big reveal out of the way about David Haller…he is the son of Charles Xavier! Let that sink in. Professor X has a kiddo. So most likely the James McAvoy (or a virile Patrick Stewart) version of Xavier zippedy doo-daa’d with a sweet young lady and produced young David. To be more precise, Charles had an affair with a psychiatric patient named Gabrielle Haller at an Israeli facility where he and Magneto (remember, they are frienemies) were working with Holocaust survivors. However Xavier didn’t find out about David until many years after his birth.

Now big shock, David is a mutant! I know! Amazing right!? But the most compelling thing about David, and where he gets the moniker of Legion from, is that he suffers from schizophrenia and multiple personalities and then a stresser causes his powers to manifest which in turn bleeds into his mental disorders. *Sidenote brought to you by Joey’s ADD – how bout the irony that James McAvoy, who plays the young Professor X also stars as a man with multiple personalities in the new movie Split which just hit #1 at the box office over the weekend. Boom. Go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor.*

One thing that FX has excelled at in its lifespan is creating shows that are unique and thought provoking. From Nip/Tuck to Rescue Me to Wilfred and most recently with Fargo (which was developed by Legion show runner Noah Hawley), FX has never been afraid to delve into the realm of psychology, mental issues and the down right weird. Now they are giving us just what we need…a deeper, darker toned superhero show, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. The most fascinating part of the show to me is to see how they meld the split personalities into the mutant abilities that Haller discovers. They have an opportunity to create an experience with Legion that will showcase the forming of a villain from his perspective. If Legion can accomplish what Daredevil has with Wilson Fisk and Jessica Jones did with Kilgrave, then we are all in for a treat.

I hope for all of our sakes that Legion is less like 2016’s underwhelming Apocalypse film and more like the seemingly grittier Logan that comes out soon in theaters. If it manages to grasp this notion of being less “comic book” like and more like a Breaking Bad or The Americans, then Marvel will have another hit on its hands.

Legion premieres February 8 on FX.

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