WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week’s episode of Legion, “Chapter 10,” which premiered Tuesday on FX.
Fans scoured the first season of FX's Legion for connections to the larger X-Men universe before find them with the confirmation that the Shadow King is the parasitic entity that's long tortured David Haller, who is indeed the son of Charles Xavier. But now, in the second season, the drama dropped another reference so casually that we almost missed it.
It arrives in this week's episode, "Chapter 10," as Carry Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) dissembles the mysterious orb that whisked away David (Dan Stevens) in the Season 1 cliffhanger. "It's advanced," he tells an unseen Kerry Loudermilk, who shares his body, "but not Shi'ar. That was my first guess as well. No, I can't shake the feeling that I somehow constructed it, this orb. Believe me, I know how that sounds, yes."
We know he's likely on the right track, of course, as the orb comes from the future, and he probably did construct it. But that's not the point; it's that he made reference to the Shi'ar, the alien race that looms large in X-Men comic book lore.
Introduced in 1976 in X-Men #97, by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, the Shi'ar are right up there with the Kree and Skrulls when it comes to alien races in the Marvel Universe. They're cold-blooded avian humanoids with a vast empire, and advanced technology that was incorporated into the X-Men's Danger Room training facility and Blackbird aircraft.
Shi'ar Empress Lilandra is a longtime ally of the X-Men, and a one-time wife of Charles Xavier. The Shi'ar played a key role in the seminal "Dark Phoenix Saga," and even placed Reed Richards on trial for genocide, for reviving the planet-destroying Galactus.
It's doubtful the mention of the Shi'ar on Legion is anything more than a fun throwaway, but it's certainly interesting that Carrie (and Kerry) immediately recognize potential similarities between the futuristic technology of the orb and that used by an alien species. That would suggest that they're not only familiar with the Shi'ar, but also well-acquainted its advanced tech. What's more, they're so nonchalant about it.
We probably shouldn't hold our breaths for the Shi'ar Empire to pay a visit -- Division 3 has its hands quite full with the Shadow King -- but we may want to keep an eye out for some of its tech.
Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX, Legion stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jeremie Harris, Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Hamish Linklater and Navid Negahban.