Even in an age of countless super hero television series, none have felt as singular and unique as Legion. The FX series centers around David Haller, a super-powered schizophrenic with telepathic powers living in a world where mutants are targeted and forced into hiding. The events of the previous season have left David separated from his former friends and allies, on the verge of unleashing his powers on the world.
Executive producers Noah Hawley, John Cameron, Lauren Shuler Donner and Jeph Loeb, along with cast members Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Navid Negahban, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder and Lauren Tsai, held a Q&A at WonderCon in Anaheim, giving fans their first real look at the upcoming third and final season of the show.
Music plays an important role in the series, and especially in the clip of season 3 that was shown at the panel. Hawley explained that for him, "so much of your experience actually happens through your ears. So much of this show is about setting your state of mind to understand the story. All the music in this clip pays off in the episode. There's something retro and futuristic about it, I love it... Jeff Russo [the composer] and I, were trying to include as much as we could. There's a voice in my head saying 'how much can you get away with', and no one has told me no yet."
"I wasn't expecting to get asked to play a banjo," Stevens brought up. "I remember getting the script and forty-five minutes later, I was playing Rainbow Connection. Bollywood dancing, the dance fight at the start of season 2..." Negahban added that "I wasn't expecting any of this."
When asked what convinced them to take on the show, Keller said "It was Noah. We worked on Fargo together, and it was his excitement for the writing and the world." Negahban revealed that what drew him to it was "it's so fascinating to see how [Noah] sees the world and the characters, I really wanted to work with him." Tsai revealed that "my agency asked me to send in an audition for this show and Noah responded well to it, and then I watched the first two seasons. Two episodes in, I knew I had to be involved."
Plaza explained that "I met Noah for coffee, and I thought I was meeting for a different part. And Noah said 'what about Lenny?' who was written as a middle age man... And Noah revealed that 'and then you'll die, and your body will be taken over by a psychic villain', and then I was like 'okay, I'll do that.' "I knew it was Marvel and I knew it was Noah," Midthunder explained, "and it wasn't a question of if I wanted to do it, it was if I could do it." "It came in as the untitled Noah Hawley project, and I was like 'FX is dope'" Harris explained. "And then I watched Fargo and thought it was dope."
"Speaking on behalf of Marvel," Loeb began, "every page of this show is a surprise. And we pride ourselves on making surprises. But Noah, as a filmmaker, is in a different league... what's sort of remarkable is when you sit and talk with Noah... he'll explain to you exactly what you're going to see. It's like someone trying to explain what a duck looks like if you've never seen a duck. And then you finally see it, and you go 'oh, that's it.' This is kind of the end of this journey, and I'm hoping we can convince Noah to come back and do something else with Marvel."
Discussing how David shifts and changes over the course of the series, Stevens said "We're all sort of sharing in this wonderful experience, and I think that's what this has been. An experience. It's all about feeling the full experience. It's not about focusing on one narrative or version of David, it's about all of them fighting and living together." When asked about what it was like to switch characters, Stevens said "After a certain time on a show, you always want to switch parts... and we got to do that early." "I think a lot of it is about what David means to Lenny," Plaza followed up. "For all the characters I've played, it's about how they connect to David."
Tasi added. "This is the first time I've done something scripted, and it's for FX and Marvel and Legion. It's just been a crazy whirlwind, and I'm really excited for you all to see [the new character] Switch. It's going to be a very interesting season."
When asked about how they decided to end the series, Hawley revealed "The show opened with him at his lowest point, he goes to the hospital and meets a girl and he's happy. And then he goes off his meds and things get out of hand. So we could either [have David] go back to a happy place, or he can go off the bottom of the map. And we decided that's where to end the story, otherwise we start the loop again... it's bittersweet, but a story has no meaning without it's ending. The old paradigm of television is that major corporations don't do a mic drop. There's something special about the... story determining the ending."
When asked if he felt freedom with this being the final season, Hawley said "as you get closer to the end of the story, the stakes are higher... This season has been really compelling. The middle season felt very expansive, and we invented a lot and we told a very adult story in a very whimsical way. But we're on the way to the end, and that makes things more exciting I think."
"I think it's fair to say this is an extraordinary show," Loeb brought up. "Things that live on FX are, by their very nature, have to be better. When you put together the murderer's row of talent, you hope you get something that kills. One of the things I love about the television we're making right now is this is the kind of show that'll be on forever. It'll be the show people talk about a year from now, ten years from now, twenty years from now. Marvel has been publishing comics for 70 years, and we all have that particular run of a character... or writer or artist that we love. Now you can collect that and put it in your library. And I feel that way with this show."
When asked if there were any X-Men characters they wanted to add to Legion, Hawley brought up "we do get to have Mister Xavier this year." "I think you'll be pleasantly surprised," Stevens added. When asked which Marvel Cinematic Universe character could make for a good foil, Plaza said "Doctor Strange. I feel like he could fit in well in the world of Legion."
Legion returns to FX in June 2019. The series stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jeremie Harris, Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Hamish Linklater and Navid Negahban.