There were rumours of an X-Men TV show being in the works for years, but Fox shocked everyone several months back when they announced Hellfire and Legion.
The latter show introduces the story of David Haller, who has struggled with mental illness since he was a teenager. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he’s been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.
Noah Hawley (Fargo) will write the pilot and serve as an Executive Producer, while X-Men: Apocalypse writer Simon Kinberg is producing. In a recent interview, Kinberg offered an update on both shows, talking specifically about Legion and why he’s so excited to work with Hawley on this small screen comic book adaptation.
“Legion and Hellfire are both super active. Hellfire we’re hoping to be shooting at the beginning of next year, the pilot. It’s been extraordinary working with Noah Hawley [on Legion], who I think is a straight up genius. Actually the idea for Legion, it began in conversations with Lauren Schuler Donner and Bryan Singer and Noah me, but I remember I was actually in Moscow last year about to go into a dinner, I was there for the Days of Future Past premiere, and I was sitting in a car outside a restaurant about to go into dinner.
It was really early on in the process, like one of the first conversations, and Noah and I were on a call just the two of us just riffing ideas, and I was sitting outside what I thought was gonna be like a 10 minute call and I ended up sitting out there for three and a half hours, missing the dinner. Everybody had not only had the dinner but went home, and I just got off that call being like, ‘It’s midnight in Moscow but we have to make this show with this guy because he’s so brilliant.’ So that’s really ramping up now, the production’s ramping up to start shooting at the beginning of the year with FX.”
As for what this series about the son of Professor X is going to bring to the table to differentiate itself from the many other comic book TV shows out there, he added:
“I mean the thing that’s cool and that’s the hope in branching out to TV is that we can tell these X-Men stories in a slightly different way and even with a slightly different tone. It’s one of the thing we’re kind of doing in the different movie franchises. I mean Deadpool obviously has a very different, almost antithetical tone to the mainline X-Men movies. The X-Men movies are dramatic and almost operatic, whereas Deadpool is irreverent and hysterical and sort of a dirty R-rated comedy in many ways.
And Gambit will have its own different flavor and tone to it, will be more of like a heist movie and a sexy thriller in a way. So the TV shows give us an opportunity to go even further and certainly what I’m seeing on Legion with Noah and FX is an intent to do something completely original in the genre, in some ways to sort of blow up the paradigm of comic book or superhero stories and almost do our Breaking Bad of superhero stories.”
Breaking Bad? It takes some serious guts to compare anything to that series, never mind a comic book TV show featuring a character as obscure as Legion. Of course, Hawley’s past work points to this being something very special, so it’s going to be well worth keeping an eye on Legion as more details start coming our way next year.