Have you wrapped your head around that epic Legion finale? Did you walk away feeling as mentally empowered as David Haller, or was it crazy-making enough to have you ready to check into an asylum?
Either way, star Dan Stevens and showrunner Noah Hawley are satisfied with the results, even if the finale’s surprising mid-credits sequence might leave you with more questions than answers heading into Season 2.
“In terms of putting it as a post-credits sequence, I think there’s a proud tradition of that on the Marvel features side,” Hawley told reporters in a conference call. “It’s the beginning of another thought. I wanted to give people the end song and the feeling of watching the credits, to let them absorb the complete story they just watched. And then I wanted to tease them as to what chapter two is going to be.
But what is chapter two going to be?
“I like this idea of having to face our demons, and the idea that in the first season, that was an internal struggle for David, and now we’re taking something that has so much power over him psychologically and emotionally and making it an exterior agent. There’s going to be something very complicated about going to war with yourself,” Hawley revealed. “We’ve now created a villain for David that is worthy of building a whole story around. The backstory of this thing, and their relationship and their history, is so nuanced and rich that it makes for a potential showdown that we’re very invested in as an audience, as opposed to doing a villain-of-the-year kind of approach.”
As David unlocked more secrets about his past, the show grew closer to revealing the identity of his father, who in the comics is Charles Xavier aka Professor X leader of the X-Men. We got a glimpse of his iconic wheelchair in episode 7, and Hawley says they plan to address the mystery of David’s birth parents at some point in the show.
“Any person who learns that they were adopted is going to have those questions and want to seek out those birth parents. I think that’s a very natural story,” Hawley said during the conference call. “Certainly where we left David at the end of the first year, that can’t be his first priority, but in terms of coming to understand who he is and what his purpose is on this world? I think that that’s definitely something we’re going to approach.
Obviously, if the show wants to involve existing actors from the X-Men franchise, there’s some red tape to get through.
“It’s a creative conversation, but also a sort of corporate conversation on some level, in terms of the movie studio and their relationship to the X-Men and the characters they want in the movies and want to protect, potentially,” Hawley said. “Were we to want to have Professor X on the show, or even Patrick Stewart on the show, or even James McAvoy, or one of the actors it’s a conversation both with the actor and with the studio. I don’t know, I haven’t really dived into that quandary yet. But I certainly need to start thinking about it.”
Luckily, Stevens recently appeared on an episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden with Sir Patrick Stewart, joking that since Professor X is David’s father, “essentially I’ve got a job offer for Sir Patrick,” who responded that he was “absolutely, 100 percent” in. So Hawley should probably start making some calls.
Here’s what else Stevens had to say about the first season of Legion and his hopes for Season 2 in a conference call with reporters:
On the truth behind Davids powers and his mental state achieved by the end of the season, and the mysteries that remain:
Stevens: The [finale] has some questions that have been answered [but] I dont think all of them have been. Thats kind of exciting. The show was intended to have a sort of experiential effect, and really to try and get inside Davids head and the way that he sees the situation. I think some of the confusion is delivered, and quite effective.
I think particularly in episode 7, theres quite a lot of exposition and a lot of big questions are answered there. And at the end of [the finale], which I would encourage people to sit through the credits so they dont miss the very final beat of where this is all going Id like that answered in Season 2.
On that crazy, what-the-hell-just-happened mid-credits scene:
Its always intriguing, I think, when you get the final script of the season of anything. How are they going to put a button on this, but also maybe tease out for another one? Of course when we shot that, we didnt know for sure that we were going to get a Season 2.
I like the seasons of any show that hang on a bit of a knifes edge, and its kind of a resolution, but theres a lot of confusion and further questions. Its a really fun scene. It continues to be as playful as the rest of the season was
On whether the door is open to bring in further elements from either the established X-Men cinematic universe, or the deep mythology of the X-Men comic books:
Thats really a question for Noah. Yeah, I dont really have the answers to that. Its certainly possible. Its been fun teasing certain elements throughout Season 1 that do link into the preexisting X-Men universe. Im sure there will be more of that, but I couldnt say more than that.
On the most mind-bending curveball the show threw him as an actor:
The scene where Im having dialogue with my rational self was a pretty mind-blowing script to read. I had no idea how we were going to shoot that. It reveals a lot about David, it reveals a lot about the story, about whats maybe happening in and around himIt was actually really fun to shoot, but it was challenging.
On whether that British accent Davids rational mind-self spoke in was a nod to Stevens own national origins, or a sly wink Patrick Stewart’s Professor X:
I wouldnt go as far as to say its specifically a Patrick Stewart impression, but it made us laugh that the idea that Davids rational self might be British. David sort of thinks its funny that his dad might be British. Theres kind of a playful thing going on there.
Im pleased that it sounds a bit like Patrick Stewart, I guess! Im not sure I was going specifically for that, but yeah, its nice that theres a hint of it there.
On how much more territory within Davids powerful and damaged psyche remains to be mined in future seasons:
If you know the comics, there are still hundreds of elements that we havent really explored in terms of Davids mental makeup. Its a fun line to play with, where he feels like hes got a grip on things, when actually hes got a grip on one or two things but the rest is still very much up in the air and theres a lot of things flying around in there.
I think one of the interesting narratives, I guess, in the first season was that idea that we are the stories that we tell ourselves. This idea that hes been told that he is schizophrenic and that he is this menace, have really defined him for the majority of his life. Its about dismantling that, and reassembling something in its place. So theres a weird adolescence that he goes through in the course of [this] season. Yeah, theres a lot of interesting elements still to play. Hes not on as concrete ground as he might seem at the end of this season, I think.
On the various sources of inspiration that helped him shape Davids very particular mental afflictions:
There were a number of different sources, I guess, that I took ideas from: a lot of interviews with sufferers that I found online; I managed to speak with suffers of different mental conditions, specifically paranoid schizophrenia; I also talked to a psychiatrist who treats the condition.
I take inspiration from a lot of different places, really, different kinds of literature. Theres obviously quite a psychedelic influence on Legion, so looking at that kind of literature and art; looking back at the original comics and getting a glimpse of the character and his state from that. Bill Sienkiewiczs artwork, particularly the expression really coming through that stuff, was very helpful.