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‘Legion’ Has to Prove Itself Before Potential X-Men Crossovers, Says Creator Noah Hawley

Variety logo Variety 1/24/2017 Daniel Holloway
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FX’s “Legion” is the first television series based on Marvel’s X-Men characters, who’ve been depicted on the big screen in nine feature films from Fox. Creator and executive producer Noah Hawley has downplayed the potential for a crossover — but he’s not ruling it out.

“I think it’s important for us to establish this as a fully realized world with fully realized characters,” Hawley says. “It does connect and it can connect, but I’m not relying on that. I have to prove myself. I have to prove that the show is good enough to incorporate those elements from the movie world, if that were ever possible.”

“Legion” stars Dan Stevens as David Haller. In the comics, Haller is a gifted and psychologically damaged mutant who’s the son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier — played in the last three films by James McAvoy.

While Xavier and his cohorts may appear in “Legion” at some point, says Hawley, no such meeting is planned for season one. “It’s sort of a non-starter to say James McAvoy’s going to be in my show,” Hawley says. “I’m not saying never, but certainly not in the first year of it. You’d have to pay those guys so much money to begin with. You’d have to pay them movie money in a different medium.”

Neither will Hawley be lifting storylines from the comic books and adapting them for the show. As an example of how such efforts can go wrong, he points to the way that fan-favorite comic-book arc “The Dark Phoenix Saga” was handled in director Brett Ratner’s “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

“They decided not to tell the story,” Hawley says, noting that the filmmakers didn’t include elements of the comic-book storyline, such as the involvement of X-Men villains the Hellfire Club. “There were a lot of people who were disappointed by that, because the story is so good, and they didn’t tell it.”

Instead, Hawley plans to approach the X-Men comics in the same way that he did the Coen brothers’ films as source material for “Fargo.”

“With ‘Fargo,’ I’m going to tell you a story, and it’s going to feel like you’re watching a Coen brothers movie,” Hawley says. “And here I’m going to tell you a story and it’s going to feel like that world that you love and those comics that you love, yet because it’s not based on material that you know, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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