FARGO Producer Noah Hawley Talks LEGION Pilot & How Deal With Marvel Came To Be

FARGO Producer Noah Hawley Talks LEGION Pilot & How Deal With Marvel Came To Be

Marvel & Fox revealed their plans for two X-Men universe television shows: Legion and Hellfire this week, and now, a new interview with producer Noah Hawley has shed some light on Legion.

20th Century Fox Television, FX Networks, & Marvel Entertainment made headlines earlier this week when they announced the production of two X-Men universe television series: Legion, which will introduce David Haller, & Hellfire, which will be set in the 1960s and follow The Hellfire Club.

Immediately following the announcement, a variety of rumors began to circulate about how/why Marvel and Fox were striking up this particular deal, but nothing fruitful was produced (although it should probably be noted that Marvel Studios' current president Kevin Feige received his start in the movie business from Lauren Shuler Donner on the first X-Men film) and shortly therafter, every rumor was debunked when both studios came out and denied any ulterior motive behind their new partnership.

A new interview with Noah Hawley, who will write the pilot episode for Legion and will also serve as one of the show's executive producers, has seemingly confirmed the fact. Speaking with TV insider, Hawley revealed that the show had been in the works for quite a while and was only held up because of Marvel's extensive dealmaking process: "Fox has rights to make movies and sort of tacitly the rights to do TV, but they've never done it before so they had to work out all the details." Sounds like a good enough reason, best to get all the kinks worked out before embarking on such an ambitious project.

Hawley went on to confirm that Bryan Singer & Lauren Shuler Donner, who are the masterminds behind the X-Men film universe, were also the brains behind the bringing the X-Men to television. They pitched the idea to Fox Networks Group chairman/CEO Peter Rice, who had previously greenlit Singer's first X-Men film, and once he expressed interest, the project was more or less a go. Without any character attached, the idea was brought to Hawley and he was asked whether he would be interested in exploring the X-Men universe following a successful first season of Fargo. His reaction:

"I'm not a huge comic person. I read a lot of X-Men growing up, but it's not something that was my life-long dream to do something like this. But what's nice is I just started the process, not even based on any of the characters from the universe, but I just started thinking about that world and if there is an interesting show to play around that idea of mutant-outsider identity. The thing about the X-Men franchise that’s so unique is it's a movie that starts in a concentration camp. And so you know that it's actually concerned with real-world morality and evil. It also has these diametrically opposed points of view that are both right.

Magneto feels that he knows humans will try to wipe them out because they're a fear-based animal, and so they have to be wiped out first. Which, given his past, is a totally legitimate feeling. And you've got Professor X saying, no, we have to teach them, and get them to the place where they can accept us, which is also a totally valid point of view.

I like those two morally opposite ideas could exist in this world. I basically came up with a TV show that I wanted to tell and then found the right character for it. It was more about trying to find my way to what the show was. In some ways reverse engineering it. We found the perfect character. But it has to be a great show, it can't just be a great genre show.

As to why he specifically decided to adapt Legion, Hawley further explained:

"What I really like about him is, here's a character who is schizophrenic on some level, a character struggling with mental illness. Is he crazy or does he have these powers? The answer is, kind of both. I'm a big believer that the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story. And so I liked the idea that if you have a character that doesn't know what's real and what's not real, that is also the audience's journey."

Well, it sounds like fans everywhere may be in for something special whenever this project comes to pass. Hawley, who will be coming in hot after producing two critically acclaimed seasons of Fargo, also said that he plans to kick off production on Legion by "the end of January or early February." He then adds: "hopefully we've made something great and we can shoot the rest of the year and go from there."

When further prodded about how the show will fit into the bigger X-Men film universe, which has its biggest film to date, X-Men: Apocalypse, slated to release in May 2016, Hawley explained that while the show is set in the same world as the films, it is being conceived as more of a standalone: "I don't want to say too much more about it on that level, but certainly it's not constructed as a back-door anything. It's more just that there's a story that I want to explore that has to fit into that larger universe, which is exciting." He was then asked whether there would be any chance of a crossover with Hellfire, which was jointly-announced alongside Legion, or would the two shows be set in separate worlds: "I think more the latter. We certainly haven't had any conversations about crossovers. I don't know anything about it, but I think that one is more linearly taken out of the world of the movies. Ours has its own world to it." Considering Hellfire is expected to be set in the 1960s, Hawley's reply wasn't all too surprising. 

Finally, it seems as though Marvel Television will have at least some involvement with the two X-Men shows: "FX Productions is the lead studio. My relationship is with FX primarily, and I'm just getting to know Jeph Loeb and the people at Marvel, and I think it's going to be collaboration in the best sense." It's probably safe to assume their involvement will be minimal at best, but it's certainly interesting to see Marvel & Fox working together so openly. 

So, what do you guys think? Excited for Legion & Hellfire? Sound off with your thoughts below!

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