SDCC ’17: Legion’s Cast And Showrunners Talk A Human World, Hawley Developing Doctor Doom, And More

by Hannah Means Shannon

 

The Legion panel at San Diego Comic Con on Thursday night started with a screening of the long, intense “Bolero” silent sequence from Season 1, to fan applause.

Season 2 of Legion is going to be 10 episodes, we learned as the cast and creators were announced.

A large cast of actors from the show joined the panel, including Executive Producers, and lastly, Noah Hawley.

Hawley commented that Bolero was the inspiration for the sequence, since the composer had a degenerate brain disease and it seemed appropriate for talking about a character with mental illness.

Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, and Jeremie Harris were on the panel with Jeph Loeb, John Cameron, Hawley, Lauren Shuler Donner, and more.

Loeb described Hawley as “willing” Legion “into existence” and described the characters as his creations.

Donner said they knew they wanted Hawley to write it, and for it to “exist on its own plane”, separate from the movies.

Cameron said the show is “heavily influenced by music” and it’s “part of the tapestry”.

Asked about how David has been “freed from this burden” at the end of Season 1 and what may lie ahead, Stevens said he still has a lot of questions for Hawley about what will “fill that void”.

Keller said that her character of Sid is an exploration of her own power that she thought was “wrong, bad, and sick” but now could potentially help people.

Asked how it felt to “transform” Lenny, Plaza said it was a “wild ride, man”, to laughter. She said she knew the broad strokes of the character but navigating “getting there” was fun.

Asked about her “physicality” and clothing changes, Plaza said for her “that’s a dream come true” to figure out “how a psychopath moves around”.

Smart says she hasn’t really gotten her beau back, being “in love with a popsicle and not having sex in 20 years” which makes her a little “moody”.

Midthunder and Irwin spoke about the dual roles they play, saying they still don’t know how it works. “Joint tenancy” is still an issue, Irwin said. Midthunder said she was told about the character, and then lastly, “Oh and she lives inside this other guy”.

Harris said his character is “sitting on a lot of trauma” and is “fearless in expressing his opinion”.

Asked to edge into Season 2 territory, Hawley said David “went on a little ride in a little ball and will have to find a way to get back to the others”. There are many things he couldn’t say, but he promised that we are going to meet the Shadow King. Now it’ll be a trio of Shadow Kings.

He mentioned the “epic love story” aspect of the story and if Season 1 was the “honeymoon”, Season 2 is going to be about figuring things out and asking, “How is this actually going to work?”

Hawley remembers “vividly” reading the issue of the X-Men comics where Professor X battled with the Shadow King with the two of them just “sitting in a restaurant” with a battle raging in an “astral space”. There was something so memorable in taking something that “should be action” and turning it into something “more interesting”.

Loeb said that the thing that makes Marvel unique and why characters “connect with the audience” is because they “start out as regular folks” and whose lives “start out as shit”.

He loves that David’s character is presented in a very “realistic” way as someone with mental illness, and the surprise is that he’s a mutant and that he’s capable of “greatness or destruction” and you never know which.

These characters also show that “everybody has a secret” which only reveals there are more secrets to come. “And hopefully we’re cheering for the right guy”, he reminded.

It’s not a very “linear” story, he commented, to laughter. There’s no “reliable narrator”. Because David’s memories are “false”, things get even worse.

Stevens and Keller were asked if they enjoyed the Bollywood dance scene, and how long it took to learn, Stevens said he had food poisoning and “there was a lot of spinning”. Not a good combination.

Scenes that were surreal for the actors were the “silent scene” where people couldn’t hear each other, but the actors actually could, Midthunder’s preparation with 5 or 6 stunt doubles of herself, and seeing Irwin dancing alone with a broom.

Irwin said that running up and down hills with a tommy gun waiting for the sun still “sticks with him”.

Keller said that walking onto the White Room set, it was very Kubrick-like and it was a “good moment”.

Stevens said there was a “trippy” effect going between the red bathroom and the white room, doing funny things to your eyes.

Asked if we’ll see more of David’s youth in the coming season, Hawley said that “we know his story pretty well now” but we don’t know everyone’s story. We may see where others come from, instead. Hawley said there may be Shadow King flashbacks. Hawley said we’ll get screen time for every character on the show in this way, and he likes having a lot of characters.

Asked if we’ll learn more of Oliver’s past, Hawley said he’s had a lot of time on his hands in this “icecube” and he expected to have Oliver later in the season, but he suddenly popped into the story earlier and played a bigger role. We will learn more about the dynamic with Jean in the second season too.

Asked what he’s thinking of when he makes the intense faces in the action scenes on the show, Dan Stevens said it’s like “therapy” and he’s definitely channeling things. Many things come from the comics, though, like the intense close ups and expressions from David in the comics.

Asked about creative risks they’ve taken, Plaza said the dance sequence she had to do was “scary, uncomfortable, and fun”, and part of why she enjoys being on the show. Hawley writes sentences that could be interpreted “a million different ways”. And she can bring them to life in “whatever way” she “dreams up”.

Asked if David is “corruptible”, Hawley said that David is a character who can blame anything bad he’s done on this “other entity”. But now with that being gone, he has to face up to the fact that now he’s like everyone else who has both good and bad impulses. He might fall under the delusion that he’s all good, and heroic.

It’s not a boy’s world. It’s not an anything world. It’s a human world”, Jeph Loeb said, praising the audience for their questions, and voicing how pleased he was to see so many female viewers present. He acknowledged that many people associate superheroes with male readership or viewership, but Legion has shown that can be different.

Hawley dropped the mic by saying he’s developing a Doctor Doom film at Fox, to massive applause.