SDCC 2018: The Legion Panel Wants More Dancing And Delves Into Season 2

by Hannah Means Shannon

At the Legion Panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Navid Negahban, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Bill Irwin, Jean Smart, Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Keller, Dan Stevens, Nathaniel Halpern (Producer/Writer), Jeff Loeb (of Marvel Television), and John Cameron (Director), took the stage.

Asked about the big dance scenes in the last season, the cast all wanted in one that, they said. It’s a great way to kick off the season, Stevens said. It was brought together by Bill Irwin, Stevens said.

Irwin actually suggested it and sent clips to Noah Hawley, asking if it could find a place for the season, and Hawley agreed, using it to “super charge” the beginning of the season.

Asked about how they set up the dance scenes, Halpern said it’s easy, since the actors bring the dancing, especially for a dance battle.

Plaza joke that she’ll never forget it and has nightmares about it every night. She was shocked because the dance was a real dance, less improvised, learning from professionals.

Halpern said that it’s important not to get “too comfortable” with things in the show, so if they do more dancing, it’ll have a different feel or approach.

Asked about writing scripts, and how much his ideas end up coming out on the screen vs. what’s in his mind, Halpern said that for him change is actually a good thing. All the people who work on the show contribute to the outcome. The imagery that seared itself into his mind as a kid with X-Men is inspirational and he wants to help create imagery like that. He encourages play and creativity, and the other departments rise to the occasion.

Cameron said that when you get the script, and read it, you have to ask everyone “Do you know what this is about?”, to laughter. There’s no house style for the different directors, and there is a feeling of freedom to tell the story in the way they want to tell it.

Cameron said that Hawley is a genius in post-production and editing, and the cut that is produced is often radically different, but always better.

Asked about how Legion fits in with the Marvel Universe, Loeb said that it’s great to be part of the creative process, and fun, but they have a lot of freedom. They are like the “proud grandparents”, Loeb said. It fits in with the other shows because it contains things they look for in all the shows, like aspirational themes, strong characters we follow, the idea that people are both heroes and villains, etc. It doesn’t feel like the other Marvel shows, but in their difference, they share qualities. Those same things seem to be Marvel, he said.

Asked about connections to other shows, films, or comics, Loeb said that they are not interested in being an “easter egg farm” but there’s a political ladder of Fox Movies, FX, Fox, Marvel, Marvel Studios, and more. The fact that the show is as good as it is is based on the talent of the people involved, he said to applause.

Asked about “this ending” for David, Stevens said that if you know the comics, you know he has potential to be a “world ender”. In every episode there are twists and turns, and where they ended up at the end of season 2, it was shocking. You root for Dave and Sid to be together, and this is a big shift. It makes for an entertaining ride, Stevens said.

Stevens said that the show is entertaining for them because the actors don’t know the end game, and you have to be present and playful when filming each scene. The scenes can be taken in isolation, and when you put them together, you have Legion and you have a great show, Stevens said.

The prosthetics and costume, and more of the alternate worlds episode was a “wild departure” but a lot of fun, directed by John Cameron.

Asked about where David is going to go, Stevens said that he knows very little, but Lenny is involved, of course, and Sid is mad.

Sid has become the new hero heading into Season 3, and Keller was asked about this shift. Keller would “forget” she was playing future Sid sometimes. The best heroes are the ones who are taken by surprise, and who haven’t asked for it or expected it, and Sid’s caught up in something that’s calling for her, Keller said. Asked if she’s ready to be a hero, Keller said that Sid is self-aware, and we’ll see her tackle something big, but there is importance in seeing her various reactions. Then she’s presented most faithfully as a young woman and character.

Asked if she has an idea of who Lenny is at the core, Plaza said that Lenny wants to get out there and live her best life, but has been caught up in “nonsense”. For Plaza, this new Lenny is a new character because Lenny died and she’s been resurrected through someone else’s DNA. It’s a version of Lenny, but she has to figure out what she wants now, and what David means to her. Plaza is constantly trying to peel back layers but also keep the real Lenny alive.

Asked where Melanie is mentally now, Smart said that she’s very happy in the ice cave now, but it was right to see her in Season 2 in a big, deep, dark hole. She’s spent most of her life waiting for Oliver, and then he returns and doesn’t know her. She’s tired of being in control, and happy to be high for awhile. Then she gets to be in her ice cube.

For Carrie/Kerry, there was a movement toward individuality this season, and Irwin and Midthunder feel like it’s been a very natural process. Midthunder said that Irwin is someone who is very easy to love, she realized after spending time together. There’s a familial bond, Irwin said, and we don’t where that’s going in Season 3. Asked if they are worried that they won’t be spending as much time together, Midthunder said that they don’t like to think about that.

Harris said he’d like to be back with his friends as Ptolemy, but that’s going to be harder now that he’s been downloaded into the mainframe.

Negahban said that he doesn’t feel he’s ever played a villain, and he doesn’t judge his character, so in fact he’s a hero, to applause. He was just protecting David, for instance, in his actions.

Asked if they’ve ever looked at the writing on a scene and just not understood it, and needed help, Keller said that the timeline can be confusing and lead to asking questions.

Smart said the hardest concept to understand at first was the Astral Plane, but once they got that settled, it was easier.

Negahban said that when he arrived, he was handed 9 scripts, and without the help of others, he never would have made it. Plaza has helped him a lot. Keller explained the scenes to him, too, since she understood the blueprint better.

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