FX’s Legion may be an X-Men property, but it’s only very loosely based on the comic. That’s worked out to its benefit, as the show has been able to do some utterly insane things with its storyline, some of which have never been attempted on TV before. This is a comic property that for the most part doesn’t feel like one, and for that it’s stronger.
But that’s not to say there aren’t some wonderful places it could go. Armed with a Marvel Unlimited subscription that allows access to nearly every David Haller story ever published, I took a look to get some ideas of where the story can go in the second season now that origin story is out of the way. While it’s hard to imagine Legion adapting any of these stories literally, it could take inspiration from them in some capacity. After all, the show’s arch-villain is drawn straight from the X-Men comics.
First, let’s go over the differences so far, the most obvious being David’s appearance. In the comics David’s impressive hair calls to mind the late Wayne Static of metal band Static-X, standing straight up and never going down no matter what product he puts in it, as he laments. The character’s origin is quite a bit more exotic, too, as he only went insane after being involved in a failed terrorist attack in Israel. The shock of witnessing the act as a child freed his powers, allowing him to fry the assassins as he connected telepathically with each of them, experiencing all of their thoughts and emotions as they died.
David slips into a coma, but not before absorbing the leader of the terrorists into himself somehow, his new evil ego making him cause a nice ruckus, Patrick-style, while coma-bound, so confused he was. His father, the X-Men leader Professor Charles Xavier, doesn’t know about him, although when Xavier learns about his child, he does everything he can take take care of him, ending up dead (one of several times the character has died) as a result of David’s obscene amount of power.
In the comics, David also has several distinct personalities, each of which cause different kinds of trouble when they’re in control, with some changing him physically. We don’t know what else is in TV-show David’s head just yet, but this is an area the show could definitely utilize.
“As we do with Fargo fans who are really familiar with that world, they appreciate certain connections and being rewarded for knowing the story so well,” said show creator Noah Hawley in a recent conference call. “At the same time, my goal is to always use character as a way to have a conversation, and tell a story that was my story and was interesting to me to try and get to the heart of who this character is and this journey for him without re-enacting storylines from the comic book. So you won’t see the show suddenly be beholden to the comic books for storyline, but you may see ideas, characters or images that are familiar to you.”
There are plenty of those that would be amazing to see in season two.
X-Men: Civil War
The Muir Island Saga from Uncanny X-Men #278-280, X-Factor #69-70
If they wanted to take that wonderful last scene from Legion‘s first episode and turn it into an entire action-packed season, this is story to lean on. It requires the most use of the X-Men, although the new mutants created for the show (literally everyone besides David and The Shadow King is new!) could do in a pinch.
It begins as Professor X and his crew are checking out Muir Island, where everyone has been taken over by the Shadow King (allowing for even more Aubrey Plaza!) During the process of planning a strike on the island, Legion is mind-controlled as well, and things quickly get worse. With his new massive abilities, the King is able to use David to take control over about half the X-Men. This leads to a massive (somehow casualty-free?) war between the mutant superheroes as the few remaining attempt to get David to stop.
The way they do that is ingenious and could make for trippy television, as they mount a two-pronged assault, both physically and in the astral plane. Professor leaves behind some X-Men to protect his physical shell as he leads the mental assault, but it doesn’t go as well as he hoped. Legion is freed of the Shadow King but completely brain-dead from the mental strain. Daaaad!
David Haller, Threat To The Universe
X-Men: Legion Quest from X-Men, Vol. 2 #40–41 plus X-Factor, vol. 1 #109 and Uncanny X-Men #320–321
Most of the time when David does bad things, it’s because he’s being used. However, this storyline would enable him to perform the ultimate villain turn, and inflict the most trauma on the audience in the process. David has just woken up from his coma and believes that only he can bring humans and mutants together. He creates a psychic black dome in the Negev desert and becomes such a threat to the area that the Israeli Army and P.L.O. actually team up to try and fight him. But nothing can get through.
David’s mother, Gabrielle Haller, comes in with a team of mutants to face him, but she’s terrified by his new powers. David now has about time times the psychic power of Professor X, who is no slouch in that department, but he has no control over it. The latest trick David learns is time travel, which he begins to experiment with in the most evil way, taking Storm back in time to show her the death of her mother. That would be bad enough, but he purposefully brings her back with too little time for Storm to be able to save her, though she tries her best. Damn, David.
As the X-Men try to stop him, David ends up dragging some of them back in time with him in an attempt to kill Magneto in the past and somehow make up with his dad. The problem is that Professor X and Magneto are best buds at that moment and Xavier sacrifices himself to save his friend, causing an alternate reality to begin. Present-time Professor X is alarmed to see The Watchers show up to witness the moment and realizes that his son might have done something irreversible. (The Watchers showing up somewhere is never a good sign, as this ancient alien species only does so when a massive event is about to occur.)
It turns out that meddling with reality has its price, and David actually causes THE END OF TIME. The alternate Age of Apocalypse universe begins here, in what would be one helluva downer for a TV show.
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