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FX is staying in business with Marvel.
The cable network has handed out a second-season renewal for Noah Hawley’s twisted take on comic property Legion, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The series will return in 2018, with a formal episode count yet to be determined.
The show from the Fargo mastermind launched Feb. 8 to stellar reviews — FX notes that the drama starring Dan Stevens has a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 82. No streaming or VOD data has been released yet, but the premiere cumed 4.4 million viewers and 2.4 million adults 18-49 (with an encore) once live-plus-three-day ratings came in. In Live+7, Legion is averaging 1.68 million viewers among adults 18-49 and 2.85 million total viewers. It ranks second in the demo and fourth in total viewers when compared with all new cable launches thus far in 2017.
“The first season of Legion was a stunning achievement,” FX president of original programming Eric Schrier said Wednesday in a statement. “More than a new series, Legion is a wholly original take on the superhero genre. Our thanks to Noah Hawley for taking the creative risks and shattering expectations. It’s a privilege to work again with Noah, his producing partners, the outstanding cast and our partners at Marvel Television on another season of Legion.”
Unlike most Marvel TV fare, Hawley’s Legion is focused less on the comic book mythology and more on the mental health issues that come with the powers of the show’s central characters.
“I always feel that what works best in these genres is if there’s a thematic or metaphorical quality to the powers,” Hawley told THR ahead of the premiere. “In other words, if you look at a character in the X-Men world, these characters are often outsiders who have been treated as ‘other’ and their behavior stigmatized. They end up with a very sort of negative view of themselves because that’s how the world sees them. They then have to take control of their own identity and redefine themselves and say these things you’re telling me are my weaknesses are actually my strengths and what makes me special.”
The Legion renewal comes as Marvel continues to rapidly expand its TV presence. In addition to its first scripted offering in ABC’s Agents of SHIELD (which remains on the bubble for next season), Marvel is teaming with Imax for ABC’s Inhumans, which was picked up straight to series for next fall with the first two episodes premiering in Imax theaters before airing on the network. The comic book powerhouse also has Matt Nix’s Fox drama pilot starring Amy Acker, Hulu’s take on beloved graphic novel The Runaways (with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage attached), Freeform’s straight-to-series drama Cloak and Dagger and a host of Netflix series including Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Punisher, Luke Cage and mashup mini The Defenders.
For FX, meanwhile, Legion joins a 2018 slate that will include American Crime Story: Katrina, Versace: American Horror Story, Atlanta, Baskets, Feud: Charles and Diana and Taboo as the network has already secured the futures for its key franchises.
Hawley executive produces Legion alongside Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb, Jim Chory and John Cameron (Fargo). Aubrey Plaza and Rachel Keller co-star.
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