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For most of his life, David Haller believed he was crazy. So did everyone else. The troubled young man spent years weaving in and out of different forms of treatment, from outpatient therapy to full-on hospitalization. It’s only thanks to the sudden arrival of some like-minded (or at least like-type, if not quite like-minded) individuals that David finally saw the truth: He’s not crazy, he’s a mutant — and quite possibly the most powerful one in the world.
So … now what?
That’s the crux of season two of Legion, the FX drama series based on the character of the same name from Marvel’s X-Men comics. The series comes from creator Noah Hawley (Fargo) and features an all-star lineup of actors, including Dan Stevens as David. And, starting with season two, there’s a new actor in the mix: Saïd Taghmaoui, most recently of Wonder Woman, who is also known for roles in Three Kings, American Hustle and the fifth season of Lost.
Taghmaoui’s upcoming turn on Legion was revealed Thursday during the show’s official panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the first time the series has attended the convention. Castmembers on hand included Stevens, Amber Midthunder (Kerry), Bill Irwin (Cary), Jeremie Harris (Ptonomy), Rachel Keller (Syd), Jean Smart (Melanie) and Aubrey Plaza (Lenny). Producers Jeph Loeb, Lauren Shuler Donner and John Cameron were in attendance as well, in addition to Hawley.
When the first season of Legion wrapped, Jemaine Clement’s Oliver Bird hit the road alongside Plaza’s Lenny — or more accurately Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King, who lived inside of David’s mind since the mentally fragile protagonist was a young boy. Now, Taghmaoui is getting his shot to put a stamp on Farouk as well. How will his casting impact the show, especially with Plaza delivering such a breakout turn as the Shadow King in season one, and Clement set to get in on the fun as well in season two? In that regard, Hawley made it clear: “It’s going to be a trio with Aubrey and Jemaine Clement.”
Here are other highlights from the panel:
• Season two will consist of 10 episodes, up two from its freshman run.
• Will Syd feel more proactive heading into season two? “It’s all about an exploration of who am I and what am I capable of, and how do I reckon with something I thought was wrong and made me sick, but I can now use to help people and deepen a relationship she feels strongly about,” said Keller.
• On what’s going to happen to David following his abduction at the end of season one: “He went on a little ride in that little ball. That will obviously take him some place, and he’ll have to get his way back to the others.”
• Hawley on the future of David and Syd’s romance: “This is an epic love story between two people who can’t physically be together. If season one was the honeymoon, in season two we’re going to explore how this actually works.”
• In terms of how Hawley settled on the Shadow King as the show’s key villain: “They’re taking something that should be action and turning it into something so much more interesting. That always stuck with me: Xavier defeated this guy, went off and had a kid. It always seemed to me that it was an interesting thing we could build into where at first you think it’s Division 3 and it’s the plucky rebels against the empire. And as we’re getting ready to fight the empire, we see David’s memories and learn he’s not mentally ill. The real enemy was within him. I thought that was very subversive.”
• Will we see more of David’s youth in season two? Hawley’s answer suggested a focus on other characters’ backstories instead: “We know his story pretty well now, but we don’t know everybody’s story really well now, so I think there are other people we may see where they came from and how it brought them to this moment.” Could that explain how Taghmaoui will be involved in the show — via Shadow King flashbacks? “It could be,” said Hawley. “We’ll get our money’s worth out of every character on the show. I have a slight character issue. I like having a lot of them.”
• What about a Professor X sighting in season two? “We’re working on it” is the resounding non-answer we’ve all come to expect at this point. Someone dressed up as Tina from Bob’s Burgers asked more about Xavier: If he shows up, will it be the Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy version of the character? Hawley’s not sure at the moment. “I don’t know yet what that would be,” he said. “It depends on who would do it. If we reach that part of the story, is it funnier if it’s the young or the old one? It could be great if you’re older than your dad.”
• Now that he’s rid of the Shadow King, will David be more stable now? Hawley said it might actually lead to some very bad decisions: “Now he has to face up to the fact that without that thing in him, he’s like everybody else — he has good ideas and impulses, bad ideas and impulses. It might be interesting to see his hubris: ‘I’m a hero, so everything I do is heroic.'” Stevens concurred: “There are still a number of issues inside this man’s head.”
• What does everyone want to see for their characters in season two? Plaza wants to ride a horse, Smart wants to tango with Oliver and Stevens’ request is … well, pretty fair: “Can I get out of the orb?” Hawley’s terse reply: “Not until you eat your vegetables.”
• Hawley ended the panel with a bombshell announcement: He’s developing a movie with Fox that Comic-Con attendees might be especially interested in. “Two words,” he said. “Doctor Doom.”
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