Legion Showrunner on Plans for Season 2, Professor X

Noah Hawley answers our biggest questions about what comes next.

That’s a wrap on Legion: Season 1, and the finale left plenty of cliffhangers to tease where Season 2 will head. To offer more insights about what we should take away from “Chapter 8,” Noah Hawley got on the phone to break down the big moments and preview what’s to come.

Full spoilers for Legion: Season 1 continue below.

Dan Stevens plays David Haller in Legion

Dan Stevens plays David Haller in Legion

Legion is renewed for Season 2, and Hawley told press on a conference call the intent is for the new season once again to premiere in February this coming year. The big change is that Legion will likely have 10 episodes in 2018 versus its eight-episode first season, and the production will move to Los Angeles instead of Calgary.

“I certainly don’t have it all worked out yet as to what the second season will entail,” said Hawley. “I think what viewers responded to about the show is its inventiveness and its sense of emotional grounding if not literal grounding. I want to continue to deliver something unexpected and something where the possibilities, if not infinite, are certainly playful.”

That said, he was able to preview several big story points that will have an impact going forward. Check out a breakdown below:

The Cliffhanger Kicks Off Season 2

Did you stick through to the post-credits scene at the end of the finale? If you did, you’d notice David Haller is already in a new boatload — or pod full — of trouble. “We want to keep the pressure on. I think out of the frying pan and into the fryer is a pretty good approach to storytelling on some level,” said Hawley. “He’s onto the next crisis. I think that’s going to continue to keep the pressure on him in a way that that stress on someone who is disjointed can be very destructive.”

As for why he decided to hold such a big plot point until the credits when viewers could hypothetically have already tuned out, Hawley said, “There’s a proud tradition of that in Marvel on the feature side. It’s the beginning of another thought, so I wanted to give people the end song and the feeling of watching the credits in order to let them absorb the complete story they just watched and then tease them about what Chapter 2 is going to be.”

And as for the mysterious name-dropped “Equinox,” Hawley said the post-credits scenes gives a sense of what’s to come with that storyline.

The Shadow King Remains a Villain

Even though the Shadow King was the primary villain of Season 1, the season didn’t end with his defeat. That’s because Hawley liked the idea of Season 1 following one story of David grappling with an internal demon, facing it, and then having that struggle manifest itself outside of him moving forward.

“Now we’re taking something that has so much power over him emotionally and psychologically and making it an exterior agent. There’s going to be something very complicated about going to war with yourself, ” said Hawley. “It’s like a phantom limb now, it’s a part of him. That really complicates emotionally and morally and personally this fight, which is always more interesting. We’ve now created a villain for David that is worthy of building a whole story around. The backstory of this thing and their history and their relationship is now so nuanced and rich, it makes for a potential showdown that we’re really invested in as an audience as opposed to doing a villain of the year kind of approach. I don’t know how long that story will sustain or the permutations of it, but I do think it’s a really fascinating set up to follow.”

That also means Jemaine Clement and Aubrey Plaza are likely going to spend a good amount of screentime together in Season 2. “It creates such an exciting possibility in terms of storytelling, and just the energy of the show,” Hawley said of teaming those actors up. “Certainly it’s unfortunate for Jemaine that he’s stuck with this thing inside of him. It does make him a rather critical to our story, and I’ve spoken to Jemaine and he’s excited to come back. I think we’ll see a lot of him going forward, which makes me very happy.”

The (Professor) X-Factor

“Chapter 7” presented the backstory for David’s birth father and the Shadow King, which is as close as Legion has come to revealing that David’s father is Charles Xavier. As for whether David’s search for his father’s identity is going to be a primary focus of Season 2, Hawley said, “Any person who learns that they were adopted is going to have those questions and want to seek out those birth parents. I think it’s a very natural story. I think certainly where we left David at the end of the first year, that can’t be his first priority, but in terms of coming to understand who he is and what his purpose is on this world, I think that that’s definitely something we’re going to approach.”

But will Legion ever actually call that powerful mutant by his real name? “It’s a creative conversation but it’s also a corporate conversation in terms of the movie studio and their relationship to the X-Men and the characters that they want in the movies and want to protect potentially,” Hawley said of the Professor X of it all. “Were we to want to have a Professor X on the show or even Patrick Stewart on the show or James McAvoy, one of those actors, it’s a conversation both with the actor and with the studio. I don’t know, I haven’t really dived into that quandary yet, but certainly I need to start thinking about it.”

Continued Connections Back to the Comics

Legion: Season 1 drew on some elements of its X-Men source material, but largely created its own world and backdrop of supporting characters for David Haller. Expect the same to be the case for Season 2, as Hawley doesn’t intend to suddenly start adaptating story arcs straight from the comics.

“As we do with Fargo, I think fans who are really familiar with that world, they appreciate certain connections and a sense of being rewarded for knowing the story so well,” he said. “But at the same time, my goal was always to use this character as a way to have a conversation and tell a story that was my story, that was interesting to me and to try to get at the heart of what this character is and this journey is for him without literally reenacting issues from the comic book or storylines from the comic book. I don’t think you’ll see the show suddenly look to the comics for storylines, but you may see ideas or characters or images that are familiar to you.”

On the Road in Season 2

Season 2 will send David & Co. on the road, so expect to see the aesthetic of the series evolve — especially given the fact it will now be filming in and around Los Angeles. “I’m excited to try to look at Southern California in a way that we haven’t really looked at it before and try to use what we have, not to ground it in our present day reality but to try to tell stories both urban and rural and in the astral plane as it were that continue to look like nothing else,” said Hawley.

Terri Schwartz is Entertainment Editor at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.

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