Even an ‘Apocalypse’ Can’t Stop FX’s ‘Legion’ X-Men Spin-off

X-Men: Apocalypse not your cup of tea? That's fine. FX has just picked up Fargo creator Noah Hawley's X-Men series, Legion, starring Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens. We even have our first look!

The network just announced they've ordered an eight-episode first season to air in early 2017. Besides Stevens the series will also star Rachel Keller (Fargo), Jean Smart (Fargo), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Jeremie Harris (A Walk Among the Tombstones), Amber Midthunder (Hell or High Water), Katie Aselton (The League) and Bill Irwin (Interstellar) star in Legion.

Noah Hawley has done great work for FX with his Fargo anthology series and as a big nerd (and lost love of the X-Men film franchise) I'm seriously excited to see what he'll do with mutants. But for you non-nerds, FX is describing the show as “the story of a troubled young man who may be more than human.”

Legion introduces the story of David Haller: Since he was a teenager, David has struggled with mental illness. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, David has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he”s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.

Marvel, who has their television properties split between Disney-owned ABC and Netflix, said they are “thrilled” about their first partnership with FX. Executive Producer Jeph Loeb said, “From the first time we heard Noah's vision to his exceptional script and cast through the extraordinary filming of the pilot, we knew the series would be incredible.”

Noah Hawley (Fargo) will serve as an Executive Producer along with Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool), Bryan Singer (X-Men: Apocalypse, Superman Returns), Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Martian), Jeph Loeb (Marvel”s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel”s Daredevil, Marvel”s Jessica Jones), Jim Chory (Marvel”s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel”s Daredevil, Marvel”s Jessica Jones) and John Cameron (Fargo, The Big Lebowski). Legion is the latest project from Hawley and Cameron, two of the Executive Producers of the Emmy® and Golden Globe® -winning FX limited series Fargo. Legion will be produced by FX Productions and Marvel Television, with FXP handling the physical production.

Production will start this summer in Vancouver (home to filming of The CW's DC superhero shows).

“We”ve come to expect excellence from Noah Hawley and with Legion he has delivered another major creative achievement. Just as he did in reimagining Fargo, he is bringing an entirely new aesthetic and sensibility to the enormously popular and richly represented X-Men world,” said FX's Nick Grad, who called the pilot “stunning.” “We join our producing partners at Marvel in congratulating the creative team for what they”ve accomplished and are as excited as the fans for the premiere of Legion”s first season.”

Hawley recently spoke to Vanity Fair about the project saying some hopeful things for those bored with your run-of-the-mill superhero stories:

I always feel like the structure of a story should reflect the content of the story. If the story, as in this case, is about a guy who is either schizophrenic or he has these abilities, i.e., he doesn”t know what”s real and what”s not real, then the audience should have the same experience. [I”m aiming for a] surreal or dreamlike quality where it”s not just about running and kicking. There”s, whatever, 9,000 superhero stories right now. They”ve got all the running and kicking covered. I think my goal with this is to do something whimsical and imaginative and unexpected. Not just because I want to do something different, but because it feels like the right way to tell this story.

We”ve got the time, right? It”s not a two-hour movie. It”s an 8- or a 10- or a 12-hour movie. Let”s tell the parts of the story that you couldn”t tell on the big screen. What is it really like to hear voices or to be able to move things with your mind or to think you can move things with your mind, but you”ve been hospitalized and they”ve been talking you out of the idea that you can actually move things with your mind. If there”s one thing that television doesn”t really do, and has never really done, is to tell a surreal story.

Are you excited for this one?