'Legion' creator Noah Hawley on third season now airing in SA: ' I feel like it ends in a very satisfying way that is true to its conception'

2019-07-29 16:08
Dan Stevens as David Haller in Legion

Cape Town - Legion season 3, the acclaimed drama series from creator and executive producer Noah Hawley, premieres on FOX (DStv 125) on Monday, 29 July at 20:45

Based on the Marvel Comics by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, Legion is the story of David Haller (Dan Stevens), a man who believed himself to be schizophrenic only to discover that he may actually be the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen. 

Channel24 spoke to Noah about the third and final instalment of the series to get a real idea of what viewers can expect. 

Noah Hawley, Legion

(CREATIVE MIND: Noah Hawley. Photo by Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW)

On what made him take on the project

"For me it's more about whether the story raises issues and questions that are interesting to me thematically or philosophically. But, also the character dynamic.

"Like any writer, part of that process is to try and look at the world the way I see it and then recreate it in some way so that I understand something which I don't understand. Also, for me it was how can I play with this genre and see what else is possible with it."

On being allowed to work independently

"I'm working with partners who have vision and who trust me. There is only so much clarity I can give you about what watching the show is going to feel like, unless I make the show for you to watch. A script is a good blue print, but it's a two-dimensional object.

"I can explain my intentions and I can show you some visuals but the experience of combining the images with the sound design, with the music, and the editorial style, and the actor's performances – the only way to understand it is to see it. Once you prove your concept then it gets easier for people to trust you. I've been lucky on that level."

On why it took so long to bring the character to the screen

"Marvel has literally hundreds of characters and it can be a bit of a haystack to try and pull out all the great characters. Obviously, he (David) has connections to the X-Men and Professor X, so they might have gotten to him eventually in the movies. He's created as a challenging character.

"In the comics he has these multiple personalities and each personality has a different set of powers. It's a much more complex legacy. The first thing I did was to simplify it to say simply that he has been diagnosed as having schizophrenia. He's seeing things. He's hearing things. The question is, is he mentally ill or does he have these abilities. It's only over time organically that we begin to learn that he does sort of have these multiple personalities. His mind has fractured in that way. All of them are combatted elements in his own mind."

On the show coming to an end

"I feel good about it. I don't know how to tell a story that doesn't have an ending, because so much of the meaning of the story comes from the ending. Maybe it's my training as a novelist or the idea of Fargo being a tragedy, a tragedy with a happy ending but still a tragedy, and in order to make something tragic the rules are different than straight drama. Some of it is that you have to know what the ultimate tragedy is in order to build steps into it.

"So looking at this I always felt like here's the problem, you have a guy whose powers could make him very dangerous and he meets a girl and she has her own story and her own powers and she's going to bend him towards goodness but if the love story doesn't work out then the only thing that is really holding him to this world is gone and then his negative feelings can come out and that's a fine enough story for me. Once you resolve that, the story is done. It's not my instinct to then come up with a new story for those characters. It's been odd enough for me to do three seasons. I'm just not trained to do that. But these are sort of three chapters of a complete story. I feel like it ends in a very satisfying way that is true to its conception."


From childhood, David (Dan Stevens) shuffled from one psychiatric institution to the next until, in his early 30s, he met and fell in love with a beautiful and troubled fellow patient named “Syd” (Rachel Keller). 

After Syd and David shared a startling encounter, he was forced to confront the shocking possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees may actually be real. Syd led David to Melanie Bird (Jean Smart), a demanding but nurturing therapist who heads a team of specialists – Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), Kerry (Amber Midthunder) and Cary (Bill Irwin) – each of whom possesses a unique and extraordinary gift. 

Together, they helped David to recognise and harness his hidden powers. With their support, David finally unlocked a deeply suppressed truth – he had been haunted his entire life by a malicious parasite of unimaginable power. 

Known as the Shadow King, this malevolent creature appeared in the form of David’s friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), but is actually an ancient being named Amahl Farouk. In an epic showdown, David and his friends battled his demon, ultimately forcing it from David’s body. 

Unfortunately, Farouk found a new host – Melanie’s husband Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) – and escaped. Just when they thought they’d earned a moment of respite, a mysterious orb appeared and took David away to an unknown place. 

With David and Oliver missing and Farouk on the loose, the team forms an unlikely alliance with their former enemy Clark (Hamish Linklater) and his well-funded government organisation, Division III. Meanwhile, Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban) is on a new path to attaining infinite and world-ending power.

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