Legion hasn’t exactly kept the the Marvel Cinematic Universe blueprint during its first extraordinary season, merrily rewriting what it means to be a Marvel superhero show. But at the very last moment it unexpectedly embraced one aspect of the MCU that fans love – an extra scene during the end credits.
The scene showed David and Syd relaxing on Summerland’s balcony after purging the Shadow King from David’s mind, when a small, mechanical, flying sphere appears, zaps David, shrinks him (possibly – there may be some dimensional physics going on), then carries him away inside itself. (Read our review here.)
Showrunner Noah Hawley revealed to The Hollywood Reporter why he included the scene and what it means for season which (which, he hopes, will be extended to 10 episodes):
“We want to keep the pressure on. If you keep the pressure on someone whose psychology has always been unstable, it’s going to keep him from being able to really heal. Really, what he should do is go on a retreat for a year and just be one with nature and eat three meals a day and take walks in the woods and learn how to be a person, the way other people are persons. But he’s not going to have that luxury, because he’s on to the next crisis. I think that’s going to continue to keep the pressure on him. That stress on someone who is disjointed can be very destructive.
“In terms of putting it as a post-credits sequence, I think there’s a proud tradition of that on the Marvel features side. It’s the beginning of another thought. I wanted to give people the end song and the feeling of watching the credits, to let them absorb the complete story they just watched. And then I wanted to tease them as to what chapter two is going to be.”
Hawley also confirms that the Shadow King will be back, going from the enemy within to the enemy without.
“I think there’s something similar to Aubrey [Plaza – Lennie] and Jemaine [Clement – Oliver], which is the energy of those two characters,” he says. “Together, it creates such an exciting possibility in terms of storytelling. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with them in season two.” So do we. So does everybody.
Hawley does give some hints just how interesting. “We’re taking something that has so much power over him psychologically and emotionally and making it an exterior agent. There’s going to be something very complicated about going to war with yourself, really, because as he says in that eighth hour, this thing has been with him since he was a baby. It’s like a phantom limb now. It’s 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 who is worthy of building a whole story around. The backstory of this thing, and their relationship and their history, is so nuanced and rich that it makes for a potential showdown that we’re very 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 very fascinating set-up to follow.”
As for David’s search for his real parents, Hawley reveals that it’ll take a lot of corporate negotiations before Professor X appears on the show. “Any person who learns that they were adopted is going to have those questions and want to seek out those birth parents. Certainly where we left David at the end of the first year, that can’t be his first priority, but… I think that that’s definitely something we’re going to approach. And then it’s a creative conversation, but also a sort of corporate conversation on some level. Were we to want to have Professor X on the show, or even Patrick Stewart on the show, or even James McAvoy… 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 I certainly need to start thinking about it.”
In a move that’s a total reverse of what happens with many US shows (and befitting of such an unconventional series as Legion) production for season two will move from Vancouver to LA. “I’m excited to try to look at Southern California in a way we haven’t looked at it before,” says Hawley, “and to try to not ground it in our present-day reality, but to try to find a way to continue to tell stories both urban and rural, in the Astral Plane as it were, that continue to look like nothing else.”