For all the excitement of FX greenlighting a TV series tethered to the X-Men universe, showrunner Noah Hawley has remained adamant that Legion would largely stand alone from Marvel’s mutant franchise. Now, Hawley claims Legion will be more Alice in Wonderland than Apocalypse, and may not address the character’s family tie to Charles Xavier.

Speaking with HitFix, Hawley traced his interest with the property back to discussions with Loren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, and Simon Kinberg, noting that the surreal, schizophrenic loner approach predated the ubiquity of current shows like Preacher or Mr. Robot. Hawley likened Legion more toward a fable, exploring mutant powers as a concept, rather than anything tied to world history, as the X-Men films have done:

I want to explore, on some level, the reality of what it’s like to have those abilities in a more existential way. So it’s not, “You have these powers; now run!” More in the idea that you go through your life with this identity as a crazy person, and then someone comes along and says, “No, actually, you’re perfectly sane, and have the abilities you have,” which sounds like what a crazy person’s thoughts would be. I love the idea that even when you’re in it on the journey, there is this Alice in Wonderland quality to it, of a story within a story.

Hawley also spoke to the decision to forgo recognizable characters (potentially even David Haller’s comic father Charles Xavier), saying:

Yeah, it’s none of the iconic characters from the movie franchise. I think that’s a strength on some level, because those characters come with rules. It’s hard. You don’t want to be handcuffed, when you’re trying to explore something. The power of making something unpredictable is really an important thing to preserve.

Am I correct in assuming that David is not related to Charles Xavier in this version? Or he could be, and it’s just a different one from the guy in the movies?

He could be. It’s a different story, but I’m not ruling that out.

For those unaware, Legion follows the story of David Haller, a young mutant struggling with schizophrenia and psychiatric incarceration, who soon learns from a fellow patient that his voices and visions may in fact be real. Created for the New Mutants in 1985, the character is noted as the son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller.

Following Fargo creator Noah Hawley’s recent update on the series, FX has officially granted an eight-episode order to Legion, with an eye to premiere in early 2017. In addition to Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza and Jean Smart, the series features Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton and Bill Irwin.

We’ll keep up to speed on the latest Legion details, but what do we make of Hawley’s vision so far?

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