legion season finale questions

The first season of FX’s Legion ended with a bang this week, delivering yet another stunning hour of television. And since it concluded with a number of cliffhangers, it’s a good thing that the series has already been renewed for a second season. The story of the troubled psychic time bomb David Haller will continue.

Since you have questions about the finale (and yes, you surely do), know that creator and showrunner Noah Hawley has addressed some of them already. Specifically, he talked about that post-credits scene, if we’ll ever meet David’s father, and where season 2 will take us.

These quotes come from a conference call where Hawley fielded questions from several outlets.

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That Post-Credits Scene

If you hung around through the end credits of “Chapter 8,” you were treated to one final (and inexplicable) scene. David and Syd are hanging out on the balcony at Summerland, when a strange sphere flies up to them, “scans” David, and then, somehow, captures him and flies away. While Hawley doesn’t explain exactly what’s going on here, he did explain why it was necessary end the season with the show’s hero in trouble once again:

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 onto 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.

And yes, he’s well-aware of how other superhero stories have embraced the post-credits sequence, even if Legion is a very different kind of superhero story:

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.

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David’s Father

While they haven’t come out and said it quite yet, “Chapter 7” essentially confirmed what comic book fans already knew – David’s mysterious father is actually Professor Charles Xavier, the power psychic and leader of the X-Men. With the show’s villains seemingly off to hunt him down, will Professor X put in an appearance next season? That’s a tricky question for Hawley to answer, noting that it will involve a “corporate conversation”:

Any person who learns that they were adopted is going to have those questions and want to seek out those birth parents. I think that’s a very natural story. 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. And then it’s a creative conversation, but also a sort of corporate conversation on some level, in terms of the movie studio and their relationship to the X-Men and the characters they want in the movies and want to protect potentially. Were we to want to have Professor X on the show, or even Patrick Stewart on the show, or even James McAvoy, or one of the 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 I certainly need to start thinking about it.

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The Shadow King and Oliver

The first season ended with Aubrey Plaza’s Farouk escaping Summerland by hijacking the body of Jemaine Clement’s Oliver Bird, which is a bummer for the good guys, but great news for viewers wanting to see two of the show’s best character go on a road trip. Hawley notes that this pairing will continue into the next season, comparing their antics to No Country For Old Men:

I think there’s something similar to Aubry and Jemaine, which is the energy of those two characters. Together, it creates such an exciting possibility in terms of storytelling. The energy of the show… I know from years of doing Fargo that just because something is comic to me doesn’t mean it’s meant to be comic on screen. The example I’ve always given is Anton Chigur’s (Javier Bardem) haircut [in No Country for Old Men], which is very funny, but there’s nothing funny about it in the movie; it’s just this very unsettling detail. I think there can be a similar dynamic with comedic personalities, which is taking them and you like them and they have a great energy, and then dark things happen, and it creates an entirely different experience of the story. Again, in an uncanny way, comedians aren’t supposed to be like that. They aren’t supposed to act like that. And when they do, it’s very unsettling, I think. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with them [in season two].

Hawley also noted that Farouk being in a new body changes the dynamic of the show, replacing David’s internal battle with an external foe. His words on this matter suggest that Farouk will continue to be the Big Bad of the storylines to come:

I like this idea of having to face our demons, and the idea that in the first season, that was an internal struggle for David, and now 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 that is worthy of building a whole story around. The back story 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.

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The Next Season

While Legion has been renewed for a second season, not dates have been set yet (and Hawley now has to busy himself with Fargo season 3). However, he does note that the next season should hopefully arrive around the same time next year:

I think our goal is to hit the same air date next year. All that means is a lot more work for me in the immediate future, as I finish up Fargo here. I have nobody to blame but myself!

Hawley also suggested that the next season could be a little longer than eight episodes:

My feeling with the first season, because it’s such a complex show, was that eight hours was the right amount. Now that the show has its identity… we have the opportunity to broaden it a little bit.

If he needs a few ideas on where the show could go next, we’ve got him covered.

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