Legion Season 3 Featurette

When a show breaks narrative convention as much as FX’s Legion, in which entire episodes can take place during a split second, there’s only one way to possibly end it: by introducing time travel. Legion introduces Switch (Lauren Tsai) to help David Haller (Dan Stevens) conclude his journey.

Season three of Legion will be its last, but creator Noah Hawley is ending it on his own terms. David is seeking a time traveler to help him correct mistakes he’s made in the past, especially in his relationship with Syd (Rachel Keller), but also to stop Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban) once and for all.

Lauren Shuler Donner, who brought the X-Men to the screen in 2000, produces Legion with Marvel Television. Shuler Donner spoke with /Film by phone about the final season of Legion, premiering tonight on FX.

Do you even give Noah Hawley notes on Legion?

We do, we do. Very few of us do but mostly, we question him. Mostly we want to know what he had in mind, and then there is an occasional note, absolutely, that we will throw out. Sometimes he will take it. Not all the time.

Is there an example of something maybe from season one or two, so it’s not a spoiler anymore, of a note that did influence Noah?

Oh my goodness. Interestingly, my notes are usually about, uh, emotional connectivity. Just sort of exploring a little deeper what Noah wrote and balancing that with more emotional resonance in the character to make him a bit more accessible. Or, my note will be about clarity. Obviously, the way the story is told is a different way of storytelling. An audience has to accept it that way but occasionally I feel like a few things would not be understood and we can be clear.

You couldn’t do season three without another musical number, right?

Of course not! Absolutely, we have a musical number.

Is that the sort of thing where you know fans respond to the musical numbers but you don’t want to force it?

Oh, absolutely. Fans have responded to the musical numbers. We as a cast and crew enjoy making the musical numbers. It’s a lot of fun. Bill Irwin who’s a fantastic dancer, and Dan is a wonderful dancer. Everybody’s a great singer by the way, just about every single person in the cast. Music, as you know, is a big part of this. I think it’s just the next step to include dance. We had so much fun with that original Bollywood scene in the first season.

Does David give a mini-recap of the series so far in the first episode?

The thing about Legion as you know, he catches us up from his point of view, and he’s not reliable and that is the fun of it all.

Even the scenes from previous episodes are introduced with “Ostensibly on Legion.” Is that to suggest even past episodes are not to be entirely trusted?

Not to be trusted. No, because you’re seeing a lot of it from his point of view and you don’t know if it’s a memory, a memory within a memory, if it’s one of David’s personalities. It could be Daveed or DVD. You never know quite who’s telling you the story.

I love all the chapters of Lessons in Time Travel. Has Noah given you all the chapters we don’t see?

You’re going to see them. You see them all. You see all the lessons in time travel. She’s a great character. You will enjoy her journey.

I already do. I was just wondering if he wrote out every single lesson, since it jumps around.

She has many lessons written out and then part of her learning is experiential. So she goes beyond what the lessons would say and learned either in a good or a bad way.

You dealt with time travel in movies, on X-Men: Days of Future Past and non X-Men movies like Timeline. Was it easier or harder to figure out how it works on Legion?

You know, it was easier. The hardest of all was Days of Future Past because we really had to figure out, Bryan [Singer] was tortured about trying to not drive through plot holes moving backwards. We were trying to keep the timetable straight in a franchise that has its own timetable. We didn’t always adhere to the comic book timetable. That was probably the toughest.

Syd points out that even if David can erase his mistakes, he was still the person who made them at one point. Was that a significant theme to deal with this season?

It is, it is. It is something to ponder. That’s what we all like about Noah’s writing. It is significant. He wants to go back for many reasons, obviously to try to stop Farouk. But he also obviously secretly longs to start all over and win the girl again. She’s a very practical character. She’s looking at it from her point of view: well, you’re still going to be that guy. If Farouk’s not in you, aren’t you still that guy again? It’s really the question that cannot be answered but it’s something that she has to consider.

When Noah decided he was ready to end Legion, were there certain things that had to fit into this season to be true to the season?

Conceptually, when we first started talking about doing Legion, Noah was very interested in sort of the dissection of the making of a villain. And love coming in as the villain is growing and love having an affect on the villain and possibly stopping that character from beginning a villain. Or, love having an affect on the character and possibly stopping that character from veering into villainhood. That was what he wanted to examine in these three seasons. Therefore, this season had to be very much about okay, well, we know David’s mentally ill and he’s got demons to deal with. Those demons are going to haunt him and part of his problem is that he’s a narcissist. Being a narcissist means he’s going to act out Syd’s love and not what’s best for the world.

Has each season of Legion been a different beast?

Oh, I totally think so. Totally. I think the fist one was more narrative. The second one was more complicated, let’s say. This one probably sits in the middle.

Has each season been different to produce because of that?

Yes, each one has been different to produce, absolutely. Each one has been a treat because we’re in Los Angeles but by the time we get to the third season, first of all, we all love each other. We’re a very happy group, a very collaborative group. So it became even more fun to get together and to work again. But this season has its own flavor. As you bring in each additional character, that changes the landscape. In this one we have Lauren and that changed the landscape. Last year we had Navid and that changed the landscape.

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