The cast of the upcoming X-Men spinoff television series Legion is coming together quickly, with three more actors — including the series lead — joining the project this week.
Downtown Abbey actor Dan Stevens, Parks and Recreation actress Aubrey Plaza, and Fargo actress Jean Smart have all joined the cast of the FX series, with Stevens set to play the lead role in the mutant-themed project. The trio joins previously announced cast member Rachel Keller (Fargo) in the series, which will follow the schizophrenic son of Charles Xavier as he struggles to control his powers and retain his sanity.
Stevens was confirmed to play David Haller, the son of the telepathic leader of the X-Men, who was diagnosed as a schizophrenic at a young age and institutionalized. Inheriting vast powers from his mutant father but exhibiting little of the control Charles Xavier developed over those abilities, David is described as being close to giving up when he meets someone who changes his life.
Along with Stevens in the role of David, Plaza is expected to play a character named “Lenny,” a friend of David who has an optimistic view of life despite her rough demeanor and a checkered past involving drugs and abuse. Smart was cast in the role of “Melanie,” a therapist with unconventional methods who works with David.
Previously, Keller was cast as a self-sufficient loner named “Syd” in the series. It’s unknown whether she’ll play the aforementioned love interest for David.
In the Marvel Comics universe, David Haller has been both enemy and ally to the X-Men over the years. His fractured psyche has resulted in several different personalities manifesting themselves, each with different, dangerous psychic abilities that have proven to be formidable foes to the Marvel mutants and have even triggered massive events that have altered the course of the popular characters’ history.
Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz, David Haller first appeared in a 1985 issue of New Mutants.
The pilot episode of Legion will be written by the creator of the Fargo television series, Noah Hawley, who will also serve as an executive producer on the project, along with X-Men movie franchise director Bryan Singer, among others. While the series isn’t expected to directly connect with the X-Men movies, it is expected to be set in the same universe as the films.
There’s no premiere date set for the series at this point.