Late last year, Marvel announced plans to produce a pair of television series set in the X-Men universe, with Hellfire telling the story of a secret society of mutants and Legion following a psychiatric patient who learns that the voices in his head might actually be an aspect of a powerful mutant ability. Casting for the latter project now appears to be underway, as Fargo actress Rachel Keller will reportedly play one of the lead roles in Legion.
Keller’s attachment to the series remains unofficial at this point, but the report does provide a few details about the role she might play in the project, which is expected to premiere on FX at some point during the 2016-2017 television season.
According to Deadline, Keller will play a “scrappy, optimistic woman” with mutant powers that will reportedly be linked to human touch — leading to some speculation that she could be playing a variation of popular X-Men character Rogue or another Marvel mutant with similar abilities.
Legion was initially described as a series about a man named David Haller who’s spent years in various psychiatric hospitals after being diagnosed as a schizophrenic. However, a chance encounter with a fellow patient leads him to believe that the voices in his head might not actually be a symptom of schizophrenia, but instead an element of a mutant ability he didn’t know he had.
In the Marvel Comics universe, Haller is the troubled son of the telepathic X-Men leader Charles Xavier, and has been both ally and deadly enemy of the team at various points.
Keller is best known as one of the breakout actors in the second season of Fargo, playing femme fatale Simone Gerhardt. With Fargo creator Noah Hawley serving as executive producer on Legion and writing the pilot episode of the series, it’s easy to see why Keller was on his radar, and the series will provide her with her first lead role.
“It’s conceived more as a standalone,” Hawley said previously of the series. “I don’t want to say too much more about it on that level, but certainly it’s not constructed as a back-door anything. It’s more just that there’s a story that I want to explore that has to fit into that larger universe, which is exciting.”
Along with Hawley, X-Men film franchise producer/director Bryan Singer will also serve as an executive producer on Legion, as well as Lauren Shuler Donner, X-Men franchise writer/producer Simon Kinberg, and the head of Marvel’s TV division, Jeph Loeb.