Warning: this article is filled with specific spoilers in the Legion season finale.
The first season of Legion finished with David Haller (Dan Stevens) on more solid, mental ground now that his life-long mutant parasite, Amahl Farouk (aka The Shadow King), was purged from his mind. Of course, that remedy comes with its own problem as The Shadow King (as personified by Aubrey Plaza) is now attached to the recently recovered Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement).
The pair close out the episode on a very mod road trip to who knows where, as David, Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) and the rest of their team pick up the pieces of their epic confrontation back at Summerland. That is until the tag at the end of the credits (you did watch the end, didn't you?), where we see a metallic orb scan David and then absorb him into its core and fly away with Heller screaming in frustration.
Not a bad cliffhanger to keep up wondering until Season 2 of Legion returns in early 2018.
But for those who can't wait for more answers, we were part of a select group of reporters who spoke to showrunner Noah Hawley about the finale. He deigned to provide some answers to make the wait a little less anxiety-inducing. (Part 1 is here.)
Was it always the plan to not defeat The Shadow King in the finale and continue that story into Season 2?
I like this idea of having to face our demons and that in the first season, that was an internal struggle for David. And now we're taking something that had so much power over him emotionally and psychologically and making it an exterior agent. There's something very complicated about going to war with yourself. As David says this thing has been with him since he was a baby so it's like a phantom limb now. It's part of him and it really complicates, emotionally, morally and personally, the fight. We've now created a villain for David that is worthy of building a whole story around. It makes for a potential showdown that we're invested in as an audience rather than a villain of the year approach. I don't know how long the story will sustain, or the permutations, but it's a fascinating setup to follow.
Is Jemaine committed to continue with the show as possessed Oliver?
Yeah, I think the season was always designed to be about the enemy within, at the end of which, the enemy is now a literal enemy without. It's unfortunate for Jemaine that he's stuck with this thing inside of him. But it does make him rather critical to our story. I've spoken to Jemaine and he's excited to come back. So I think we'll see a lot of him going forward, which makes me happy.
Legion Season 2 moves from Canada to Los Angeles for production. How will that impact the series?
It will make my life easier in terms of being able to be involved more directly on a day to day basis. There are those selfish, practical concerns. But it's also set up that the show is going on the road. I think to the degree that the season started with this idea that every time we were oriented and knew where you were, the show shifted from a psychiatric institution to interrogation room to a pool to war zone in the first hour. There's a degree that I think the show needs to continue to evolve. I'm excited to try and look at Southern California l in a way we haven't looked at before. Not to ground it in our present day reality, but to try to find a way to continue to tell stories that are urban, rural and in the astral plane and don't look like anything else.
The entire duration of the first season is about six weeks. Can you talk about how the use of time helped you tell the story in the first season?
This is a show that makes script coordinators crazy because they are always trying to track the linear evolution and it's not that literal. Time is a tool as a storyteller and the more grounded we are in the timeline, the more linear the story feels. It creates a state of mind and I found after the pilot in episodes 2, 3, 4, that I wanted to start each hour with a montage feel where what we call the present is a little bit hard to define. Episode Four is the most egregious where it seems clear that David had been unconscious for awhile as we saw Syd wake up and there was a repetition of images and the sense time was passing. Hard to locate the present until we settled into our first scene. There's something with that hallucinatory relationship with time, that if you do it, does create a right state of mind and allows the viewer to stop focusing so much on it, and let the show relax you into its own set of rules. Time is a key element in our storytelling. The minute you get into real time, you end up in a world of action where action leads to another and another, and the show becomes a plot driven story, and this is more about characters and ideas.
Will David try to seek out more information about his real father in Season 2? And can we hope to maybe see Patrick Stewart, or someone else, as Professor X in the series?
Any person who learns that they were adopted will have questions and want to seek out those birth parents. Where we left David at the end of the year, that can't be his first priority, but in terms of coming to understand who he is and what his purpose is in the world, I think that it's definitely something we will approach. And then it's a creative but also a corporate conversation in terms of the movie studio and their relationship to the X-Men and the characters that they want in the movies. Were we to want Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy, it's a conversation both with the actor and the studio. I haven't dove into that quandary yet, but have to start thinking about it.
Do you have an idea of how many seasons this series might play out?
I haven't really planned it out. I have a story that I want to tell but I haven't gamed out on an episodic basis how long that is yet. There were things about the first season that I thought would unfold faster than they did and other things I handled quickly. I think I'll have a better sense at the end of the second year how many years there are to go than I do right now.
We hear the government agents call to send out Equinox. What is that?
I wish I could tell you. If you stuck around for the scene after the credits, maybe you have a sense of it but I don't want to give anything away.
Speaking of that post credit scene, can you shed some light on it and why you chose to place it where you did?
We want to keep the pressure on. "Out of the frying pan into the fire" is a pretty good approach to storytelling. If you keep the pressure on someone whose psychology has always been unstable ... what he should do is go on a retreat for a year and learn how to be a person but he doesn't have that luxury because he's onto the next crisis. It keeps the pressure on David. That stress on someone disjointed can be very destructive. In terms of putting it as a post-credit sequence, I think there's a proud tradition that Marvel uses on the feature side. And it's the beginning of another thought. I wanted to give people the end song to absorb the complete story they watched and then tease them as to what Chapter 2 is going to be next.