Thursday, February 4, 2016

LEGION Pilot Casts Dan Stevens as David Haller, Aubrey Plaza as Lenny

Let's just hope David Haller doesn't race antique cars...

Deadline has word that the upcoming FX pilot Legion has cast the lead roles for the proposed television series from Fargo creator Noah Hawley based on the Marvel Comics character.  Here's the principal cast and character descriptions listed in the article...

Dan Stevens as Legion/David Haller -- The son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier. Since he was a teenager, David has struggled with mental illness.  Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years.  A haunted man, David is getting tired of finding his way back to sanity and is about to give up when he meets the girl of his dreams, a fellow patient.  After the strange encounter, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.

Aubrey Plaza as Lenny -- David's friend, who despite a life of drugs and alcohol abuse, knows that any day now her life is gonna turn around, which gives her the likeable energy of the impossible optimist despite her rough demeanor. 

Jean Smart as Melanie -- A nurturing, demanding therapist with a sharp mind and unconventional methods. 

Rachel Keller as Syd -- Self-sufficient and street-smart, Syd uses her sharp and prickly demeanor to protect her soft core, because even though it makes her a sucker and puts her at risk, she still believes in happily ever after.

Created in 1985 by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, Legion first appeared in The New Mutants (vol.1) #25 as David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. The two met while Xavier was working in an Israeli psychiatric facility where she was one of his patients.  Xavier was secretly using his psychic powers to ease the pain of Holocaust survivors institutionalized there.  The two had an affair that resulted in the birth of their son David. However, Xavier was initially unaware of this, as Gabrielle never told him.

When he was very young, David was among the victims of a terrorist attack, in which he was the only survivor.  The trauma of the situation caused David to manifest his mutant powers, incinerating the minds of the terrorists.  In the process, he absorbed the mind of the terrorist leader, Jemail Karami, into his own.  Being linked to so many others at their time of death, he was rendered catatonic, and remained in the care of Moira MacTaggert at the Muir Island mutant research facility.  The trauma caused David's personality to splinter, with each of the personalities controlling a different aspect of his psionic power.

Karami struggled for years to separate his consciousness from David's.  Using David's telepathic abilities, he reintegrated the multiple personalities into David's core personality. Some of the personalities resisted Karami, and two proved to be formidable opponents -- Jack Wayne, a swaggering adventurer, who commands David's telekinetic power, and Cyndi, a temperamental, rebellious girl who controls David's pyrokinetic power.  Wayne intended to destroy Karami's consciousness to preserve his own independent existence within David's mind. Neither personality succeeds, and Karami, Wayne, and Cyndi continue as David's dominant personalities.  During his time at Muir Island, David emerged from his catatonia.  Soon after, David was possessed by the Shadow King, who used his powers to psychically increase the amount of hatred in the world and feed on the malignant energy. During this time, the Shadow King, as David, killed the mutant Destiny.  The X-Men and X-Factor fought the Shadow King, and as a result, David was left in a coma.

After awakening and later, with the help of Merzah the Mystic, David gained a great amount of control over his powers by constructing a prison in his mind and locking away many sub-personalities while using needled gloves to drain the persona of its power.  However, this control was destroyed when a Phoenix Force-possessed Cyclops killed Professor Xavier, which caused a mental shock that caused Legion to lose control and destroy the place he was in and free all the evil personalities.  This caused the death of Merzah the Mystic and many others.  Also, unknown to David a new persona emerged and killed another persona. One by one, the Legion personas took control of David's body and start wreaking havoc around the world.  David took his body back over and found out there were two twin mutants in need of help.  David decided to help them and take control of his power once and for all.

After finding his way to Japan, Legion was ambushed and captured. Later, David learned that the twins were not prisoners but the heirs of Wolverine's old enemy Ogun.  Legion eventually admitted to himself that his father wasn't perfect and there was no harm in trying to be better.  This allowed David to gain more self-confidence, which made him mentally stronger and able to beat another persona and drain it to use its power.  Having reached the full extent of his powers, Legion decided to erase himself from existence by never being born. However, there is still an aspect of himself living within Blindfold's mind.

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