Legion will end after Season 3 on FX, but, apparently, ratings and viewership may not have been the deciding factors in this decision. Creator Noah Hawley explained to CinemaBlend and other press during a TCA panel that David Haller's story was always meant to be finite, and have an ending that brings the story and its themes full circle.
I think endings are what give stories meaning. I said last year, I've never done a second season of anything, so I always thought about this as a complete story with a beginning and with an end. And it felt like three acts of a story, and so this just felt like a natural place to end it. I feel like on some level, what the show is following is this sort of cycle of mental illness where we met David, who had been at his lowest point and tried to kill himself, and now he's in the psychiatric hospital, and he meets Syd and everything. He gets balanced out, he's on his meds, he gets out, everything's going great for a while, he thinks, 'Maybe I don't need these meds anymore.' He goes off the meds and spirals down, which is sort of where we have found him now, and the question is can he get back to some kind of good place or is he gone for good? Once we tell that story, it feels like we're just going back to the beginning of the cycle, potentially. It just felt like the right place to end it.
Noah Hawley's comments make it sound as though the entire goal of Season 3 will be finding a way to conclude David's story, however that may be. It's really impossible to guess how things will go given the various bizarre directions Legion veers off into, even with Hawley's clues. Will David end up becoming a threat so great that his friends would sooner let the Shadow King go free to stop him, or will he figure things out?
Jeph Loeb knows the answer, and he assured TCA attendees that he and Marvel have been impressed enough with Noah Hawley's work on Legion that the creator could certainly drop back in for another installment of the series in the future.
It's just sort of interesting that from Marvel's point of view, when Noah first came in, he told us the end of the story along with the beginning of the story, and so there was always this magical mystery tour we were gonna go on, and we were gonna get to this place. And when he came in and said, 'We're ready to get there,' it just made sense as to what it is... These characters, some of which are part of the Marvel library and some of which have been wholly created by Noah and his partners, they will live on. This is the end of this particular graphic novel. If Noah came back to us in a day or a year or whatever and all of this incredible cast was available, we would certainly and the folks at FX would go, 'Okay, let's go.'
Part of that statement feels spoilery, because Jeph Loeb seems to have given the indication that things will work out for Dan Stevens character, or at least enough for the cast to return for a future adventure if Noah Hawley was so inclined. Again though, this is Legion we're talking about and knowing the end result of the first 2 seasons does very little to spoil the craziness and general appeal of the X-Men series.
Whatever endgame Legion has in store, it was enough for FX to renew the Marvel series for Season 3 ahead of the Season 2 finale. Viewership and ratings weren't spectacular for the program, and the drop in viewership between Season 1 and 2 made the decision to renew a bit surprising. Perhaps the prospect of a conclusive story at the end of Season 3 seemed more attractive to FX than 2 seasons of trippy visuals and an incomplete adventure?