The upcoming X-Men-based TV project Legion has been in development for quite some time over at FX. But there has only been a little movement in terms of what characters will be in the FX pilot and who will be signed on to play those characters. That is, until today, when FX announced a slew of actors who will be joining the potential drama. Aubrey Plaza, Dan Stevens, Jean Smart and the already-cast Rachel Keller will all star in the upcoming project.
All these names are actually pretty heavy hitters, but Aubrey Plaza is having a bit of a moment thanks to appearing in a recent episode of Criminal Minds playing a messed up love interest to Spencer Reid, not to mention nabbing a role in the movie Dirty Grandpa. In Legion, the actress is set to play Lenny, a likable and optimistic character who has an alcohol and drug problem and is friends with the main character, David, on the show. I’m used to different adjectives than "optimistic" usually being used to describe Plaza's characters, so this change of pace for the actress should be interesting.
Dan Stevens was a huge heartthrob on Downton Abbey before he left the period drama to pursue a film career. Now, he’s back to TV work with Legion, and he’ll play the aforementioned David, a young man who is dealing with schizophrenia and the problems it brings to his daily life. FX says the character is pretty depressed, until he “meets the girl of his dreams.” He’s also the lead on the series, playing the character who will become the titular Legion. In the comics, David is also Professor X's son.
Jean Smart is sticking with FX for Legion. The actress was only very recently in the second season of Fargo, a role which landed her a Critics Choice Award. In Legion, she’ll play Melanie, a smart therapist who is innovative in her field and willing to take chances on up-and-coming methods for doing things.
If you aren't up on Keller's casting, which happened a short while ago, Rachel Keller was also in Fargo, but had guest starred in episodes of The Mentalist and Supernatural before landing the FX gig. In the Legion pilot, she’ll play Syd, a street smart young lady who “believes in happily ever after.” Earlier reports indicated that she will probably have powers related to human touch.
The Noah Hawley-produced and written pilot is expected to begin production in March, and we should be hearing whether or not Legion is good enough to move forward soon after. Considering Hawley is the guy behind the critically acclaimed Fargo TV series, I’m very hopeful, indeed. We’ll keep you updated as Legion continues to move forward.