We’ve got about a year before the second season of Legion, which will likely have 10 episodes and debut in spring 2018. Legion positioned itself as one of the most artful and unique superhero shows on television, where our hero discovered his abilities and faced the monster inside him. There are plenty of ways the show could grow next season, developing some characters, trimming others, and expanding the world. Here are a couple of things we’d like to see.
Explore David’s loss of the Shadow King, for better and worse
This season’s main plot was about David (Dan Stevens) recognising, fighting, then overcoming his internal battle. This is a man who grew up believing he was schizophrenic, when in actuality he was a powerful mutant fighting a mental parasite. By the end of the first season, David has been liberated from the Shadow King, and he is now free to explore and embrace his powers without being subject to someone else’s demonic whim. On the surface, this is excellent, but it also comes with a price.
As show creator Noah Hawley pointed out in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Farouk wasn’t just a parasite… he was part of David’s life since he was a baby. They had a lifelong relationship. His departure isn’t just a breath of fresh air for David, it’s also a major loss. As Hawley put it, Farouk was a “phantom limb” and David will now have to come to terms with what it’s like to live without it. That comes with real risks. We’ve already seen David accessing abilities he couldn’t before, and there may be others in the wings he’s not ready to handle.
Plus, it could change David’s personality in ways no one anticipated, harming his connection to those he cares about. For example, his opposition to Farouk kept him dependent on Syd, as she was the only one who could see the Yellow-Eyed Demon. Their relationship might suffer without that common enemy, making for excellent conflict.
On that note, it will also be interesting to see how Farouk handles being in someone else’s body. He was a part of David for almost 30 years, getting all nice and cosy with his abilities. The Shadow King might be a powerful and dangerous mutant, but he isn’t impervious to conflict. We’ve already seen Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) adjust her appearance and demeanour to match her latest victim, Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement). It’d be good to see Farouk having some struggles of his own in this new form — especially if Oliver starts fighting back.
More development of the other mutants
The first season was definitely David’s story, but the consequence of that was that it left little room to develop the other characters. Many of them seemed flat, uninteresting, or inconsequential.
Ptonomy (my personal favourite) was a glorified plot device until he was no longer needed. Cary and Kerry Loudermilk’s relationship wasn’t given a lot of room to grow, only used to roughly explain their temporary separation. There was that telekinesis guy, whose name I could never remember… then again, you didn’t really need to. Walter, aka the Eye, showed up to be mean and scary until he served his purpose, then Lenny psychically crushed him to death — in an admittedly cool effect. Syd (Rachel Keller) was, by far, the one who ended up getting the most development, but a majority of that was directly tied to her relationship with David.
This isn’t necessarily a fault of the story, since the first season was supposed to be about David, but now that he’s free of his internal struggle, it’s time to give his compatriots their moment in the sun. In an interview with Deadline, Hawley said the universe and characters would be expanded next season — especially Oliver Bird, who’s positioned to take on a whole new role. Hawley said Clement is excited to come back, so we’re sure to see more of him and Plaza in the future.
Show the war between mutants and humans, and its major consequences
“We’re at war.” That’s what the humans and mutants kept saying, all season long. But, we never really got a chance to see examples of that, at least outside of our immediate mutant circle. It was a lot of tell, don’t show, indicating there was some bigger crisis, but not giving us examples of what the crisis entailed. We saw what happened to David and his friends, as well as those they came in contact with, and that was pretty much it. Given their resources, it’s clear Division 3 isn’t solely dedicated to stopping Melanie and her band of mutants, so obviously other things have been going on.
As mentioned in the previous section, that’s not a fault of the season. Our attention was on David, and he was only aware of the things that were happening directly around him. But, David is now available to look at the bigger picture, and his abilities put him in a position to actually make a difference. I’d love to see some flashbacks of how the war started, and how it’s since affected mutants who aren’t tied to (or even aware of) the X-Men.
If the drone is any indication, we’ll likely see more of the war starting next season. Hawley sort-of confirmed that the drone was the mysterious-sounding Equinox that Division 3 mentioned in the season finale, meaning it’s an original concept for the show and not tied to Magneto. When asked about the Equinox, Hawley said, “If you stuck around for the end scene after the credits, maybe you have a sense of it.” If David’s being taken to one of Division 3’s facilities, I’m sure he’ll discover what else they have been up to.
Dive into Melanie Bird’s encroaching villainy without making her an outright villain
In the second episode of the season, I declared that David had traded one prison for another when he went to Summerland, Dr. Melanie Bird’s (Jean Smart) mutant retreat in the woods. After watching through the season, I still think that’s true. Mainly because of Melanie. I don’t trust her. After eight episodes, she remains the show’s biggest mystery. What does she want? Well, beyond rescuing her husband, we have no idea. That was the whole reason she rescued David, because he could reach the Astral Plane, and she pushed him beyond his comfort zone without even knowing (or caring) that he was infected by Farouk.
In the season finale, Melanie told the Interrogator that he and the other humans better learn to fly, because the age of the dinosaurs is over. Hawley clarified that it doesn’t mean she wants to annihilate all of mankind, but it does position her as someone who’s a lot more menacing and threatening than anybody originally thought. Plus, it’s unclear whether she’s a mutant. She kind of denied it, but we still don’t know who caused the fire explosion in the first episode.
And now, we’ve got the whole Oliver and Lenny situation. As previously stated, Melanie’s whole drive was getting her husband back. She did so, through questionable means (getting scores of people killed and putting David at risk). But soon after Oliver returned, he was stolen away… by the very thing Melanie helped free David from. Melanie’s big hope, her main connection to this world, is gone. What else does she have? A lot of anger, and superhuman weapons.
I don’t want to see Melanie Bird become a full-on Magneto. We’ve already got one of those. Instead, it’d be great to see her further distance herself from the cares of humanity, like compassion and empathy, as a result of her repeated loss. On the other hand, the fact that a mutant is now in possession of her husband could persuade her to do a 180-degree flip, realising the danger that mutants hold and turning to the side of humans. There’s a lot that can be done with Melanie, but the result shouldn’t become a caricature.
Ignore Professor X… at least for now
Speaking of Magneto, hey remember the whole X-Men thing that’s tied into Legion? We’ve seen plenty of nods to the comic books and films, including confirmation that Professor X is David’s father. As much as people have since clamored for Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy to make a cameo in season two (including myself, at least for a moment), it actually would do the show’s story and world a disservice at this time.
David has a lot of issues he’s going to be wrestling with in season two — the loss of Farouk, his connection to the mutant world, his role in the ongoing war. It seems a bit too soon to add “mutant family issues” to that, especially since they would overshadow David’s personal journey (and his relationship with his sister). It feels like we’ve learned enough right now about who David is and how he’s connected to the larger X-Men universe, and pushing that story would feel more like fan service than anything else.
I’d much rather see more about Syd and Melanie than a reunion scene between David and his dad — especially since there’s no way David will be joining the X-Men anytime soon on the show (if at all). Hawley himself said that seeking out his birth parents won’t be David’s priority in the coming season, but he’s keeping the option open for the future.