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FX’s X-Men TV Show, Legion, Will Be Part of the X-Men Movie Canon … Sort Of

Legion, FX’s upcoming TV show inspired by the X-Men character of that name, may be part of the same canon as the X-Men movies. That’s according to Bryan Singer, director of the early X-Men movies as well as the most recent ones like Apocalypse. Singer is also part of the creative team behind Legion, and CBR reports that Singer said at the Edinburgh Television Festival this week that the FX TV show will be part of the same canon, even if it doesn’t initially appear to be.

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Specifically, Singer said the show would be “part of the X-Men universe, but when you watched it, you wouldn’t have to label it, it could exist completely on its own.” He went on to say that Legion “will relate to future X-Men movies.”

Singer’s comments seem to contradict a prior statement made by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who said last January that Legion “takes place in a parallel universe. The US government is in the early days of being aware of mutants, but not the public. I don’t foresee any characters moving back and forth (between the movies and the series).”

Legion‘s creator Noah Hawley told IGN in an interview yesterday that the creative team has been working with some folks at Marvel (such as Marvel Comics writer Jeph Loeb, who is also a TV writer in his own right), but he didn’t confirm that Legion would be part of the X-Men movie universe. He instead echoed Landgraf’s sentiments, confirming that Legion will be set in a world where the greater public doesn’t yet know about mutants.

Since Legion isn’t coming out until 2017, it’s possible that changes are still being made and corporate deals are still being struck between the various properties that own the rights to these characters. It’s also possible that Legion does take place in a “parallel universe,” but that perhaps its universe will intersect with the X-Men movie universe in some way that is yet to be revealed, or that Legion‘s events will have ripple effects on X-Men, even if characters aren’t necessarily “moving back and forth”.

If anyone does get the rights to move characters “back and forth” between X-Men and Legion, it seems like that could work within its story, too. Based on the trailers for the show so far, it looks like it’s going to be a very experimental narrative with lots of potential for cameos, since much of the plot will revolve around Legion’s visions of other strange people and his own discovery of his powers. This seems like a good way to potentially introduce characters from the movies without necessarily having the plots intersect in a contradictory way, and it’s not like Marvel Comics hasn’t done many plot-lines about parallel universes over the decades.

The larger question is, would we even want Legion to intersect with the current X-Men movie universe? I understand why 20th Century Fox might want to strike that deal, from a financial perspective–the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty successful with crossovers between movies and TV. Sure, Agent Carter got unceremoniously canceled, but Agents of SHIELD still seems to be trundling merrily along. Still, it might be interesting to see Legion break away from the existing X-Men movie canon and forge a new path, since the X-Men movie canon has already gotten bogged down in a lot of contradictory details over the years. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the corporate overlords decide.

(via CBR, image via YouTube screencap)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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