The Vermillion Aren’t In Marvel Comics, But The ‘Legion’ Messengers Are Reminiscent Of The Show’s Biggest Influences
One of the weirdest additions in Legion's second season — which has also so far, happened to feature dance sequences on the astral plane, possible time travel, and a year abroad spent in a metal orb — is the inclusion of a group of mustachioed messengers called the Vermillion. Odder still, there is no trace of the Vermillion in Marvel comics, meaning that this oddity was cooked up specifically for the FX series. While these messengers that are neither distinctly human nor inhuman are original creations for the show, Legion fans looking for the inspiration for them have plenty of reference points to consider.
Glimpsed first in the premiere, the Vermillion are a group of androgynous translators that speak on behalf of Admiral Fukuyama, a government official who wears a basket over his head at all times. Fukuyama shares a connection with the Vermillion and seems to use them to carry out matters what he would otherwise take care of himself, such as debriefing David on the ongoing search for the Shadow King. The Vermillion's appearance, location, and voice all share similarities with stories that are similar to Legion's, and it wouldn't be a surprise to discover that the reference-heavy show was directly referring to one or more of these other projects with the strange group.
Legion, and every other television show that relies on surreal imagery, is indebted to the existence of The Prisoner. The '60s British series follows a spy who wakes up in a mysterious place known only as The Village that is terrorized by a gelatinous white orb. The show's futuristic design elements bear a strong resemblance to the office in which the Vermillion reside, and the Vermillion's outfits and strange appearance wouldn't have seemed at all out of place in some of The Prisoner's later episodes, once the protagonist begins taking a peek into the goings-on of the Village. The Vermillion's stark black bodysuits even bear a resemblance to the monochromatic outfit of Number 6, the lead character of The Prisoner.
While the room in which Admiral Fukuyama and David meet is simply a room in Division III, it certainly seems otherworldly. The odd location and inhuman communication method of the Vermillion is reminiscent of the iconic Red Room scenes from Twin Peaks. While investigating the murder of Laura Palmer, Agent Dale Cooper has a dream in which he talks to a man who speaks backwards; he gives him some crucial clues that help Agent Cooper in tracking down Laura Palmer's killer.
More than a few Legion fans tweeted during the premiere about the similarity between the voice of the Vermillion and one of video gaming's most iconic villains. GLaDOs, the robot that entraps the main character of the puzzle game Portal, is defined by her robotic monotone voice and cutting remarks. While the Vermillion don't have the same sense of sarcasm that defines GLaDOs, the characters' robotic vocal effect indicates that, like GLaDOs, these messengers are lacking in humanity, despite their humanoid appearance.
Legion is a show that isn't afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve or to mix them together into something new. The Vermillion may not be entirely unique, but the possible combination of different influences into a new whole is exactly what makes the FX hit such an engaging series to pick apart. So while there is no trace of the Vermillion in the Marvel comics that birthed the show, there are still plenty of resources that fans can look to that may help explain these Division III members, and perhaps the entirety of Legion Season 2.