It's not easy being Legion. FX's foray into the world of superhero dramas focuses on a superhero that very few people would expect. Legion tells the story of David Haller, a supposed schizophrenic whose mental illness may be a manifestation of his incredible powers. Legion also happens to be the first-ever live-action X-Men television series, adapting popular film and comic book franchise. While Legion is an overall minor presence in the comics compared to more well-known mutants like Wolverine and Jean Grey, Legion is a complete non-entity in the film series. As the FX series will be most people's first experience with the mutant, it's worth asking what Legion's powers are. The answer to that question is where things start to get trippy.
Trailers for the series have showcased that David Haller is capable of amazing psychic abilities like telekinesis and telepathy. However, the comics reveal that the source of Legion's power is what makes the mutant far more powerful than any run-of-the-mill psychic. Taking inspiration from a demon in the Bible who proclaimed "My name is Legion, for we are many," the David Haller of the comic is just one of many personalities with his own powers shared within one body. Legion isn't one person — Legion is many copies of many people with many different powers.
Yeah, this show's not just gonna be weird, it's gonna be comic book weird. To put it simply, the comic book version of Legion has just about every super power possible. And if there is a power that Legion doesn't have, Legion can absorb the person who has the power and turn them into one of his split personalities. His name is Legion and he is many — like many many. No wonder the David Haller of the TV show is introduced breaking from reality — it's gotta be hard to keep track with all those people floating around your head.
But, what of the actual powers these personalities possess? The series has yet to show its hand as to what David Haller is really capable of, but the Legion of the comics is a living all-you-can-eat-buffet of superpower options. Telepathy? Sure. Telekinesis? Yawn, of course. The ability to turn your enemies into salt á la Lot's Wife-style? Yes. The ability to become a pirate who can burp acid gas? Oh, of course! The power to turn into a clock-faced dinosaur or a Cthulu-esque abomination? Why wouldn't Legion be able to do that? Legion's power is that he has every single power. Which makes him extremely dangerous.
As many comic book adaptations before it have, Legion has the option to cut out some of the weirder, hard-to-communicate stuff from the show. For starters, David Haller's schizophrenia isn't exactly the same as the Dissociative Identity Disorder that Legion has in the comics which has manifested in his many powers and personalities. Schizophrenia involves false beliefs and hearing voices in your head that aren't real. Perhaps the show is taking Legion's mental illness-as-superpower approach in a new direction for television. Not matter what direction the show goes, it will likely be the most trippy television series you'll watch in 2017, even if a clock-faced dinosaur doesn't make an appearance.