The 'Legion' star on going from embodying the Shadow King to becoming controlled by him.

Aubrey Plaza got to go to a lot of memorable places as an actor in the first season of “Legion,” which was especially impressive given her character, Lenny, died in the first episode of the series. However, both the audience and David Haller (Dan Stevens) would continue to see Lenny, as she appeared to him, and eventually came to be known as the main representation for the Shadow King, who was hidden inside David’s mind.

With “Legion” Season 2 underway, following this past Tuesday’s season premiere, the Shadow King is now inhabiting the body of Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement), even as we see that both Oliver and Lenny are trapped inside with him.

On the set of “Legion,” Marvel.com spoke to Plaza about the path Lenny has taken, the conversations she’s had with showrunner Noah Hawley about Lenny’s current status as an undead, mental prisoner of the Shadow King, and more…

Marvel.com: What can you say about where Lenny at in Season 2? She’s clearly changed a lot.

Aubrey Plaza: Lenny’s power has been stripped away. She’s no longer embodying the Shadow King. She’s now being controlled by him. Lenny has become a puppet trapped in the astral plane and really in her own afterlife because Lenny, as a human, died. So it’s a really different energy for Season 2.

Marvel.com: In Season 1, Lenny eventually became the avatar for the Shadow King and you got to go all Super Villain there. Is it interesting for you to take a step back and have this very different perspective on her and who she is?

Aubrey Plaza: It’s definitely interesting. The initial conversations I had with Noah [Hawley], he was really interested in exploring Lenny’s human side and getting back to who she was as a human and her own vulnerability. It was about stripping down all of the personas and figuring out who she really is at the core, which is interesting when you have a character that’s morphed into all these different characters. To get back to the real Lenny is a challenge.

Marvel.com: Lenny and Oliver are sort of stuck in the same predicament now.

Aubrey Plaza: Yeah, I think we are. Maybe he’s kind of embodying [the Shadow King] more than Lenny is this season, in a way that she did last season, but in that first scene we’re both laying side by side in bathing suits, floating in a pool in the blazing, 106 degree sun and we’re kind of trapped together. It’s been fun!

Aubrey Plaza as Lenny Busker in “Legion”

Marvel.com: What’s it like to work with Jemaine?

Aubrey Plaza: He’s a ridiculous person! [Laughs] We actually shot a movie together a couple months ago which was a total coincidence. We were attached to that movie before he was cast in this show so we have a really fun dynamic. Those were really different characters. But we both come from the comedy, improv world so we have a very playful vibe with each other. I love working with him.

Marvel.com: You knew Noah’s talent from the start, but now that you’ve seen what the first year of “Legion” looked like, and how striking the series is, does it help to better visualize when you get a script and it’s got these strange aspects?

Aubrey Plaza: Yeah. I never know how these things are gonna be put together in the end. So the challenge for me is always to filter out all of the noise and really focus in on what Lenny really wants. It’s sometimes hard to focus on that when the show is just so trippy and abstract and dealing with all kinds of weird dimensions, but I try to just focus on the human story.

Marvel.com: Lenny was fully this corrupt, Shadow King version of herself at the end of last season. But now that she has some of her true self back, what is she feeling about David? Does she want to help him?

Aubrey Plaza: Yeah, I think David was Lenny’s only friend when she was a human. Like her only real friend that she ever had. So I think in a way, now that she’s back and conscious of who she is and what she’s doing and not being controlled by the Shadow King, I think she desperately wants to be friends with David again and to have him trust her again. But how can you trust someone that was trying to kill you for an entire season?

Watch ‘Legion’ Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET/PT on FX.

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Navid Negahban will play Amahl Farouk, while more is revealed about Season 2, coming to FX in April.

“Legion” is returning in April for Season 2 on FX, as David Haller (Dan Stevens) learns that freeing himself from the Shadow King’s influence in Season 1 hardly means his threat is over.

The executive producers and cast of “Legion” were present at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour today for a panel to discuss Season 2, which began with Executive Producer Noah Hawley revealing the true form of the Shadow King/Amahl Farouk will be played by Navid Negahban (“Homeland”).

Here are the highlights!

The Shadow King Revealed
The panel began with the debut of a scene from Season 2, as David awakens in a wheat field, where he finds a very out of place Fortune’s Teller booth. At first, no one else is present, but then a man appears and David realizes it’s Farouk (played by Negahban). Farouk boasts to David, “I hear everything. Or maybe I just read your mind,” before telling David he too is incredibly powerful.

Farouk goes on to say things like, “All the world’s a stage and you’re the star. You decide what is real and what is not. You are the creator of reality,” before proclaiming, “You and I are gods. What did John Lennon say? ‘Bigger than Jesus.’”

Seeing David is unreceptive to his words, Farouk notes his unhappy expression and then adds, “Now we have to figure out if you’re mad at me or yourself.”

Keeping Things Weird
“Legion” has a distinct, offbeat style and many moments of surrealism and the cast were asked just how much they question what’s happening in the moment when they read scripts. While Stevens said he certainly had questions at times, he noted it was “part of the fun of the show,” and added, “I don’t question too far into the future. I trust the writing will lead us somewhere and it always does and it’s always fascinating.”

As Hawley explained, “I’m just doing an experiment basically and using this genre to try to solve these characters and what’s fun about is because it is a genre show, you can do things that you can’t do in a linear drama. You can say, ‘Alright, I can literally take you into the memories of this character and try to understand who he is.’ These powers can be used in a more existential way than simply by fighting for dominance.”

Said Hawley, “The idea of making something unexpected is important, and this word ‘uncanny,’ which I know I’ve talked about.”

Referencing the Marvel source material of “Legion,” Hawley noted, “Originally it was called THE UNCANNY X-MEN and that word uncanny is very specific, referring in a lot of ways to the horror when familiar things act in unfamiliar ways. I like to question everything. ‘Why does the world have to be right side up?’, for example.”

Lenny’s True Self
In Season 1, the Shadow King also existed inside David’s friend, Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), and Hawley remarked, “He wore different faces. This season we’re meeting him for the first time, but that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to hide and he’s not continuing to use people like Jemaine [Clement as Oliver] and Aubrey [as Lenny].”

Meanwhile, Hawley said, “What was interesting for me for Lenny was to keep her evolving. This has been a traumatic experience for her as well. What’s on the other side of that? What is the collusion with this guy look like and what’s her culpability in all this?”

Hawley noted that and Plaza had had a lot of conversations where she’d asked him who Lenny fundamentally is, without the Shadow King’s influence, and “We’ve channeled that into the work.”

Said Plaza, “She was being used in the first season. [Now] she almost becomes like David in Season 1, in the sense that she doesn’t know what’s real or who she is or what’s happening. The power that I thought I had has been taken away from me and I’ve been slowly stripped down. We get to see who she really is.”

David’s Next Step
As for the man at the center of “Legion,” David Haller, Hawley said, “If the first year was sort of the story of an insane man in a sane world, I was interested in looking at David now being the sort of sane man in an insane world. We’ve established that he doesn’t have schizophrenia and he has these abilities.”

Suffice to say, David will return after his mysterious abduction at the end of Season 1, but Hawley said, “He comes back and the world is a very different place,” adding, “I was interested this year at looking at a mass psychology.”

Hawley said David, “Is on a journey here in which in the language of this world we have heroes and villains and it’s not determined yet where he’ll end up. A lot of that will have to do with what’s holding him on the new path. This love story with Rachel [Keller as Syd] and his experience with Farouk and so I think that’s really interesting to explore.”

Stevens said that in Season 2, David has, “Issues of trust. Who exactly has rescued him and what have they rescued him from? Where does he now find himself? Is he a force for good or evil and either way, is he being used? And what does that turn into?”

He added, “What team does he end up playing for is always in play and that’s really heightened this year, I think.”

Legion: Season 2 debuts in April on FX. Keep up with the latest from the show with @LegionFX on Twitter, the official “Legion” Facebook page, and @Legion_FX on Instagram!

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