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.”