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‘Legion’: Jeph Loeb, Nathaniel Halpern Talk ‘X-Men’ Universe Connections

FX’s “Legion” may be television’s most unorthodox superhero show. A critical favorite, it also has relatively few connections to its source material, Marvel’s “X-Men” franchise, in terms of characters taken directly from the comics.

Speaking at a Hall H panel for the show Sunday at Comic-Con in San Diego, Marvel Television chief Jeph Loeb said that producers are not looking to shoehorn more references to known characters and stories into a show that is largely original.

“We never want to do Easter Eggs as if we’re running an Easter Egg farm,” Loeb said.

The exec also talked about Marvel Televisio’s relationship with the “X-Men.” That relationship may change with Marvel parent Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which holds the rights to the franchise. Marvel’s relationship with shows based on “X-Men,” he said, is thus different than it is for shows that the studio produces itself, such as “Defenders.”

“It is different as a basic rule of thumb in that the shows that are currently at Fox and the X-Men characters are really under their control,” Loeb said, crediting FX and its CEO John Landgraf for involving Marvel in the creative conversation behind the show. “It’s fun in our point of view, because it gets sort of birthed out there, and then we get to be the proud grandparents.”

Asked directly if Professor X, the X-Men’s leader and the father of the title character in “Legion,” David Haller, played by Dan Stevens, would appear in the show, Loeb indicated it was unlikely. “There’s a whole political ladder that we climb up and down,” he said. “It’s more like a jungle gym.” He added, “The fact that the show is as good as it is is a testament to the talent of the people here.”

Series writer Nathaniel Halpern also spoke about the show’s strong visuals, drawing an aesthetic and thematic connection to the comics. “That’s my relationship to ‘X-Men,'” he said. “There’s these images that seared themselves into my mind as a kid, and I feel like this show has the ability to do that.”

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