SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of tonight's Legion series finale on FX.
After three mind-bending and time-traveling seasons, Legion came to an end tonight by going full circle, including on the soundtrack with The Who's “Happy Jack.”
A baby, a showdown with the parasitic Farouk Navid Negahban, a new beginning and future X-Men boss Charles Xavier Harry Lloyd empathically telling his powerful telepathic son David Heller/Legion Dan Stevens that he was “trapped in a war you didn't start.” Did Daddy make it all better in the end of the series finale co-directed and co-penned by Hawley? Could anyone make it all better for the perpetual battle zone that was David's psyche?
Well, Legion being Legion, yes and no, as the self-described “twisted rainbow” and exquisitely crafted series co-starring Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Aubrey Plaza Jermaine Clement, Stephanie Corneliussen and Lauren Tsai made clear tonight in the 27th and final episode. Which, ending where it all started, makes one wonder if there is more to come or another place for the mutant character played by the Downton Abbey alum in the greater Marvel Universe now that FX is owned by Disney?
With his feature directorial debu t Lucy in the Sky starring Stevens and Natalie Portman set for release this fall and the Chris Rock-led fourth season of Fargo about to head into high gear, Hawley chatted with me recently about the satisfaction of Legion's end and whether there would be more. The Before the Fall author also delved into the FX series based on the Coen brothers’ 1996 movie, whether his Doctor Doom flick is a go and the status of the Kurt Vonnegut adaption Cat's Cradle as a limited series for the John Landgraf-run cabler.
DEADLINE: You once said that “endings give stories meaning,” so does this series finale have the meaning you sought?
HAWLEY: I mean I just sort of followed the story where it went is the laziest answer but also, on some level, the truest answer.
I allowed the genre to inspire me with this understanding that once we brought time into the story - which we really did last year - with the sort of future storyline it introduced past, present, and future in a way that became a bit more malleable. Then we introduced the Switch character in Season 3 and this desire to go back for David, which was very primal for him. He always had this feeling that his life had been ruined when he was a baby and that if he's ever going to have another chance he has to solve that original problem. All that just put us in a position where what would happen if he did that and how would he do that and can he do that and not be a villain? Can he redeem himself while doing that?
So, I think I always knew what the three acts of the story were, but the literal idea that the series is a loop came in the writing sort of the last act of this season.
DEADLINE: A last act literally that ends where it all began with The Who's “Happy Jack,” a true loop and a second chance, or is that open-ended?
HAWLEY: It's complete in that it's all starting all over again, so who knows what will happen the second time around. Maybe if you watch it a second time, something completely different will happen. I mean I feel complete with it. I think that I was able to, in an elegant way, tell a very expansive and kind of experimental story that still managed to resolve itself in a human and dramatic way.
DEADLINE: How so?
HAWLEY: So that the ride that you went on isn't the roller coaster where it's just, “I can't believe the characters did that,” it's also, “I can't believe the show just did that.” In the end, it still resolved the way a good drama should resolve, which is in a satisfying, inspiring, cathartic manner.
DEADLINE: Time travel and the resolution, as well as the destruction that it can bring, is nothing new to the Marvel universe, but were you concerned that it slipped too close to the tropes of Avengers: Endgame ?
HAWLEY: To be honest, I didn't see Endgame until after I finished Legion. Then I was like, “Oh, time travel. There you go.”
I will say, by the time I finished watching that movie, I thought they did something different than we did. I think that it's hard on some level to just swing a stick and not hit a show or a movie of the genre that hasn't played with time on some level.
What was most satisfying to me was to do things in our fourth hour this season which Daniel Kwan directed where we introduced the Time Eaters and you're watching the show and suddenly The Shield's Vic Mackey walks in the room. Good cop and bad cop are gone for the day. Your brain breaks a little and asks, “What is happening right now?”
DEADLINE: You constantly played with perspective and expectations with the twisted rainbow, but one thing, among many, that struck me in the finale was when Harry Lloyd's Charles Xavier says, “No more travel, no more bloodshed. I've always wanted to be a teacher.” It feels like you guys were reaching right out to the Marvel universe and then just putting your hand on it, like a palm on a cheek. There has been so much speculation through the three seasons of Legion about how that would work. How did that work for you as a creator?
HAWLEY: In thinking about bringing Charles into it and how to use him, obviously there was a lot of conversation about, “Which version is it?” Is it the sort of younger James McAvoy version, or is it the older Patrick Stewart version? It didn't seem consistent with any timeline to have the older version. So, then the question became, “Well, all right, so if he's a young man, then how young is he? And where is he in the large story?” I just thought that the most sort of emotional version was the young father who made mistakes because he didn't know. Then he meets adult David and he goes, “You're a baby,” I thought I would have time to figure all this stuff out. That idea that he had come from the war and that he'd met his wife in a mental institution the same way that his son had met his.
Those echoes were really interesting to me - and the fact that you're dealing with a David and a Charles who are basically the same age and one of them has to become a father in a way that he didn't expect. But the reality is the moment you have that baby, you have to become that father.
do not make the same mistakes twice. #LegionFX pic.twitter.com/QhMLeUN6xE
— Legion @LegionFX August 13, 2019
DEADLINE: As a parent to this show, do you think there could be more Legion ? I remember in February that Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb referred to this iteration as kind of a graphic novel, and now this graphic novel is over, but there could be another graphic novel - do you have more Legion to tell?
HAWLEY: I think I did the sort of difficult egg carry to get the story and these characters through all the challenges that they had. And left them all in a sort of resolved and safe place in a way that feels satisfying to me.
I don't, at this moment, have as much thought in my head about returning to Legion or rebooting it or any of those things. You know, obviously the Marvel universe is huge and expansive, and this character is out there now. You could do a lot worse than to incorporate Dan Stevens into the X-Men, in my opinion. But it's not a conversation I've had. My head is on now in the film and in Fargo.
DEADLINE: That's some headspace I want to get into. But before that, how was that twisting journey that you and Dan took together to you in hindsight now that Legion is over?
HAWLEY:The thing with Dan is he's just such a grounded actor and performer. He's so nuanced that I didn't go out of my way to challenge him with the whimsical nature of the storytelling. He certainly learned to play the banjo and sing “Rainbow Connection,” while also signaling that something terrible is happening. Those kinds of challenges I don't think you would have gotten from any other story.
You know, I think what was very satisfying for him was that even though the show was very playful, his journey was never a joke. He was always in a position where his dramatic motivations were grounded and real and so you could ask him to use his powers, but it was always grounded in a real emotional motivation.
DEADLINE: Now, in other motivation, where are things at with Fargo 4?
HAWLEY: We're in the writing phase, we've basically completed the casting phase, and we'll start shooting in October to premiere in the spring.
DEADLINE: Tight, coming off Legion and with Lucy in the Sky coming out in October...
HAWLEY: laughs We're filming in Chicago and next week I think the production offices open in Chicago, and I decided to go ahead and release a movie right when I'm prepping to direct the first hour of Fargo. So I suppose one could say I like multi-tasking, hough I would argue with you.
DEADLINE: I would use the term “daunting” ...
HAWLEY: Yes, but I mean Fargo is such an extraordinary state of mind to tell a story in. That kind of combination of tragedy and comedy makes it really thrilling to go back into that mindset.
HAWLEY: It is, yeah. It's sort of on the docket behind Fargo, and I've written the first hour and have a sort of overview sense of the way that it will lay out. It's not at the front of my head right now, but I remain really excited about it and committed to the Vonnegut adventure that I'm going to go on.
DEADLINE: Is this still something you're looking at filming next year, or has that been pushed back?
HAWLEY: Yeah. I think so. I think next year is still the plan.
DEADLINE: Being that we are in front of a Marvel backdrop with Legion , where is the Doctor Doom movie at? You've spoken before about having a script ready but that ownership changes have put maybe a little pin in it for a while. Where does it stand in your perspective now with Disney taking control of the Fox assets formally this past spring?
HAWLEY: I mean, where it stands is now that the movie is done and Legion is done and I've taken a little time off because someone told me there was this word “vacation,” which means you don't work, which sounded really interesting to me. But you know, I need to circle back to them and announce that I would love to make it and figure out if that's something that is possible. Whether or not they already have a plan in place for what to do with those characters or whether they're open to my kind of vision for what to do with those characters. But it's sort of on me right now to go push them, which I will do as soon as I come up for air.
DEADLINE: That's a very unique, to put it politely, notion of a vacation ...
HAWLEY: I have no shortage of challenges, obviously. You know, the Fargo story feels very important to me right now. There's another book that I'm working on that I'm excited about, and I'm trying to figure out what the next film will be. I'm a lucky guy to have that much opportunity presented to me.
[Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for “Legion” Season 3, Episode 6, “Chapter 25.”]
In a way, this was inevitable. The latest episode of “Legion” featured a rap battle between Oliver Jemaine Clement and The Big Bad Wolf Jason Mantzoukas, where the winner gains control over a young girl’s fate. I mean, it’s obvious. How could the third and final season of “Legion” not include an episode that’s basically a fairy tale about nature vs. nurture that features a “magical mammal” dropping the mic on a “supine lupine”?
“I really liked that about this show — that it can almost change genre, even within the episode, a couple of times,” Clement said in an interview with IndieWire. “It’s always great turning up and seeing what crazy stuff they’ve built or the ideas that are thrown around.”
Therein lies the inevitability in what’s an otherwise unexpected scene within an astonishing sixth episode: “Legion” has been creating big musical numbers since the beginning. Whether it’s David Dan Stevens leading a jubilant dance sequence joined by inmates in an insane asylum or squaring off with Amahl Farouk then embodied by Aubrey Plaza in a Season 2 dance battle, writer-showrunner Noah Hawley is always looking for ways to incorporate music into his “not your everyday” superhero story.
“There are only so many ways you can punch someone,” Clement said. “So [Hawley] tries different things to have an original confrontation in each episode.”
“It wasn’t my plan,” Hawley said. “I didn’t go into the script with that idea [for a rap battle]. I just started thinking about what that battle should be and thought, ‘Well, it’s Jemaine.’ I would be depriving his fans and my audience of a golden opportunity if I didn’t take this seriously.”
This particular confrontation was set up by Hawley’s unique take on the episode.
“I always had this idea that at a certain point in the story David fractures Syd’s mind, and that we would do an episode with her [as a young girl] where she’s nursed back to health with Jemaine and Jean Smart, but I didn’t know what that meant,” Hawley said.
When he sat down to write the episode, Hawley said it just “turned out to be this modern riff on fairy tales.” But it also explores a theme prevalent in the final season, if not the series overall, about a “meditation” on how parenting can affect a child’s life.
Jason Mantzoukas in “Legion”
Clement said, “It’s tackling a really big subject: nature vs. nurture — the idea that if you had a different childhood, would you approach things differently? How would it change you?”
“But again, because it’s ‘Legion,’ [we want] to play with it in a fun and inventive way,” Hawley said. “We introduced this Big Bad Wolf character whose goal is not to eat this baby, but he wants to tell her things about the world before she’s ready. He wants her to grow up too fast, basically, and ultimately we know that Jemaine is on a showdown with this character, and there has to be a conflict between them to resolve it.”
Enter the rap battle: Hawley wrote the lyrics for each character himself, which started as a placeholder so anyone reading the script would understand what’s happening, but he soon built them into savvy, shifting lyrics that both actors ended up keeping.
“I assumed [Jemaine] might say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do that,'” Hawley said. “But he did it, happily, and had no real complaints. I said if you want to re-write this at all, feel free. He changed very little, we filmed it, and it’s one of my favorite things ever.”
“Having written many televised songs, there was a different approach to [this one],” Clement said. “I don’t really take myself seriously as a musician — definitely not as a rapper — so Jason and I were both a little nervous about it. But when we came to film it, it felt a lot better than it did reading it. It was really fun. We had a day of doing that scene, and I didn’t get bored with it at all. I enjoyed it every time.”
Clement, who didn’t know he was going to be in this season until he got the call for this episode, said he hadn’t watched the scene yet, but over the years he’s come to enjoy “Legion” like everyone else: as a viewer, more than a part of it. Even arriving for the final season, which now only has two episodes left, he stopped asking questions about where the show was going or what the ending was, preferring to be surprised by the final cut.
“I’m going to miss that about the show: You never know what it would be.”
“Legion” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on FX. There are two episodes left in the series.
It's still very unclear as to when we might see the Fantastic Four show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When it comes to their arch-nemesis, it's not clear when, but the how is a bit more in focus, as Noah Hawley reveals his Doctor Doom movie may still get made at Marvel Studios. Hawley, the creator of Fargo and Legion, wrote the movie for Fox prior to the Disney/Fox merger. However, it appears there may be a place for his version of Victor Von Doom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Noah Hawleyhas been making the rounds to promote Legion season 3, a well-liked Marvel adaptation that has been airing on FX. Hawley recently revealed that he's still talking with the brass about making his Doctor Doom movie, which he describes as an anti-hero tale. Here's what he had to say about it.
"I wrote a script about Doctor Doom, an antihero story I really like, and we're still talking about making it. I'm trying to get out from under this movie I made and this last season of Legion, and Fargo is coming back up... but for better or worse, these are the stories we want to hear right now. I think you can bury your head in the sand and say, 'That's unfortunate for our culture because they're simplistic.' Some people say that. I don't look at it that way. I think they are morality tales on a larger scale, and it's better to be part of the conversation than pretend the conversation isn't happening."
Many Marvel fans like to point out that Doctor Doom isn't necessarily wrong in his point of view, in that, he tries to do things for the greater good, evil as they may seem. Sort of similar to the "Magneto is right" people out there. So, in that way, he's not the typical mustache-twirling villain, which is what makes this idea so interesting. Plus, Noah Hawley seems to have a great attitude when it comes to telling these sorts of stories. Speaking a bit further, Hawley revealed that he's specifically sat down with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently and they discussed how the MCU could expand.
"I did sit down with [Marvel Studios' president] Kevin Feige recently and I said that I look at myself as sort of the Marvel R&D department. I know the genre can do all of these amazing things that [the Marvel Cinematic Universe] is doing, but my feeling is, what else can we do with it? Can we make it surreal? Can we make it musical? Not as a gimmick, but all of these techniques are about putting you into the subjective experience of these characters."
Kevin Feige has previously stated that the X-Men and Fantastic Four won't be joining the MCU anytime soon, since they already had the next few years of the MCU mapped out. Noah Hawley is currently finishing up his movie Lucy in the Sky, in addition to developing Fargo season 4. Maybe once those projects wrap up, the stars will align and this Doctor Doom movie can actually become a reality. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.
With the ongoing financial success of Avengers: Endgame, the “Infinity Saga”-ending Spider-Man: Far From Home and Dark Phoenix‘s box office failure, one thing is clear - Marvel Studios is the reigning champion of all things, well, Marvel. Of course, with Disney’s recent purchase of all things film and television over at 20th Century Fox, this makes sense. Those Marvel properties that were formerly licensed to Fox are back at Marvel Studios. Enter Legion showrunner Noah Hawley.
The Fargo and Legion writer and producer has been working on a Doctor Doom film for some time. Now that the Fantastic Four villain is back in the hands of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and company, however, you’d think that Hawley’s project is officially no more, right? Well, not so much, as according to Hawley’s recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he recently met with the Marvel boss to discuss… things:
“I did sit down with [Marvel Studios’ president] Kevin Feige recently and I said that I look at myself as sort of the Marvel R&D department. I know the genre can do all of these amazing things that [the Marvel Cinematic Universe] is doing, but my feeling is, what else can we do with it? Can we make it surreal? Can we make it musical? Not as a gimmick, but all of these techniques are about putting you into the subjective experience of these characters.”
Hawley didn’t explicitly mention his Doctor Doom project by name, but that he was in a room with Feige recently probably means the pair spoke about it. As exciting as that implication is on its own, there’s also the matter of what Hawley did say - namely, that he considers himself a member of the “Marvel R&D department.” If the man known for his shows’ “surreal” and “musical” moments is talking to Feige about these sorts of things happening in the MCU, then maybe better things are on the horizon for Marvel.
In between directing his feature film debut Lucy in the Sky and ramping up the fourth season of Fargo with Chris Rock along for the ride, Noah Hawley somehow found time for yet another journey: one last trip through the mind of David Haller, the overpowered telepath at the heart of FX's Legion, based on Marvel's relatively obscure X-Men comic book of the same name.
"I'm not really sure how we managed it," Hawley tells The Hollywood Reporter about wrapping Legion, which launched its final season premiere June 24. "I was editing the movie while I was creating this. I do feel like it ends for me the way it was meant to end. It feels like a really strong proof of concept, taking something that can be whimsical, dramatic, slightly horrifying character-driven genre piece and using it as a meditation on mental illness and the abuse of power, and all of the other things it's probably about."
Other things side, here's who Legion is about: David, played by Dan Stevens, also set to star in Hawley's Lucy in the Sky. After a lifetime weaving in and out of treatment for mental illness, David becomes empowered on learning about his super-powerful roots as the son of Charles Xavier, played alternately by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the X-Men films. In the third and final season of Legion, Professor X finally arrives, portrayedby Game of Thrones and Counterpart veteran Harry Lloyd; his debut, alongside other components, helps drive the central theme of Legion home, according to Hawley.
"The show becomes about parenting," he says, "and the idea that we have to raise our kids the right way. We have to give them a moral center and we have to teach them about restraint, responsibility and the way they interact with other people."
It's a lesson David will learn the hard way, if he ever learns it at all. The happy ending is very much in doubt after the season three premiere, "Chapter 20," in which David seeks out a time-traveling mutant named Switch Lauren Tsai in order to help him go back into the past and make some critical adjustments. His hope: to undo his bad deeds. The likely nightmare scenario: the end of the world, which is said to occur all thanks to David. It's a big swing with big stakes, and Hawley hopes the audience feels uneasy about David's chances of pulling it off, and even worse about David trying to put the plan into action at all.
"There's always a moment in Fargo where the worst person on the show says, 'I'm the victim here,'" he says. "With David, there's a similar mentality: a narcissism and a sense of entitlement. He has this mantra now: 'I'm a good person and I deserve love.' He uses it to justify a lot of behavior that's just not good behavior. He sees himself on some level as above morality, because of what he's suffered. He believes he is by definition a moral person, so everything he does is therefore moral. I think it's worth an exploration. Historically, much of the audience of this material is young men and boys — adolescents and older — and it's important to have conversations about the power men have and the responsible use of it, and the things they feel entitled to and they take for granted. You have to have those conversations out loud."
The series' second season ended with David altering the memories of his girlfriend Syd Rachel Keller, who had fallen out of love with him; the two had sex following David's decision to literally change her mind. Even though David's season three journey sees him trying to walk it all back, the series itself is doubling down on exploring the consequences of his choice.
"If we're rooting for the love story with David and Syd," says Hawley, "but that love story starts to come apart in season two and there's a moment where he erases her memories to buy himself time so he can be with her, but in doing so he removes her consent, and then he goes to her in the night... there's a part of the audience who wants this love story to work so maybe they're okay with it, all the way to the point where she basically says, 'You drugged me and had sex with me.' Then the audience goes, 'Oh, shit. Right. That was not good. That's immoral behavior.' You're presenting your audience with these challenges about rooting for this character, and also seeing the behavior clearly."
"If I have done my subjective job right, you've been in David's mind for this whole time, and now, at the end of the second season, you've realized he's an unreliable narrator," Hawley continues, which leads to his explanation for the introduction of Switch: "The reason why the third season starts with an entirely new character for the first 20 minutes is we're now creating an objective way into the story. The first time you see David now in season three is through someone else's eyes. It's not subjective anymore. This guy has proven to be an unreliable narrator. We're looking at him from the outside now, rather than from the inside. It's not to say that we won't go back into his point of view, but I felt it was important to switch the point of view for the audience."
Through Switch, Legion gets to explore the grand genre conceit of time travel — a notion that's embraced here with the standard Legion sheen of whimsy and dread, the full details of which are best left unsaid until their midseason reveals.
"Like any other storytelling device, the question is, how can we use it to solve these characters and explore these characters," Hawley says about bringing time travel into the story. "If you could go back in time, what would you do? Is this a way to reveal who David really is to us? I think when we see him in the first hour, he's gone off to start a new life in this commune where everyone loves him unconditionally, most likely because he's planted that in their minds to love him unconditionally. He's not trying to hurt anyone. Then Division 3 comes calling, because as far as they know, he's going to destroy the world some day. He realizes they are never going to leave him alone, so he has this idea that he needs to go back in time to change something important. The question becomes, how do we play with time? Everything has consequences, so time travel has consequences, and our consequences are a little more literal; there are things in the time stream you do not want to wake up. The fun of that is how it plays with the structure of the show, and how it reflects how we play with time itself, both from the characters' and the audience's point of view."
It's also reflected in another character's point of view: Syd, as important as ever as Legion enters the endgame, and as she reconciles the reality of her former relationship with David. According to Hawley: "When you're in a relationship with a narcissistic person, everything has to become about them. Even on a day-to-day level, the moment your attention shifts away, that person does something dramatic to get your attention back: girlfriend, parent, President, whoever it is. The same is true here, except the consequence is this guy could destroy the world. What's critical with Syd is that we have to take her story out of his story. She has to be the hero of her own story. The best thing she can do is stop participating in his drama. That became what's critical. How do we turn this corner, keeping her involved in the endgame of this story, but not making it about him?"
The answer to that question, and the answers to the other questions posed as Legion closes out, may prove surprising, considering where and how the series began. But according to Hawley, the final season will end exactly as he envisioned all along, even if it yields unexpected and uncomfortable results.
"For me, I don't know how to tell a story that I don't know how it ends," he says. "The end really dictates what the story means. For me, it's critical that the meaning is imbued into the show from the very beginning. I always had the sense that this journey for David had three acts to it. I wasn't necessarily sure if it was literally three seasons, or if it was three acts spread out over five seasons. But what I learned very early in making this show is that this show does not want to be long, unlike Fargo, which might sometimes have a 60 minute episode. You're asking the audience to absorb so much, conceptually and visually. There would be moments with some episodes where I'm watching a cut and I'm thinking, 'This episode wants to be over. Even I'm overloaded by what I've put in front of the audience.' It's why last year, we ended up with 11 episodes. We had 10, and then episodes seven, eight and nine were too big. We needed to break that out so the audience could consume it in a way that wasn't overwhelming."
"I feel that way about the show overall. For all of its experimentation, it's a concrete story with a beginning, middle and end. I don't want to be indulgent, even though we have these whimsical asides — likewith all these alternate realities where David doesn't go to the hospital, and there's definitely one this season that I don't want to spoil — I think all of that stuff becomes a meditation on storytelling. I did sit down withKevin Feige recently and I said that I look at myself as sort of the Marvel R&D department. I know the genre can do all of these amazing things thatis doing, but my feeling is, what else can we do with it? Can we make it surreal? Can we make it musical? Not as a gimmick, but all of these techniques are about putting you into the subjective experience of these characters."
Who knows what lies ahead in the final season of Legion, but Hawley casually referencing a recent meeting with Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige should make at least one thing clear: even as he's putting this particular story to rest, and even as he's in varying stages of development on Lucy in the Sky and Fargo season four, Hawley is still thinking about projects set in the superhero space. In 2017 at Comic-Con, Hawley announced he was writing a Doctor Doom movie for Fox; those hopes remain alive, according to Hawley, even after Disney's recent acquisition of Fox and its many Marvel properties, Doom included.
"What was interesting to me originally about the X-Men universe is these are movies that started in a concentration camp," says Hawley, explaining his interest in the superhero genre. "They are clearly concerned with the true nature of human evil. It's not just some cosmic force bringing about the end of the world. That's what was always interesting to me here. Let's explore through this genre the every day evils we do to each other, the ways we hurt each other and take each other for granted. There are different stories and characters who will bring about other themes. I wrote a script about Doctor Doom, an antihero story I really like, and we're still talking about making it. I'm trying to get out from under this movie I made and this last season of Legion, and Fargo is coming back up... but for better or worse, these are the stories we want to hear right now. I think you can bury your head in the sand and say, 'That's unfortunate for our culture because they're simplistic.' Some people say that. I don't look at it that way. I think they are morality tales on a larger scale, and it's better to be part of the conversation than pretend the conversation isn't happening."
For any fan of ambitious storytelling, space dramas, or, well, Natalie Portman, “Lucy in the Sky” is high on the list of the year’s most-anticipated films. The good news about Noah Hawley’s space drama is it’s just about ready to go. The better news is that Fox Searchlight is targeting the fall festival circuit for the film’s debut.
“The movie is locked,” Noah Hawley told IndieWire in a recent interview. “I’m mixing right now, and I’m doing the final finishing touches. The studio has their strategy that they’re building toward a release, and it’s Searchlight, so unlike Disney, which dates their movies three years in advance, they’re quite used to going out [to festivals]. And all those festivals that are in anticipation of fall are starting to look at movies now, so we’re going through that process to figure out the best strategy to release it.”
Fox Searchlight released the first trailer for the film last month, though no release date was set at the time. A firm release date has not yet been provided — Fox Searchlight declined to comment for this story — but with fall festivals being targeted, an Oscar season premiere is likely for the star-studded in more ways than one feature.
Hawley also clarified unsubstantiated rumors regarding reshoots for the film, countering any speculation that “Lucy in the Sky” was in trouble.
“We did one day of additional photography to put a button on the movie, basically,” Hawley said. “It was just an ending sequence, which I think is very common — less common on movies of a certain budget, but endings are in some ways the most important part. In a movie like this, in the journey we were on, it needed an extra piece.”
Hawley isn’t averse to making significant alterations in post-production, or snagging extra material when needed. While shooting the Season 2 finale of “Legion,” FX ordered an additional episode at the showrunner’s behest after Hawley felt the season was missing a “critical piece” — a rare occurrence in the TV world. The season was expanded from 10 episodes to 11 in order to compensate the expanded story.
“Lucy in the Sky,” formerly titled “Pale Blue Dot,” is loosely based on the true story of an astronaut who returns home from a long mission and finds herself losing her connection to her family. Starring Portman as the eponymous space traveler, Jon Hamm as her co-pilot, Zazie Beetz as a fellow astronaut, and “Legion” star Dan Stevens as Portman’s earthbound husband, the film’s first trailer featured expanding and retracting aspect ratios, a truck bed separating itself into sections, and people making love in the vast darkness of outer space.
“I’m really thrilled with it,” Hawley said. “It was a great experience to make it with Natalie, Jon Hamm, and Dan Stevens. I’m excited to share it with everybody.”
Watch the trailer below. “Lucy in the Sky” is expected later this year from Fox Searchlight. “Legion” Season 3 premieres Monday, June 24 at 10 p.m. on FX.