Casting News: X-Men Pilot ‘Legion’ Gets Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart

From left: PA Images/Sipa USA; Jennifer Graylock (2)
Dan Steven, Aubry Plaza, Jean Smart

Legion, one of two X-Men-themed series, has found its first cast members.

The new series from FX and Marvel Television, which is being executive produced by Fargo‘s Noah Hawley, has cast four characters. Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens will play David, a schizophrenic who eventually becomes the superhero Legion, while Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) is on board as David’s friend Lenny, a drug and alcohol addict who remains an optimist.

Two co-stars from Season 2 of Fargo have also been cast. Jean Smart, who played cold crime family matriarch Floyd Gerhardt, is doing a role reversal as Melanie, “a nurturing, demanding therapist with a sharp mind and unconventional methods.” And Rachel Keller, who played Simone Gerhardt, will be “self-sufficient and street smart Syd,” whose sharp exterior hides an inner softness.

Speaking to TV Insider in October, Hawley shared why he was drawn to the character of Legion. “What I really like about him is, here’s a character who is schizophrenic on some level, a character struggling with mental illness. Is he crazy or does he have these powers? The answer is, kind of both … I liked the idea that if you have a character that doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not real, that is also the audience’s journey.”

In addition to serving as EP alongside John Cameron (Fargo), Hawley will write the pilot. Other producers include ones with X-Men and Marvel show experience, including Bryan Singer (X-Men movies), X-Men: Days of Future Past EPs Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg, plus Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory (who both worked on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones).

The series is set to begin production in March. No news yet on the other X-Men series, Hellfire (working title), which will be on the Fox network.