TV Shows
Published June 20, 2019

To Understand David Haller, One Must Understand Charles Xavier and Gabrielle in 'Legion' Season 3

Xavier and Gabrielle's love story echos David and Syd's, and it began in a sanitarium!


Is David Haller a byproduct of his parents? Of the Shadow King? His environment? Or a combination of all of the above?

Legion returns for its third season this coming Monday, June 24, on FX, and this final season hopes to give us more insight into the mind of David Haller. To truly understand David Haller and get to the root of the matter, we must start at the beginning — the very beginning with his parents.

Earlier this year, we revealed that Harry Lloyd and Stephanie Corneliussen will take on the integral roles of David's parents, Charles Xavier AKA Professor X and Gabrielle.

David believes his calling this season is saving lives, but he plans on starting with his own. He needs new mutant, time traveler Switch, to help him travel back to when he was a baby, learn why a monster wanted to possess him, and possibly prevent the monster from inhabiting him.

David had spent a majority of his life believing he was suffering from a severe mental illness due to the voices inside of him and the visions he sees. Over the course of the series, he learned he may actually be the most powerful mutant in the world. Not only that, he figured that his father must have been a mutant like him.

At the end of the first season, David unlocked the truth about the Shadow King, who had be haunting him as a parasite in his mind as well as in the form of his best friend Lenny Busker. The Shadow King was an ancient being called Amahl Farouk, and this monster was his father's enemy. The mythology of the series was that David never knew his father; when he was born, his father had went off to fight Farouk. After losing a telepathic battle with Xavier, Farouk attached himself to the infant David.

Believing he was keeping his child safe from the dangers of Farouk, Xavier sent David away not realizing Farouk had already found his way into his son's mind. With a time traveler by his side, David will now have the opportunity to learn about his parentage and what made his father and Farouk enemies in this final arc and go to the precise moment that he believes his life was ruined.

In previously released clips from the upcoming season, we see a young Charles Xavier tinkering with an earlier model of Cerebro. Why was now the right time to bring one of the most famous mutants to the series?

In a discussion with, showrunner and executive producer Noah Hawley explained, "You’re telling a story about a character who is adopted, where that lineage is so [integral] to who he is that you have to deal with it eventually."

"David is not going to be able to move on as a character until he can come to terms with his history and his lineage and the decisions his parents made," continued Hawley. "Of course, when your parents give you up for adoption, there’s a real sense that either you weren’t good enough or why couldn’t they love you, that sort of thing. The truth of it had nothing to do with if they loved him or not, it was for his safety. So hopefully, if you can get David to a point where he understands his origin story, he will be a healthier person."

During a set visit earlier this year with a handful of press, Hawley laid out the context in which we'll meet David's parents. "When we meet Professor X in this season, he has been a soldier in a war," explained Hawley.

Xavier is only one part of the equation into understanding David; his mother fills in the rest of the gaps. "My goal was to look at Charles Xavier as a father, and a new father at that," said Hawley. "Someone who falls in love under circumstances that echo his son's love story. Meeting his love [Gabrielle] after the war in a sanitarium and helping her get back to a healthy place. The context of looking at this story of Charles Xavier is really through that. It's very early in his development of his discovering his own powers and what he can do with it. And discovering that there are other people out there like him."

How did Dan Stevens (David Haller) react to the news of exploring his parentage this season? "It’s weird to have David confronting his father [with them both] at similar ages," revealed Stevens to "It’s been really fun. We’re excited to have Harry Lloyd and Stephanie Corneliussen on board. There’s some beautiful stuff we get to play with in terms of the story of Gabrielle. It’s sort of deliciously dark, all of it."

We further explored this topic with Stevens during the set visit with other press. "It's on a lot of people's minds this week really is about how how much you can attribute unspeakable acts to a disturbed childhood and how much is your own volition," shared Stevens. "That's a that's a massive part of David's struggle, and by keeping it selfish and keeping it to that thing, we get to really examine somebody who's struggling with that question. How much was it Farouk sitting at that at the helm of this thing wreaking havoc, and how much of it was inherited from his parents. It's purely genetic but he didn't know all of these things. He's got Charles Xavier's mutant genes and also his mother's seemingly quite mentally unstable genes as well. We don't know and that's part of the puzzle of it all."

Get a glimpse into Charles Xavier and Gabrielle's relationship as well as the start of all of David's problems on Monday, June 24 when Legion returns for its third season on FX!

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