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Why ‘Legion’ Is a ‘Tragedy,’ Not a Drama: David Haller ‘Never Really Had a Chance,’ Noah Hawley Says

”In order to beat a monster, sometimes you have to become a monster,“ FX showrunner says

If you’ve felt like David Haller is a tragic figure, well, that’s because he is.

“Legion” showrunner Noah Hawley told TheWrap that David (Dan Stevens) “never really had a chance to live a happy life” thanks to the monster that attached itself to him when he was a baby. 

But Hawley orchestrated David to be a tragic figure because he finds tragedies more interesting stories to tell.

I’m really attracted to stories that are tragic on some level,” he said. 

“Tragedy is different from drama. Tragedy has elements of the preventable to it, this idea that were a different choice to have been made, or events to have unfolded differently, we wouldn’t be in this mess, but we are. What makes it tragic is it was avoidable,” Hawley continued.

In Season 2, it looks like some decisions David and company make might come back to bite them when it comes to battling the Shadow King.

“Stakes are very high, and the monster is very real, and in order to beat a monster, sometimes you have to become a monster,” he said. This might find David heading towards destruction. 

Now he has this moment, he’s found this moment that he loves, and he has this moment where he can maybe find the happiness that he’s always been searching for,” Hawley told TheWrap in a recent interview. “But it’s not guaranteed.” 

You’re not dealing with something inevitable; you’re not dealing with a bad person did a bad thing. You’re dealing with someone who is in a crisis and is trying to [make] what they feel like are the right choices,” Hawley said. “But either because they’re selfish, or someone else is selfish, or events unfold in an unpredictable way, they find themselves down a path towards something … destructive.”

David, Hawley explained, is “struggling” with what choices to make in Season 2.

“I find that much more compelling than simply having a guy in a white hat and a guy in a black hat kind of thing,” he said. 

“Legion” Season 2 premieres Tuesday, April 3 on FX at 10/9 c.