"Legion" arrives in theaters today, but readers of the recent four-issue "Legion: Prophets" miniseries published by IDW already have a head start on the universe created by director Scott Stewart for the film.
While the film follows archangel Michael (played by Paul Bettany) as he attempts to prevent Armageddon by protecting a woman pregnant with humanity's last hope for survival, IDW's official prelude to "Legion" tells the tale of several ordinary people who suddenly find themselves thrust into the conflict between the angels and Earth.
As one of the co-writers of the miniseries (with Tom Waltz), Stewart took a significantly more prominent role in the comic tie-in than most filmmakers. He also took some time to explain to MTV News how the two projects connect, which elements of the comic find their way into the movie, and what movie fans will recognize in the comic.
MTV: Tie-in comics that go along with movies are nothing new, but you seem to have taken a more notable hand in creating this miniseries than most filmmakers tend to do...
SCOTT STEWART: Yea, it usually feels like the stuff that happens in other media around movies is kind of an afterthought, and it feels more like a marketing thing than an original project in and of itself. I like comic books, I read comic books, and I'm working on other books myself that are original to the form.
MTV: So does "Prophets" lead right into the events of the movie, "Legion"?
STEWART: They call ["Prophets"] a prelude, but it’s not a prequel in any sense. It is essentially taking place during the three days or so that the story of the film is taking place. It’s what is happening to other significant characters in the story, in other parts of the world, and it relates to the central drama of what’s happening in the film.
MTV: What sort of connections did you make between the story in the film and in the comic? Do we see references to these other people and events in the movie?
STEWART: [Laughs] Yes. What the angels are up to is sort of directly related [to the comic], and the character of Michael makes a reference in the story to the prophets. And that’s why the story is called "Legion: Prophets." The characters in the film don’t have any idea what the prophets are, and that’s sort of late in the movie, but if you read the comics you’ll start to get a sense of who the prophets are, among other things.
Typical of "Legion," you know, nothing is ever what it seems. And keeping with the style of the movie, the people who turn out to be the ones that play greater roles in this mythic plague — so to speak — are unlikely heroes. A Japanese call girl, a Midwestern housewife who's very good at solving puzzles and crosswords... you know what I mean.
MTV: So beyond referencing these "prophets" in the film, any other crossover elements you want to tease in the comic?
STEWART: [In the comic], there’s a character known as "The Voice," Allen McCormick, a radio broadcaster. ... He's one of those guys who would typically broadcast this sort of “alien abduction conspiracy theory" late-night show. And in this case, he turns out to be right about some of thing things he was thinking. The McCormick character is heard over the radio in the movie, even though he’s not a character in the movie.
"Legion" hits theaters today. All four issues of "Legion: Prophets" are on shelves, along with the collected miniseries from IDW Publishing.
Some of the cover images are posted below:
Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!