‘Legion’ Stars Rachel Keller & Lauren Tsai on the Final Season and Syd Becoming the Story’s Hero

     July 22, 2019

From show creator Noah Hawley and Marvel Television, the FX drama series Legion is back for its third and final season, as David Haller (Dan Stevens), a man who believed himself to be schizophrenic only to discover that he is the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen, is forced to confront his actions and the decisions that he’s made. With the dark voices in his head lusting for power and at odds with everyone he once considered a friend, David is now leading a commune to satisfy his need for adulation and he’s enlisted the help of the young mutant Switch (Lauren Tsai), with the hope that she can help him time travel and repair the damage that he’s caused.

While Season 3 was still shooting, Collider got the opportunity to tour the incredible sets at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood and participate in a series of interviews to talk about all things Legion. During 1-on-1 interviews, Rachel Keller (who plays Syd Barrett, the mutant who fell in love with David, but is still reeling from the betrayal of the man she trusted most) and Lauren Tsai talked about being in an environment where everyone is working from their hearts, telling such a visual story, having Syd be the hero of the story in this final season, the David-Syd relationship, having abilities on a superhero show, the journey of self-discovery of Switch, and the grieving process you go through when you say goodbye to a character.

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Image via FX

Collider: Rachel, what was it like to really step up as the hero of the story, this season, and explore that shift in the character?

RACHEL KELLER: We can’t ignore what was written and what aired, last season. For me, when I think of these circumstances, under the realm of a Marvel television show and this woman, I’m like, “What is it to be a hero? What would be the most heroic thing to do?” And I’ve really wanted an ownership of her own actions. From the beginning, since she met David, it’s been entirely about him. So many young women experience taking on egotistical, sick men and trying to right their wrongs, so if we can hear her, see her, or feel her, at the end, owning her actions and saying, “Yeah, I did take that on, and I own that,” for me, that would be heroic, and give her some closure.

Did you know that this would be Syd’s storyline?

KELLER: Yeah. Along the way, it was unraveled that she becomes the hero, at the end. That was clear to me. 

Did you have to compartmentalize what you already knew, so that you could focus on each moment, for each season?

KELLER: Like most things, you can’t help but think ahead a bit, being excited or anxious about something that’s to come. But mostly, you just focus on whatever is in front of you, or you try to. You try to just do whatever that day requires of you.

Lauren, what’s it like to join a show like Legion, in its last season?

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Image via FX

LAUREN TSAI: There was this pressure that I was making myself feel, but then, once I stepped onto set and started to get involved with this incredible team, I really felt the beauty of the show. I think that this is something that I’m going to be thinking about, for the rest of my life. It’s definitely an experience that I’ll never forget. It’s something that’s taught me so much about myself. To be a part of a team, working on a story like this, in which I really do feel, every day, that everyone is working from their hearts, it’s the greatest experience.

Legion is cool because you get to be part of the superhero world, but it’s also a beautiful piece of art and a really interesting psychological study. Do you feel a sense of all of that, while working on it?

TSAI: Definitely. And I do art myself, so to be involved with the show, in which the visual artistry is such a focal point of the draw for a lot of people is so exciting. I’m so excited for people to see it ‘cause we have shot some incredible things. When I read the scripts, I visualize, in my mind, what it’s going to look like, but then, when I come onto the set, it’s always above and beyond what I could’ve imagined. It’s been thrilling because, through being a part of a show in which everyone is free to bring their A-game, in terms of creativity, I’ve been able to let go for myself, as well, and to really look inside myself and not be judgmental about the things that I’m feeling, throughout the story, and to just let that flow naturally.

At the same time, you’re on a comic book/superhero show, where you get to have a superpower. What’s it like to get to explore that? What does having that power mean to her?

TSAI: It’s been quite the journey. My character is a young mutant, who’s still just trying to figure out her abilities, how to use them, what they mean, and what her purpose in life even is. Beyond her superpowers, she’s just trying to feel like she matters to someone in this world. When she encounters David, he’s probably one of the first people to really make her feel like she, specifically, is important and that her existence is important, and he really takes advantage of that.

Rachel, what can we say about the relationship between Syd and David, this season?

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Image via FX

KELLER: What the relationship ends up being, at least for Syd, is her own relationship with herself. Like any relationship, it becomes the mirror to whatever you’re going through. I’ve barely worked with Dan, this season. There’s been a lot less British accents around. He goes and does his thing over there, and I go do my thing over here, and that happens so much in relationships. You have to look at what’s coming up for you. For her, there’s an incredible amount of her own behavior to accept and forgive herself for.

Lauren, how will Switch feel about the fact that David is taking advantage of her and her ability?

TSAI: It’s definitely a journey of self-discovery and it’s something that she has to realize for herself because no one’s going to save her and no one’s going to tell her what’s right. Even throughout the show, we never know what’s right, or what’s good and what’s bad, when we’re watching it, and whether someone is redeemable. And to add time travel into all of that, it really brings into question what truly is selfish versus selfless. It’s easy for David to get mixed up on those two things, within his mind. And for Switch, she has to learn to love herself and truly respect who she is, and be okay with just being herself, through seeing what it feels like to give everything to someone who doesn’t actually care about you.

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