The first episode of Legion’s second season is as psychedelic and perplexing as ever. One of the newer aspects that have been added to the show is an unseen narrator (Jon Hamm) who provides ‘educational’ insights into the mental and emotional status of protagonist David Haller with various anecdotes.
While the Mad Men actor’s pleasant voice could merely be just another factor to add to the weirdness of the show Hamm’s presence could actually be leading up to a direct connection with the main X-Men film universe and potentially a greater villain than even Haller’s nemesis Amahl Farouk: geneticist Nathaniel Essex, better known as Mister Sinister.
Who is Mister Sinister?
Sinister is one of the X-Men’s most persistent and dangerous villains. Originally a Victorian scientist, Nathaniel Essex was the first to discover the X-gene and potential for physical mutations. After being cast out of the scientific community in disgrace he was taken into the service of the ancient mutant Apocalypse, who used his technology to give Essex enhanced abilities and brain power.
In the comics, Sinister is known for his extraordinarily long-term and ruthless manipulation of people and events in order to achieve his goals and his obsession with the DNA of certain mutants, mainly that of X-Men leader Cyclops. Aside from the abilities granted by his master Apocalypse, which include telekineses and virtual immortality, he possesses the vision and technology for extraordinary feats and research into genetics that surpass nearly every other Marvel scientist.
Jon Hamm, New Mutants and ‘Essex Corp.’
Hamm had been cast as Sinister for at least one scene in the upcoming New Mutants movie, indicating that the villain is the main instigator and manipulator of the movie’s events. Recently released information by Fox and director Josh Boone indicates that Sinister’s presence will be either downplayed or entirely removed from the film, which has already experienced notorious setbacks and reshoots that pushed it from a 2018 premiere to a tentative 2019 one.
John Hamm /Getty Images
New Mutants wouldn’t have been the first movie to have signs of Sinister’s presence or to exclude him from the final cut. X-Men: Apocalypse has an after-credits scene that shows a sample of Wolverine’s blood being taken to the mysterious ‘Essex Corp’.
This was meant to hint towards Sinister’s creation of Wolverine’s clone Laura and lead up to his being a major villain in Logan (2017). The casting of British actor Richard E. Grant as an unnamed villain seemed to point even more heavily towards SInister’s presence
Sinister, however, failed to make it into the film. Director James Mangold pointed out that the villain was too comic-book to fit into the more grounded and grittier tone of Logan. The geneticist and villain behind the creation of Laura and the other cloned and genetically engineered mutant kids were instead Zander Rice. Portrayed by Grant, in the comics Rice was one of the main minds behind Laura’s creation.
While Hamm’s Sinister may not appear in the movies anytime soon it’s entirely possible that he could have a presence to some degree in Legion. Sinister’s interest in Cyklops’s genetics could easily be switched over to an interest in David Haller’s, an incredibly powerful mutant and the son of the famous Charles Xavier. His immortality and ability to orchestrate events from behind the scenes could fit in very well with the setting and premise of the show, as well as the narrative role.
Legion airs Tuesday nights on FX at 10 p.m. Eastern.