Sean Bean’s Legends has quite literally been plastered everywhere at Comic-Con. The question is, does it live up to the hype?
Everywhere fans look in San Diego, there are sides of hotels, taxi cabs, and even airport walkways that have been plastered with Legends branding and the franchise’s hashtag #DontKillSeanBean. Ironically, though Bean’s image is everywhere, the actor is not in attendance this week.
At the screening of the first episode of Legends, Bean recorded an intro apologizing to the fans for not being able to be present. He had some meta fun talking about his absence. Bean joked that it was a good thing that he wasn’t present since when he dies he takes out innocent bystanders. He then, in full Boromir voice stated, “That one does not simply walk into Comic-Con without bringing footage.”
Legends is essentially a Mission Impossible-like new drama from TNT. Unlike Mission Impossible where many characters have many identities each week, these characters have a few identities (A.K.A. “legends”) that they have been playing for months or even years.
The key to Sean Bean’s character is that he is the best at holding onto his “legends”. They are seamless. At a roundtable session with executive producer Howard Gordon, he referred to Sean Bean’s character as “…the ultimate method actor, Unfortunately, he’s so good he sometimes can’t separate his real life from his legend’s life. Does that make him crazy, highly-competent, dangerous, or all of the above?”
Co-star Ali Lartner plays Bean’s tough as nails handler, Chrystal McGuire, who is concerned that he isn’t up to the job. She sees him as too much of a lone wolf who disregards the rules and endangers himself and other agents. Lartner spoke about “not wanting to play her as the stereotypical woman in power.” She explained, “I wanted her to hold onto her femininity. She is so much more than dark suit with a ponytail and no make-up.”
Tina Majorino plays new kid on the block Maggie Harris who provides tech support for those in the field. Think of her like a supped-up Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds. Like Lartner, Majorino spoke about wanting her character to be proud of her feminine side and to be inspirational for young girls. “It was so important to me that they didn’t dress her dowdy. You can be smart and cute. You don’t have to hide your smarts. I think it’s a very important message we have to send.”
In the first episode, the audience is sucked into Sean Bean’s “legend” as an out-of-work, demolitions expert who has taken up with a militia group. There is no trace of the charismatic Bean as he transforms into a physically awkward, middle-aged American hick with a stutter. He has to balance holding onto this character with the support of his team, and his real life (that is not so different than the legend that he has created) as he infiltrates the group to stop a terrorist attack. Their backup becomes especially important when his identity is questioned, and everyone has to improvise on the fly.
Showrunner Howard Gordon has high hopes for the series as he feels it’s not “a crime procedural show.” Rather, it’s much more about the drama caused in the lives of those who take on a “legend” and what effects those experiences have on their lives. Can they just shake off experiences and say, “it’s just the job,” or will these “legends” bring deep seeded baggage?
Legends premieres at August 13 at 9 p.m. eastern/8 p.m. central on TNT.