Fox is bringing the X-Men to the small screen this fall on The Gifted.
The Gifted follows a suburban couple, Reed and Caitlin Strucker (Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker), whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children (Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White) possess mutant powers — made more complicated by the fact that Reed works for the government in hunting down the mutant underground.
But the question remains: Where does The Gifted fit into the world of the movies — both the old generation headed up by Patrick Stewart and the new with James McAvoy?
“One of the great favors that Days of Future Past did for all of us is establish there are many streams, so one answer is we exist in one of those streams,” executive producer Matt Nix said Friday during The Gifted‘s panel at Comic-Con, moderated by Entertainment Weekly‘s Tim Stack. “The idea is that this is definitely its own universe. We’re not in the same exact timeline as any particular movie or comic, but that said we do share some characters with the movies and comics. The idea is we’re doing our own thing. As they say, there are many streams.”
Hence, the show can feature a character like Blink, who was portrayed by Fan Bingbing in Days of Future Past, but will now be portrayed by Once Upon a Time alum Jamie Chung. Among the other heroes we’ll see include Eclipse/Marcos Diaz (Sean Teale), Polaris/Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont), and Thunderbird/John Proudstar (Blair Redford).
That said, there’s a very specific reason why viewers won’t see the actual X-Men team on the show — a totally missed opportunity since Moyer is married to Anna Paquin, who played Rogue in the originals. “Right now, one of the things that comes out in the show is the X-Men are gone,” Nix revealed. “Why are the X-Men gone? That is a thing in the show.” Nix added with a laugh: “It’s not just that they’re too expensive for television, although that may be related. But there’s a unity of business and creativity and it comes together as the X-Men are gone, where did they go? To the other movies!”
For what it’s worth, EP Lauren Shuler Donner also confirmed the show will not cross over with fellow Marvel drama Legion. “I’m sorry to break your heart, no,” she said in response to a fan.
However, creating their own world allows Nix and the writers to toy with mutant powers in ways the contained films were unable to do before, like seeing a slower development of powers for newer mutants such as the Strucker kids. “The characters of Andy and Lauren, their powers are drawn from the lore and the comic books in a way that we’re going to explore as time goes on,” Nix said. “They don’t exactly know what they are and they’re still exploring that. The other big thing for all the characters is the idea that there’s a real relationship between the characters and who they are and what their powers are. It’s not an accident that prickly Wolverine has claws that came out of his fist.” Hence, a self-conscious young girl hiding her powers would naturally manifest them as a shield, while a boy being bullied would be more destructive — though those powers won’t necessarily be the same as they evolve as characters.
While the show won’t dovetail into the movies, viewers will see more and more mutants as the Struckers are forced to go on the run from a hostile government, joining up with an underground network of mutants that must fight to survive. “The mutants you meet in the pilot are part of this underground network that is inspired by the underground railroad,” Nix said. “Over the course of the series, it’s their struggle to survive and also to keep this going. There are a lot of people who need help. How do they keep this underground network growing?”
You won’t necessarily find the answers to those questions from the source material, as the show will be much more inspired by what’s come before rather than directly adapted. “There are definitely comic runs and things we’re going to be borrowing from,” Nix said. “A lot of the comics play as history for us. That’s the idea: To find things in the comics that we love and connect to and weave that into the show.”
The Gifted premieres Monday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.