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How THE GIFTED Will and Won’t Connect to X-MEN

Marvel is taking over the world, one television show/movie/comic book at a time. In addition to ABC, Netflix, Freeform, and Hulu, the next network set to debut a Marvel series is FOX with The Gifted, a new drama set in the X-Men universe. The Gifted stars Stephen Moyer (True Blood) as Reed Strucker, a father working for the anti-mutant leaning government who discovers his two teenage children are mutants themselves, completely blowing up his entire world view. Forced to go on the run, Reed and his family enlist the protection of an underground mutant network and become a part of the growing resistance fighting for mutant lives and freedom.

But with an already established and extensive X-Men movie universe, how is Marvel going to connect The Gifted with the mythology and characters fans already know? As Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb always says, “it’s all connected.”

“The general feeling is the show lives in the spirit of who the X-Men are and certainly acknowledges it along the way,” Loeb said at the 2017 Summer TCA press tour. “If you’re trying to make a direct connection between the X-Men films and the television series, if you’re an X-Men fan and you go the comic store every Wednesday, you know there are other books that live within this world. It is a very large spread, huge number of characters that are mutants and live within this world. We’ll meet more characters as time goes by that fit within that world.”

Executive producer Matt Nix revealed that along with Blink (Jamie Chung) and Polaris (Emma Dumont) who are both in the pilot, popular X-Men character Dreamer (played by Elena Satine) will be introduced in episode 2.

“Some of the connections are not connections to the movies, they are connections to the larger mythology in the universe of the X-Men,” Nix said. “So watch and see.”

Unlike how little Agents of SHIELD references the Avengers by name, both Nix and Loeb promise that the X-Men are going to play a huge role on The Gifted, even if those classic characters won’t show up. In fact, when the pilot picks up the X-Men have disappeared from the world, and every mutant will be worried about where they’ve gone.

“In our world, one of the things we’ll be unpacking is the specific relationship of this group of characters to the X-Men,” Nix said. “The X-Men are gone and that’s not a dodge. It’s a thing in the show and we’re going to be exploring it. It’s a huge deal in the world and it’s one of the central mysteries of the show. There’s a historical mythology. There’s not going to be a situation where the television show is driving the movies or the movies are driving the television show because the mythology we’re telling specifically avoids that.”

One of the differences between the X-Men movies and The Gifted TV show is how each deals with mutant powers. In the movies, there are training montages to show mutants learning how to use and deal with their powers. On the show, that will be a much longer and more difficult journey.

“We get to see characters as they develop their powers,” Nix said. “Blink for example has a very tactile relationship with her powers. It’s very difficult for her. That’s something that’s going to evolve. Powers are constantly evolving and there’s a profound relationship between the characters and their powers.”

And Chung knew all about Blink from the X-Men movies. “Blink was very essential to Days of Future Past,” she said. “Fan Bingbing just flicked her wrist and opened portals. That’s not our character at all. She opens portals out of fear, not if she’s trying to save someone.”

But how will The Gifted connect to the comic books? Nix revealed he did not base the TV show off of any specific comic book runs. However, “there are elements that are inspired by various runs,” he said.

“What we started with was what would be an exciting way to set a show in the X-Men universe that’s appropriate for what television does well where we can focus on this longer form storytelling,” Nix said. “We really get to explore the relationship of mutants to the larger world and really explore society. I looked at some obscure ones like District X … but we didn’t take any characters from it. It was one of my favorite ones so we just started from there.”

Are you excited to see a live-action X-Men TV show? Which characters do you hope will show up on The Gifted? Tweet me at @SydneyBucksbaum and let’s discuss!

Images: FOX

The Gifted premieres Monday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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