"There's a war coming. Are you sure you're on the right side?"
Heed the wise words of Storm (Halle Berry), uttered in the very first X-Men movie directed by Bryan Singer almost two full decades ago. They still apply as we forge forward with a new Marvel mutant endeavor, Fox's The Gifted, even if Storm and Halle Berry are nowhere in sight — an idea that applies to the X-Men at large, really, even if Singer at least is involved in this series as an executive producer and the director of the opening episode.
In The Gifted, viewers are thrust into a parallel present world where mutants are a known quantity, and are persecuted as a result. The concept of the X-Men very much exists, too, even if it's an organization that has faded into the background under mysterious circumstances. Even without the Storms and Phoenixes of the world, The Gifted pushes forward with more than a few familiar mutant names in its roster, as well as some brand new characters with impressive abilities and emotionally fraught stories. Read on to learn more about the organizations and individuals most at the heart of The Gifted, premiering October 2.
You know the X-Men, but you won't see them in The Gifted. The legendary superhero team is MIA at the start of the series, the exact circumstances surrounding their absence still unknown, at least to the viewer. For now, all we know is this: the X-Men are "gone," and according to showrunner Matt Nix, we'll learn more about what happened to them: "This is definitely not a show about, 'Where did the X-Men go? We have to run around and save them!' It's not that at all. But we're not done with them. It's definitely an important mystery. It's something we're going to explore."
Like the X-Men, the Brotherhood of Mutants are missing in action when The Gifted begins. Like the X-Men, the circumstances surrounding their absence are unexplained. There's a massive connection between one of the most prominent members of the Brotherhood and one of the new show's series regulars, so it's safe to say these militant pro-mutants will have an important role to play in the future of the narrative. According to Nix: "The X-Men aren't the only ones who are gone. The Brotherhood are gone, too. That's another thing that will unfold over time. But we're not running around trying to find the characters from the movies."
Unlike the X-Men and the Brotherhood, the Sentinels are still around, at least in some form: Sentinel Services, a deadly organization dedicated to tracking down mutants and imprisoning them, and worse. Through the pilot, Sentinel Services comes in the form of a mechanical spider-like weapon, as well as one consistent human face: Jace Turner (Coby Bell), razor-focused and dedicated in his work as a professional mutant hunter.
The Strucker Family
The family at the heart of the series, the Struckers, are forced on the run at the start of The Gifted, thanks to an unexpected mutant incident that brings patriarch Reed's (Stephen Moyer of True Blood fame) work as a mutant-prosecuting attorney home to roost. Reed's wife is Caitlin, who through the pilot is most noteworthy for being played by Amy Acker, an icon in the geek space for her work in the Whedonverse, the final season of Alias, Person of Interest and more. Their children are Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), whose relationship with mutantkind kickstarts the main action of the series, or at least the pilot.
Marco Diaz (Sean Teale)
Also known as Eclipse, Marco is a brand new character created specifically for The Gifted. With that said, there are aspects of Eclipse that feel like a hodgepodge of a few different figures from the X-Men mythos, including Sunspot, aka Bobby da Costa, with the ability to manipulate solar power. Eclipse's powers are similar, in that he emits bright white lights from his body, a gift he can use for both offensive and defensive maneuvers. In terms of personality, Eclipse is rougher around the edges, almost the Wolverine of the series in attitude alone, though his connection with another character in the series places him more on the Summers side of the line...
Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont)
Also known as Polaris, Lorna is very much from the comics, and excitingly so! Created by Arnold Drake and Jim Steranko and first appearing in X-Men #49 in 1968, Polaris is one of the original mutants in the Marvel Universe, if only in terms of publication. She's also one of the most fascinating characters on a familial level, as she's the daughter of a prominent mutant. Her own skills as a magnetically inclined mutant should give away the person who may or may not be her father — someone part of an aforementioned missing organization, in fact. Polaris is well known in the comics for her bright-green aesthetic, hair included, and her romantic affiliation with Alex Summers, aka Havok, brother of Cyclops. These aspects of the character have been altered for the series: subdued shades of green and a love interest outside of the Summers family tree.
John Proudstar (Blair Redford)
Also known as Thunderbird, John Proudstar is another classic mutant being brought to live action for the first time, with extraordinary senses that make him an expert tracker. The hero first appeared in 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1, created by the late Let Wein and the late Dave Cockrum, as one of the new mutants brought in to shake up the X-Men lineup for the first time since their creation more than a decade earlier. He did not survive much further than that. Indeed, Thunderbird is most known for his death shortly after joining the X-Men, with his brother James — aka Warpath — becoming the more prominent hero of the Proudstar siblings. Will Thunderbird suffer a similar fate in The Gifted, or will the television take on the character make it further than his comic book counterpart?
Clarice Fong (Jamie Chung)
Also known as Blink, yet another popular mutant from Marvel Comics, and not the first time we've seen her in live action. Blink appeared as recently as X-Men: Days of Future Past, as part of the future group of X-Men battling it out with the Sentinels. The character in The Gifted will have much more to do than the version played by Fan Bingbing in the 2014 film, with Matt Nix telling THR: "In the comics, she's this very mouthy and interesting character with a huge personality. In Days of Future Past, she's a great character. She's super cool. But I think she says two words, right? To me, our Blink is more drawn from the comics." The Blink of the comics, by the way, hails from an alternate universe where Charles Xavier died before founding the X-Men, leading to the rise of supervillain supremacy in the Age of Apocalypse. If The Gifted veers off into AoA territory, the series has the potential to be one of the coolest live-action superhero projects in recent memory.
The 1992 X-Men
Okay, you don't have to know about the X-Men from Fox's classic animated series... but that said, if you are familiar with them? You're in for a treat.
The Gifted premieres October 2 on Fox. Let us know your expectations for the series in the comments below.