There is a trailer for The Gifted that is getting geeks all excited, because it looks pretty damn good. To paraphrase its own showrunner Matt Nix, it’s like the X-Men meets 1988’s Running on Empty (the River Phoenix movie about a family in hiding). However, there is one catch: the X-Men are not around. And we just don’t mean they’re off-screen. As they say in the trailer, “The X-Men, the Brotherhood, we don’t even know if they exist anymore.”
But thanks to The Gifted panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Den of Geek can confirm this is apparently set in its own universe/timeline/world… one that is defined by the absence of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
“Quite simply, right now, one of the things that comes out in the show is the X-Men are gone,” Nix revealed to thousands of fans in Ballroom 20. He then adds with a cryptic laugh, “Why are the X-Men gone? That is in the show.” Nix also teased it was out of financial obligations since the X-Men are cost prohibitive for a television series, but he also elaborated earlier that it helps when he views The Gifted as taking place in its whole separate timeline from the multiple ones in the current X-movie franchise.
“Generally, I think one of the great favors of Days of Future Past, I think for all of us, is it established there are many streams [of time],” Nix said. “So I think the one answer is we exist in one of those streams. So the idea is that this is its own universe. We’re not in the same exact timeline as any particular movie or comic. With that said, we do share some characters and things with the movies and comics… The idea is we’re just doing our own thing. And as I said, we’re doing our own thing.”
With that said, having watched the first act of The Gifted pilot that was directed by Bryan Singer, what they’re doing is very promising. As previously mentioned, the series has a nice on-the-run edge to it that feels different from every other shiny superhero property currently on network TV.
The pilot opens with Blink (Jamie Chung), having not quite mastered her power over portals, cutting through reality and evading cops. She is quickly recruited by equally hidden (albeit primetime glamorous) mutants, Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont), John Proudstar (Blair Redford), and Eclipse (Sean Teale). Yet, things quickly go sideways for this proto-mutant underground railroad. And that’s when things get really interesting, because the human tormenting them is a prosecutor (Stephen Moyer) who is otherwise depicted as a relatively decent guy and caring father/husband… even though he is pursuing cruel and bigoted policies against minorities.
This hook is deepened when he and his wife (Amy Acker) see their two children (Natalie Alyn Lind and Percy Hynes White) develop mutant abilities. This includes a high school dance sequence that is part Carrie and part of that tactile, lived-in feeling that Bryan Singer brought so well to the first two X-Men movies but has since left the franchise. He directed the pilot, and it is back in the best way here.
X-Men or no X-Men, The Gifted has every opportunity to live up to its title when it premieres on Oct. 2 on Fox.
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!