X-Men’s greatest human characters

As The Gifted digs into characters from the fringes of the X-Men world, we salute some of the franchise's finest humans...

The X-Men, as a franchise, is all about mutants trying to peacefully coexist with (and protect) the humans that hate and fear them. This means that there are a lot of human characters in the franchise – some of whom hate and fear the X-Men, and some of whom are the haters and fearers.

Fox’s new X-Men show, The Gifted, has already shown that it’s willing to use characters from the fringes of the X-Men franchise, and furthermore, unlike the X-Men movies, humans and mutants working together is built into its premise. The Strucker family isn’t 100% mutant, after all. (Well, so far as we know.) That got us wondering: aside from the ones who have appreated in the movies, which human characters from the X-Men franchise – the good and the bad – might we like to see in the show…?

Trish Tilby

She’s cameoed in the movies before, but Trish Tilby – a human news anchor – has frequently been both friend and antagonist to mutantkind with her honest reporting of their activities. We can totally see how a media-savvy personality might make for an interesting addition to The Gifted, whether she’s attempting to tell the stories of a family on the run, or digging deep into the politics of those attempting to capture them.

One thing Trish probably won’t be doing is getting into a relationship with Hank McCoy, aka Beast, as she did in the comics – although they were, for a time, the prime example of a human-mutant couple, they ultimately broke up when Trish broke the story that the Legacy Virus – previously an affliction to mutants alone – had begun to infect humans.

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Charlotte Jones

NYPD cop Charlotte Jones was a nurse who joined the police after drug war crossfire killed her husband and paralysed her son. It’s was this that brought her into contact with the mutants of X-Factor as they attempted to contain and rehabilitate mutant threats in New York. She became sympathetic to the team after Archangel saved her life, recognising that mutants weren’t all evil and dangerous, and went on to aid the X-Men for years in a number of capacities, even forming a romantic relationship with Warren Worthington III.

And hey, as for her showing up in The Gifted, let’s face it – a family on the run from the government needs any help from the authorities that they can get.

Valerie Cooper

Hard-edged government security advisor Valerie Cooper is the officer for mutant affairs for the US government (and, easter egg fans, has an FBI agent brother who once found a girl wrapped in plastic). Although happy to work with and befriend mutants, Valerie is near-unique in being a supported or mutant rights while still recognising the threat they pose.

This does mean she gets involved in some excessively shady government schemes, such as the US Government sentinel stockpiling programme, Project: Wideawake, and the attempt to sponsor the Brotherhood of Mutants as a government super-team called Freedom Force. But she’s also got the respect of Nick Fury for her work. She’s principled and professional, but ultimately someone mutants want in their corner – not least because she has the ear of those in charge.

Harry Morrell

The owner of a bar in Salem Center called ‘Harry’s Hideaway’, Harry has the privilege of owning the drinking spot favoured by members of the X-Men, and that means he’s probably got insurance bills bigger than the Blob. Luckily the patronage of the combined Xavier/Worthington fortunes keeps his bar open despite attracting the kind of bar-fights that could level the entire city.

Harry himself is as pro-mutant equality as they come, because ultimately all he cares about is that they buy a drink in his bar like everyone else. No wonder he’s one of Wolverine’s few close friends. And hey, if they wanted to put him in The Gifted, who says he hasn’t franchised out?

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Simon Trask

Bolivar Trask, creator of the Sentinels, appeared in X-Men: Days Of Future Past as played by Peter Dinklage, which broadly puts him out of the running for The Gifted – but his brother, Simon Trask? That’s another story.

This member of the Trask family had a similar anti-mutant agenda to his brother, but with fewer giant robots. Instead, he established the hate-group Humanity’s Last Stand – but more interestingly, he also secretly ran a fake terrorist group – the Mutant Liberation Front – to stir up anti-mutant sentiment and swell the HLS ranks.

Clearly, the Trask family has a reputation to maintain, and Trask can cause trouble for mutants on two fronts, both fighting them directly and turning sentiment against them. A formidable opponent for sure.

Graydon Creed

The son of Mystique and Sabretooth, a quirk of mutant genetics means the child of mutants may not be a mutant themselves – and indeed, that’s the case with Graydon Creed. Abandoned by his parents as an inconvenience, Creed was disgusted to find out he was the son of two of the biggest mutant terrorists around, and overcompensated in a big way by creating the ‘Friends of Humanity’: a hate group dedicated to bringing down mutants. Worse still, he parlayed his success as a political loudmouth into a run at the US presidency that was only stopped by his assassination.

If we’ve learnt anything from the last few years of global politics, it’s that hate groups have a terrifying ability to create sympathisers and shift discourse in their favour. Since Senator Kelly, the X-Men’s usual political rival, was shuffled off the mortal coil in the first X-Men movie, Creed could prove an equally terrifying and apposite spokesperson for politically-entrenched hatred.

The Gifted is on FOX on Sunday nights in the UK, at 9pm.

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