The Gifted premiered last week on FOX. This new television series features superpowered teens just discovering their mutant powers in the X-Men universe.
New York Comic-Con hosted a panel on The Gifted on Sunday of the convention weekend, with the audience completely filling the auditorium at the main stage of the Javits Center. Fans were treated to a preview of the next episode of the show, followed by a panel with executive producers and all of the cast.
Show creators first discussed how the show came about. The initial idea was to create a television show in the X-Men universe using some old characters and some new ones, but centering the storyline around family. In The Gifted, what we know of the story so far involves the Strucker family and their two children, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White). The kids discover their mutant powers, but Andy inadvertently destroys their school and injures the bullies who had picked on him. In this setting, that type of use of mutant abilities is illegal and causes the authorities to come looking for the children. To add another complication, their father, Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer), works as a prosecutor, putting mutants behind bars, or sending them to special detention centers. The entire family is forced to go on the run, meeting up with an underground network of rogue mutants.
The main antagonist at the beginning of the series is Jace Turner (Kobe Bell), part of the Sentinel Services, a federal agency (and portrayed as more sinister than the local law enforcement that Reed Strucker worked with). During the panel, Kobe Bell was asked if Jace is just doing his job, or does he have more of a personal reason for participating in the anti-mutant movement. Kobe told the audience that we will learn more about his character’s background in upcoming episodes. He had some tragedy in his past that has contributed to his personal views, but mainly feels like he is just a guy doing his job. He also hinted that there will be other antagonist characters in upcoming episodes that will make Jace seem like a nice guy!
Amy Acker, who plays the mother in the show (Kate Strucker), commented that one of the themes of the series will be to show how these characters change. At the outset, they live a fairly privileged life, even profiting upon the problems of mutants. Once it directly affects their family, they learn to see the issues from another point of view and have to deal with the consequences of the current laws that they had either accepted or at least been only passively questioning.
For the children, Lauren and Andy, their characters will also question who they are. Percy (Andy) thinks that his character sees his new powers as a way to help him find himself. He has been a bit of an outcast who wanted to be special, but instead felt forgotten most of the time (except by the bullies at school). With the awakening of his mutant abilities, he can be somebody.
Lauren (Natalie) has known about her powers for a couple of years, but has kept them a secret. She has accepted what she is, at least superficially, but knows that mutants are treated differently. She does not want to be thrown out of her social circle and believes that her powers almost take something away from her own identity. However, when she has to reveal herself to her family and others, it gives her a new connection to her brother.
Polaris appears as one of the members of the underground mutants in this series as character Lorna Dane (played by Emma Dumont). She has been an established character in Marvel’s X-Men universe and can use magnetism to manipulate metal. One of the aspects of her character that Emma emphasized in the panel is Lorna’s long-standing untreated bipolar disorder. The show is going to portray this as the season goes on. Emma was also very excited when she was asked to simulate catching bullets (later added in digitally) in the series.
One of the most exciting new characters is Eclipse (Sean Teale), with abilities to manipulate photons. In the opening of the show, this is mostly shown as he projects beams of light from his hands. Sean stated that since Eclipse lacked an established backstory, he was able to have more freedom to be creative with the character.
The Gifted is written by Matt Nix and directed by Bryan Singer and is on Mondays on FOX.