'The Gifted' Trailer & Panel Recap: New Mutants, New Sentinels, No X-Men [Comic-Con 2017]

While Marvel Studios is preparing to play with their weak-sauce version of mutants in the form of Inhumans over at ABC (which doesn't look very good at all), it looks like FOX might be the place to go if you're looking for a better angle on people who just so happen to have superpowers.

The Gifted is a new series written by Matt Nix (Burn Notice), directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, X-Men: Days of Future Past), both also service as executive producers alongside X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner, X-Men franchise writer Simon Kinberg, as well as Jessica Jones and Daredevil producers Jeff Loeb and Jim Chory. It's been coined as an X-Men series, but that's not entirely accurate because, in this series, the X-Men have disappeared for reasons unknown, leaving other mutants to fend for themselves as a government organization hunts them down and prosecutes them for using their powers.

FOX brought The Gifted to San Diego Comic-Con to show off some new footage from the series, and they also debuted a new trailer introducing us to the mutants who will be on the run in this promising new comic book series coming to TV this fall.

The Gifted Trailer

First up, let's start with a new The Gifted trailer, which debuted during the Comic-Con panel:

The trailer sets the stage for the series as Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer), a man who prosecutes mutants for a living, learns along with his wife Caitlin (Amy Acker) that their teenage son Andy  (Percy Hynes White) and daughter Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) are both mutants. Forced to turn his back on everything he knows and everything he believed in, Reed decides to take his family into hiding with the help of a team of mutant fugitives who help others like them find safety.

Helping the Struckers are Marcos Diaz, aka Eclipse (Sean Teale), Lorna Dane, aka Polaris (Emma Dumont), John Proudstar, aka Thunderbird (Blair Redford), and new recruit Clarice Fong, aka Blink (Jamie Chung). The two groups work together to go into hiding as the relentless government agency known as Sentinel Services, including Agent Jace Turner (Coby Bell), is in hot pursuit, complete with a new kind of Sentinel in the form of little robot spiders.

X-Men Films Ranked

Where Are the X-Men?

While there are mutants in the world, as the trailer indicated, the X-Men are nowhere to be found. The reason for their disappearance is unknown, and it's a mystery that is being employed both because of how expensive it would be to use the X-Men on television and also because it sets the stage for an intriguing mystery that will run throughout the show.

No matter where the X-Men are, it's important to remember that this series does not take place within any X-Men timeline that we're familiar with. Writer Matt Nix says there are many different streams of X-Men stories, and The Gifted is not tied to any comic book or movie universe in existence, but much like the various stories that have been told over the years, the series will share some of the same characters, Blink being the first one. Still, Nix reiterates, "We're doing our own thing."

If you need any more evidence of that, Lauren Shuler Donner echoes those sentiments when she says, "It's so far away from the movies, it exists in its own universe. We wanted to make sure they don't cross over so they can stand on their own." To further confirm that, when asked whether The Gifted could ever cross over with Legion, especially since FOX and FX are in the same family, the answer was a definitive no.

The Gifted

Who Are These New Mutants?

It might seem a little weird in the trailer above since Andy Strucker and Lauren Strucker aren't cool X-Men names like Thunderbird or Polaris (which I doubt we'll even hear uttered in the series since all the footage was shown during the panel had the characters calling each other by their real names), but these are the two new mutants who are at the center of The Gifted.

In footage shown through extended clips presented during the Comic-Con panel, it was clear that Lauren has known about her powers for awhile, and she's not surprised to learn that her brother has them too. The big problem is that Andy's powers manifested themselves in the middle of a high school dance because a few classmates decided to take him into the school shower and rough him up. Andy almost brought down the entire high school gym, and now Sentinel Services is on their trail.

Since these are teenagers who are still figuring out their powers, is there a chance these characters will become X-Men that we're familiar with? Matt Nix explained how they're approaching the development of Andy and Lauren as characters, including their powers, and hinted that their ultimate identity might be a big reveal that comes down the road:

"[With] Andy and Lauren, their powers are drawn from the lore of the comics that we'll draw on as time goes on. That's a big secret that you'll see revealed as time goes on." Nix talked about how we often see mutants in the X-Men movies with their powers already fairly well-developed, but the writer said they wanted to see "How can we roll those powers back and where did they start."

Nix says we'll see Andy and Lauren's abilities develop along with their personalities because the manifestation of their powers comes from the source of their feelings at the time they're revealed. That's why Lauren can create shields because as a teenage girl she felt like she needed to protect herself. For Andy, he has a bully who creates rage inside him, and when that rage is released, it can be pretty powerful. As for what X-Men these two young mutants could become, that will be for the audience to guess at as time goes on.

the gifted tv spot

Final Thoughts

For me, what makes a show like The Gifted work infinitely better than something like Inhumans is, well, everything. The tone is grounded and realistic with just the right touch of sci-fi. It's more akin to the original X-Men, but with a less hammy dialogue and more confidence in who these characters are. This is a show that doesn't really have to explain what mutants are, or try to, convince audiences that superheroes are cool. But it does have to invest you in these two groups of people so that you want them to survive.

Furthermore, The Gifted holds so much more relevance today. Producer Derek Hoffman said during the panel, "X-Men has always been about protecting "the other," and we want to use the show as a mirror to explore the problems we have today. We're going to look at the world we live in through the lens of the show." X-Men has always been about diversity and acceptance, even in the face of opposition, and during these troubled, divisive times in our nation, there should be plenty of resonance that comes from this series.

The Gifted is coming to FOX this fall on October 2, 2017.