'The Gifted' Will Feature More Recognizable Mutants, Was Inspired By 'District X' [TCA 2017]

Fox presented a Television Critics Association panel on their fall X-Men drama The Gifted. Creator and sho runner Matt Nix announced at the end of the panel that a recognizable mutant from the X-Men comics will appear in the second episode of the series.

"Elena Satine comes in in the second episode," Nix said. "She plays a character called Dreamer, who's from the comics. Her power is the ability to remove or implant memories in people. It's a really sexy power and it's a really fun character who has a romantic connection with Thunderbird. We get to explore some love triangle stuff through her. One of the things about her character is that's a really sexy power that isn't a gigantic power. We're not blowing up a building with her. She has this smoke she can blow in people's faces. It's not gigantic and it doesn't involve a six week CG build."

The Gifted is set in a time when the X-Men are gone and people with the mutant gene are being rounded up. When the Strucker family discovers their kids have the gene, they team up with a group of mutant rebels. While not based on a specific run of X-Men comics, Nix said he took thematic inspiration from the series District X.

"One thing I think is really exciting about doing an X-men show on television is we really get to explore the mutants' relationship to the larger world, and not have to deal with a team wearing uniforms, [and can] really explore society," Nix said. "I looked a lot at some of the more obscure runs that didn't deal with the central superhero mythology. I loved District X, which was just about a district in New York. It's where the mutants are. You're following around Bishop, who's a cop. It was sort of a procedural. This show is not a procedural at all, but it was seeing mutants in society, dealing with crime, drugs, their relationships to each other. They're dealing with very grounded reality and it's not about fighting crime all the time. It's about society, relationships, that kind of thing. We didn't take any characters from it. It was one of my favorites."

Bryan Singer directed the Gifted pilot and Nix said he brought his expertise in portraying mutant powers on screen. "In a very Bryan Singer-y way, he'll go 'We've got to do something better,'" Nix said. "We went through a lot of art images. We were looking mostly at artistic pieces in museums. I found this one image that I was really excited by. Bryan said, 'That's it.' I was like, 'It might be expensive.' 'I don't care.' You've seen a lot of force fields. One of the things we were really thinking about is how do we make this feel original?"

The disappearance of the X-men was designed to answer some questions about how The Gifted fits in with the movies. Nix said it also allows the show to exist in a different corner of the movie's world.

"In our world, one of the things we'll be unpacking is the specific relationship of this group of characters to the X-men," Nix said. "It's in the trailer. The X-Men are gone. That's not a dodge. It's a thing in the show. We're going to be exploring it and it's a huge deal to these guys. It's a huge deal in the world. It's one of the central mysteries of the show and one of the things we'll be exploring. There's a whole historical mythology and that relationship. There's not going to be a situation where the television show is driving the movies or the movies driving the television show because the mythology that we're telling specifically avoids that. It doesn't avoid it by pretending the X-men don't exist or they're just doing stuff over there and nobody pays attention. In this world, there's a thing called the X-men team. There's a group of people that sometime wear uniforms and sometimes don't wear uniforms and are lead by a bald guy in a wheelchair. As a fan of the X-men writ large, there are tons of characters, some of which are sitting on this stage. To anyone saying it's X-Men adjacent, I give you Polaris, queen of magnetism. She is not a minor character. Blink is a major character."

Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb added, "If you're trying to make a direct connection between the X-Men films and the television series, the better way of looking at it and perhaps a reason for the X on [the title] is if you're an X-men fan and you go to the comic book store every Wednesday, you know there are other books that live within this world. He mentioned District X. It's very common. It's a very large spread huge number of characters that are mutants and live within that world. That X is a shorthand for mutants."

The Gifted premieres Monday, October 2 on Fox.