In order to explore brand new aspects of X-Men lore and save some money in the process, The Gifted imagines a world where the X-Men have vanished and the mutants who remain are hunted down by the government. But could this brave new world exist in the same dystopian timeline as Logan?
Where Are The X-Men?
"The X-Men? The Brotherhood? We don't even know if they exist anymore! We're alone and we are getting picked off one-by-one."
Reference is made to the X-Men and their mysterious disappearance in the pilot episode of The Gifted, but what remains unclear is exactly what happened to them in the first place. Fortunately, show runner Matt Nix shed some light on this during an interview with Comic Book Resources, explaining that:
"People don’t know where they’ve gone. They are shrouded in mystery. It comes out gradually over the course of the series that there’s been a cataclysmic event, a bit of a 9/11 event, that caused enormous social upheaval and a lot of hatred towards mutants. It’s somehow related to the disappearance of the X-Men and the Brotherhood."
Anyone who's watched Logan may find this explanation a tad familiar. After all, the dystopian future depicted in Wolverine's final film came about following the Westchester Incident, where an aging Professor Xavier lost control of his powers and paralyzed over 600 people, killing some in the process.
Whether some of the X-Men survived or not, this cataclysmic disaster would certainly qualify as a "9/11 event," one that could spark unprecedented resentment toward the mutant population. The Gifted also makes reference to how mutant powers are less strictly regulated in Mexico, which just so happens to be where Logan and Xavier end up seeking refuge too. Does this mean that both Logan and The Gifted are connected by the same Westchester Incident?
Is 'The Gifted' Set In The Same Timeline As 'Logan'?
Officially, it seems unlikely that The Gifted is set in the same timeline as Logan. After all, reports from those involved are rather muddled when it comes to explaining where The Gifted resides in the ever convoluted X-Men timeline. Speaking to IGN, Matt Nix explained that:
"The movies, which take place from whatever, they started in 2000 to now... they don't all line up perfectly. You know what I mean? So it's not like, I'm not slavishly fitting myself into a particular slot. But at the same time, if you like that world, if you like the world of the movies, there are definite nods to it. It definitely exists in the same general kind of universe, if that makes sense. [...] It acknowledges that events like the events that have happened in the movies have happened, you know what I mean? But it's not to date... it's still evolving."
While Nix admits that The Gifted exists in "the same general kind of universe," the specifics are glossed over somewhat. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner complicated things further when she suggested to IGN that the X-Men themed TV shows and movies won't intersect after all:
"Because we play with so many different timelines, and we rebooted and not really rebooted and all that, we felt like, OK, we're going to throw it out there and hope the fans accept it. The cinematic universe will not worry about 'Legion'. They will not worry about these TV worlds at all. They will just continue in the way that they have been continuing, and there is some great stuff that we are developing. I can just say it's going to be new and different, and yet 'Legion' and 'The Gifted', we're not going to get in each other's way."
It's worth bearing in mind though that Donner never explicitly states The Gifted operates within a different timeline. In fact, actor Stephen Moyer hinted that there's potential for the show to connect with the movies at a later date if necessary, explaining to eTalk that:
“But in terms of timeline, because obviously we just had Logan which was a lot further forward and obviously Legion which is a lot further back. So, we definitely slot into a timeline, but as of yet, we’re not allied. I think they have given themselves a lot of leeway in order to be able to go places, but we’ve enough story within our universe to propel us forward without having to do that."
At the end of the day though, we're more likely to see Jean Grey die and actually stay dead than ever live to see the #XMen movies and shows directly connect. Legal wrangling aside, it's hard to imagine the Hollywood stars involved reprise their roles for The Gifted and there's a whole host of continuity issues to consider too. However, that doesn't mean that The Westchester Incident or something remarkably similar can be ruled out from affecting The Gifted completely.
How 'The Gifted' Could Still Connect With 'Logan'
The Westchester Incident took place at an unspecified point between 2023 and 2029 during the six-year interim between X-Men: Days of Future Past and Logan. While we still don't know exactly when The Gifted is set, the show certainly does include some futuristic tropes, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine the story playing out a few years from now.
Furthermore, Professor Xavier makes a number of references to the original X-Men trilogy in Logan, despite the fact that Wolverine's final film occurs in a different timeline. This implies that events that we presumed were overwritten by Days of Future Past could still have played out in a similar way that we don't yet understand. If that's true, then perhaps The Westchester Incident or something extraordinarily similar still took place in The Gifted timeline, even if it isn't directly connected to #Logan. Instead of being connected in the same specific timeline, the two stories may parallel each other in almost identical ways, yet technically play out in alternate realities still.
Whether #TheGifted reveals that The Westchester Incident was responsible for the disappearance of the X-Men or something else entirely, the only thing we're certain of is that the X-Men timeline is more messed up than Xavier's mind in Logan. Let's just hope that The Gifted airs long enough to answer some of these questions before the Sentinel Services destroy the mutant underground in the blink of an eye.
How do you think The Gifted could connect with the X-Men movies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!