We're in the final run-up for the launch of Fox's X-Men spinoff The Gifted, and little by little we're getting more of a sense of what to expect. So far, the overall direction of the show remains a mystery; Fox recently released the first six minutes, and they gave us an all-action introduction to the mutant underground, but didn't introduce us to the Strucker family.
Now, though, showrunner Matt Nix has just blown the lid on a defining character arc in the series. It turns out that, just as in the comics, #EmmaDumont's Lorna Dane, a.k.a. Polaris, will actually be the daughter of Magneto.
A Troubled Relationship
Nix has clearly taken inspiration from the #comics themselves. When we were first introduced to Lorna, she was just another mutant — albeit one whose magnetic powerset was very familiar to the fans. It was only in 2003 that Marvel finally confirmed what had long been suspected, that Magneto was actually her biological father. Tragically, we eventually learned that the first outbreak of Lorna's powers led to a plane crash, killing her foster parents. Magneto himself intervened, erasing her memory of the incident out of compassion for his daughter.
#MattNix has confirmed that this version of Polaris will be true to that concept. He explained to CBR:
"Our version of Lorna rolls back the clock to when she didn’t know everything.. As you know from the comics, it’s a little murky. It’s not like she’s living at home with Magneto and eating cereal."
It seems that a major theme of The Gifted will be Lorna's learning the secrets of her tragic past. When the series kicks off, she has no idea she's related to #Magneto. Toward the end of the season, Nix confirmed that some of those suspicions will come to the fore, forcing her to ask what it means to be the daughter of Magneto. Perhaps the most fascinating part of this is that we, too, have no idea what this will mean; we don't know what the Magneto of this timeline is like, after all. All we can say for certain is that he seems to have been a significant figure. Nix teased us with some haunting questions: "Does she accept the mantle of her birthright? Is it her job to be Magneto in his absence?"
It's clear that Nix truly wants to honor the original comics. The comic book version of #Polaris has long struggled with mental illness, and this version will have the same battle. Intriguingly, another aspect that Nix is considering is her relationship with the fellow X-Man Havok. The two have been an on-again-off-again couple throughout the history of X-Men comics (they're currently off-again), but Nix is wary of introducing a new version of Havok. That character is too firmly established in the movies, so that relationship either has to be far in the future or far in the past. Instead, the Polaris of The Gifted is in what promises to be a touching relationship with another member of the mutant underground, Eclipse.
Appropriately enough, that particular relationship seems to be a smart reversal of one Magneto himself shared with Rogue over in the comics. Magneto's powers allowed him to neutralize Rogue's, meaning they could safely touch (and a lot more than touch). In the same way, Eclipse's photonic powers render him unable to touch anyone without killing them. Only Lorna is immune, using her magnetic powers to protect herself and allow the two to share a relationship.
The shadow of Magneto will clearly haunt The Gifted. At SDCC 2017, Matt Nix clarified that this timeline "is its own universe," that it doesn't exist in the same timeline as any of the movies or comics. In this timeline, the #XMen have disappeared, and it sounds as though Magneto is just a legend. The experience of learning she's Magneto's daughter will no doubt shake poor Lorna to the core...
The Gifted premieres Monday 2nd, on Fox.
What are your hopes for The Gifted? Let me know in the comments!