We're a long way from the X-Men ever crossing over with the Avengers on the big screen, but Marvel Television and Fox are working together on a series of "X-citing" live-action TV shows. The first, Noah Hawley's Legion, launched to both popular and critical acclaim earlier this year. Now we're in the final buildup for the second, Matt Nix's The Gifted. Fox is in the middle of a massive promotional push across the country, and as part of that they've just released the first six minutes online.
A Dark And Dangerous Time For Mutants
It looks as though The Gifted drops us straight into the action, with the mutant resistance reaching out to help a runaway who's just escaped a Mutant Detention Center. The runaway in question is Jamie Chung's Blink, a fan-favorite teleporter created back in the '90s, and with that power it's no wonder the cops can't keep her contained. At the same time, it's clear that the police of The Gifted are a force to be reckoned with; they easily track the teleporter, although we don't get a hint as to how.
This stunning clip gives us a thrilling taste of all the heroes' powersets, and also establishes the relationships between the members of the mutant underground. The romance between Sean Teale's Eclipse and Emma Dumont's Polaris is touching. Interviews and teasers have suggested Lorna is literally the only one Eclipse can touch without harming her with his light-based powers, so there seems to be a touch of the classic Rogue/Magneto romance from the comics to their dynamic. Polaris has been presented as the leader of this underground cell, but the comic book character has never been known for her emotional stability. True to form, The Gifted shows Lorna forget herself in a fit of anger when her lover is injured.
Probably the highlight is Blair Redford's Thunderbird, whose tracking abilities are demonstrated through some tremendous special effects. This character is one who was never developed in the comics, as Thunderbird was killed off shortly after his introduction in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Unusually for the X-Men, his death has stuck, meaning only the most basic character beats have been established in the comics. It makes this character a real wild card going forward, especially considering the tone and style of The Gifted seems remarkably comic-book-accurate.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Incredibly, these opening six minutes don't give us much of a glimpse of the stars of the show. Rather than introduce the Strucker family, the clip instead sets the stage with mutants being hunted by the police and kept in detention centers. The introduction is dark and foreboding, establishing a world in the grip of fear and prejudice. It's so very true to the X-Men's core concept, a superhero critique on so many social issues.
That isn't to say these first six minutes are irrelevant to the overarching plot, though. We know that Stephen Moyer's Reed Strucker is an agent of Sentinel Services, responsible for policing the world's mutants, but that his life is turned upside-down when he learns that his own children are mutants. It's a wonderful homage to the classic "Fall of the Mutants" posters from Marvel's comics back in '87, which asked a single ominous question: "Do you know what your children are?"
Lorna's capture teases two possible directions for the series. On the one hand, it's possible that Reed will break Lorna out in the hope she'll take his family to the mutant underground. Another alternative is possible too: the underground will insist that Reed helps them rescue Lorna in order to earn their trust. It's going to be interesting to see which approach the series takes.
The partnership between Marvel and Fox has already given us one of the best superhero shows in years, Noah Hawley's Legion, and right now The Gifted looks every bit as promising. Comic book fans will be thrilled to see so many second-and-third-tier characters brought to the small screen, especially in what seems to be such a faithful way.
The Gifted will premiere on Monday October 2nd.