It's a great year to be an X-Men fan. 2017 has already seen the launch of FX's Legion, a head-spinning adventure that unveiled the threat of the Shadow King. Now, we're eagerly awaiting Fox's The Gifted, the story of a mutant family who go on the run from a whole new type of Sentinel.
The series premieres on Monday, October 2nd, but in the run-up to an SDCC panel, we've been given an intriguing introduction to the stars of the show...
The ill-fated Andy Strucker, played by Percy Hynes White, seems to share his sister's telekinetic ability. Unlike Lauren, though, he lacks self-control — and for a telekinetic, that's dangerous. The first trailer teases that Andy is the one who unwittingly exposes the Strucker family's secrets, leading to them going on the run.
Jamie Chung has stepped forward as a powerful mutant teleporter, one who X-Men fans will recognize with just one glance. The character was originally created by Scott Lobdell and artist Joe Madureira back in the '90s, but was promptly killed off as part of the "Phalanx Covenant" event. However, because these are X-Men comics, and death is something of a revolving door, Blink was resurrected a decade later in the "Necrosha" event.
Blink is most famous for her appearance in 1994's "Age of Apocalypse," an alternate-reality event that revealed a timeline in which Apocalypse ruled. This version of Blink was an actual member of Magneto's X-Men, and wound up joining the reality-hopping Exiles. Blink looks set to make a return as part of #MarvelLegacy's Cable series later this year.
Amusingly enough, fans of the X-Men films will recognize Blink too as we've already seen a live-action version of the character before. Bingbing Fan played Blink in the future sections of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Amy Acker is taking on a starring role in The Gifted, playing a mother whose worst fears are realized when her children developed mutant powers. The Gifted looks set to focus in on the twin issues of family and prejudice, with Caitlin Strucker insisting that she stands by her children. Her story is set to be one of both desperation and ferocity, and Acker is sure to bring a real emotional depth to the role.
Sean Teale is playing a mysterious energy-manipulator known as Eclipse. Many fans believe he's based on the New Mutants/X-Force member Sunspot, at least in terms of powers, but this intriguing video suggests that they're very different characters. While it's great to see some fan-favorite characters in The Gifted, including some new ones is a smart move; X-Men fans will have no idea what to expect.
One of the mutant Strucker children, Natalie Alyn Lind looks set to play a starring role in The Gifted. The trailers tease that this mysterious new mutant is a telekinetic of phenomenal power who looks set to turn her family's lives upside-down.
Fans are particularly excited to see a live-action version of Polaris, played by Emma Dumont. The Mistress of Magnetism is actually Magneto's daughter in the comics and she subsequently inherited all of his power. Polaris is an X-Man of long standing, and in The Gifted appears to be the leader of an underground "railroad" that ferries mutants and their families to safety. She's also target number one for the Sentinels.
There have been hints that The Gifted may well connect (albeit loosely) to one of the X-Men timelines, so Polaris's comic book origin could well be retained. It's going to be fascinating to see how The Gifted handles a character with powers on the scale of Magneto...
In this timeline, the Sentinels are essentially a police force dedicated to dealing with the "mutant problem." For Reed Strucker, work suddenly becomes personal when his children are exposed as mutants. His love for his family overwhelms years of prejudice and fear, and soon Stephen Moyer's character is on the run from the men and women he used to work alongside.
Fans are fascinated and intrigued by the Strucker family, who are original characters. At the same time, though, their surname may link them in to a powerful family of X-Men villains known as the Von Struckers. Only time will tell whether or not the Strucker family has a deeper secret, one that runs all the way back to the Second World War...
Sentinel Agent Turner
Coby Bell will play Agent Turner, one of Reed's colleagues — and is likely to have a major role in the hunt for the Strucker family. Over in the comics, the Sentinels are usually giant robots. That said, during the '90s we saw the so-called "Sentinel Primes," androids who could mimic human appearance and live among us until they encountered a mutant and their programming was triggered. So we can't rule anything out when it comes to this new incarnation of the Sentinels...
Thunderbird is a classic, albeit ill-fated, X-Man who was created back in the 1970s — and promptly killed off. He's a Native American mutant powerhouse with enhanced senses and tracking skills, and the video suggests Blair Redford's version of the character will be pretty true to the original.
Interestingly enough, this little video suggests that the family are split up, with the mutant underground tracking them down before the Sentinels can get to them. If this is true, then Thunderbird's tracking skills will be essential.
Fox has already proved that X-Men spinoffs can be phenomenally creative, and hopes are high that this series will be as powerful and dramatic as Legion. The Gifted promises to give us a fresh new window into the world of the #XMen, exploring some of the comics' central themes of prejudice and redemptive love. Looking back at every project the cast has starred in before, #TheGifted looks to be in safe hands. Speaking as an X-Men fan, I couldn't be more thrilled!