This week, all of the broadcast networks are making their decisions about the Fall 2017 season: which of their current shows will return and which will not, as well as which new pilots will get picked up to series. The trailer for FOX's The Gifted reveals one of the promising new programs that the network will be unveiling in the fall; and, given the show's innocuous title, you may be surprised to find out when you watch the promo that the upcoming series is about the X-Men. Well, sort of. Is The Gifted connected to the X-Men movies? The answer is more complicated than you might think.
The series focuses on Reed Strucker (True Blood's Stephen Moyer), a man who arrests mutants for a living, whose life is turned upside down when he and his wife, Caitlin (Person Of Interest's Amy Acker), learn that their own two children, Lauren (Gotham's Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Between's Percy Hynes White), are both mutants themselves. The series was created by Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and shepherded to the screen by Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb (just like ABC's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., FX's Legion, and Netflix's Marvel universe). But it also has ties to the big screen mutant franchise as well.
Bryan Singer personally directed the pilot episode of The Gifted and you may know of Singer as the man who brought the popular comic book characters to the multiplex with 2000's X-Men and has since helmed three more films in the franchise (X2, Days Of Future Past, Apocalypse). Singer is also credited as an executive producer on the series alongside Loeb and Simon Kinberg — who co-wrote the X-Men films The Last Stand, Days Of Future Past, and Apocalypse. (Singer, Loeb, and Kinberg were all executive producers on FX's Legion as well.)
Another connection The Gifted shares with the big screen franchise is the character of Blink; although she's portrayed on the FOX series by American actor Jamie Chung (aka Once Upon A Time's Mulan); the portal-creating mutant was first played onscreen by Chinese actor Fan Bingbing in the future segments of Days Of Future Past. While other mutants from the comic books — such as Polaris and Thunderbird — will be making their live action debuts in The Gifted, the rest of the show's cast of characters (including the central Struckers) appear to be original creations by Nix.
So, is The Gifted an extension of the X-Men feature film franchise, or a standalone story? The answer is: both, sort of. The distinction lies in the difference between the word "mutant" and the term "X-Men." While all the X-Men are mutants, not all mutants are X-Men; the latter is a special team organized by Charles Xavier to fight Magneto and other forces of evil. But there are mutants who aren't on the X-Men team… and The Gifted is their story. Hence the show's tenuous connection to the big screen X-Men universe.
"In a sort of general way, it acknowledges that events like those that happened in the movies have happened," Nix told Collider in an interview last January about how The Gifted is related to the X-Men movies. "It's still evolving, so we'll see how much that comes in. But it's certainly not like, 'Since this happened in X-Men: Apocalypse, now all of these things are happening,' which I think is cool but [Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.] already did that." That being said, Nix also promises that there will be references and Easter eggs that fans of the films may pick up on: "If you like that world and the world of the movies, there are definite nods to it. It definitely exists in the same general universe."
Is The Gifted connected to the X-Men films in any sort of literal sense? Probably not. But in a more general sense, does it take place in the same world as those films? Yes — which should make the series fun to watch for both hardcore X-Men fans and uninitiated viewers alike.