The new Fox’s TV series “The Gifted” is a story of an ordinary suburban family which found out that the young members of the family have developed mutant like abilities. It has shattered the myth that a TV show based on popular X-Men universe can’t work without marque names like Wolverine, Xavier or Magneto. It is currently five episodes in and each episode is crafted to perfection with compelling characters and engaging script to boast. One does not need to be an X-Men buff to enjoy the show and that’s exactly why the show has triumphed in what it set out to achieve.
It is set in a world where mutants are not welcome and they deal with hostile environment courtesy July 15th mutant peace march that led to deaths of thousands of innocent people raising anti-mutant sentiment to historic levels. The government has made its priority to hunt these mutant criminals with everything they have got.
There are three amazing ways in which the show is very refreshing from the usual X-Men narrative. Firstly, in X-Men movies, the young mutants are abandoned and neglected by their loved ones and family as they are training in Xavier’s special school to learn to control their powers, on the other hand, in the TV show human parents can go to any extent to protect their mutant children. The parents evolve and become more accepting of mutant race while the entire humanity loathe them.
Secondly, the powers and abilities of children in Strucker family are unique and bad-ass. Moreover, the production value is high and special effects are top notch given the fact that it’s a TV show and not a big-budget movie. For instance, Lauren can move force fields while Andy has telekinesis abilities.
Thirdly, in X-Men movies, its usually “us vs them” narrative but in TV show they have to run not just from the government but entire human race who will not hesitate using violent means to take them down. Also, they understand why they are being hated by so many.
In 2016, we saw the third Wolverine movie that completes the trilogy and Hugh Jackman’s tenure as the iconic clawed superhero. The movie has made impressive box-office collections which is in excess of $800 million, making it among the top five R-rated movies. The movie is sitting on 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and is positively reviewed by all the major entertainment outlets. The character of Wolverine in the movie is inspired by “Old Man Logan” story. The story of Logan is set up in 2029 which is way past 2024, the year mentioned in the epilogue scene of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The new X-Men TV Series “The Gifted” may exist in the same timeline as Logan. Here’s what the studio said:
“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.”
Matt Nix, the show-runner further explained the details of the show:
“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.”
There is a degree of familiarity of this explanation with the dystopian future portrayed in Logan where mutant race came to an end and an old professor lost control of his powers and is killing & injuring people in the process. Further, Gifted makes reference to the fact that mutant powers are less regulated in Mexico, a place where Logan and Xavier seek refuge.
Matt Nix shed more light on whether Gifted exists in the same timeline. He said:
“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.”
The producer Lauren Shuler Donner complicated things and said:
“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.”
On the timeline, Donner had this to say:
“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.”
Well, there are many continuity issues and we have to wait and see how they connect Gifted with the Logan timeline. Here’s wishing all the very best to everyone who is part of X-Men universe.