After more than 15 years of making X-Men movies, Fox has finally brought Marvel’s mutants to television. But why now?
Fox’s move to television began with Legion earlier this year, focusing on Professor X’s son, but its second X-Men television series, The Gifted, is a somewhat more traditional X-Men tale since it focuses on a group of mutants fighting for their survival in a world that fears and hates them.
While visiting that Atlanta set of The Gifted, ComicBook.com asked stars Emma Dumont, who plays Polaris, and Jamie Chung, who plays Blink, about why they thought 2017 was the right time to bring the X-Men to television. Dumont did not mince words.
“The X-Men have always been about outcasts, and our show is straight-up about bigotry,” Dumont said. "About vile, vile bigotry, and we need to see that on TV.”
Chung spoke more to the specific storytelling advantages that a television series has compared to a blockbuster film.
“I also think there’s more of an opportunity to play out different storylines, more intimate storylines, than what you have on screen,” Chung said. “It is the golden age of television, and I think there is opportunity there to tell a lot of smaller stories versus the big X-Men stories, so it's nice that they’re finally taking advantage of that, but its a very different take.”
“It's more intimate, overall,” Dumont concurred.
With four episodes of The Gifted’s first season having aired, the show has exemplified both Dumont and Chung’s points. Overall, the series has presented the struggles of mutants as a metaphor for the disenfranchised in society, specifically using the metaphor of the Mutant Underground to key into the issue of illegal immigration.
The Gifted has also told more intimate stories than what fans are used to from the films, including one that Chung’s Blink is currently caught up in involving an unorthodox mutant “love triangle” between herself, Thunderbird, and Dreamer after Dreamer used her mutant power to insert some of her intimate memories of herself with Thunderbird into Blink’s memory.
In a separate interview with Blair Redford, who plays Thunderbird, the actor spoke about what the storyline means for his character
“I think Thunderbird is upset with Dreamer doing what she did,” Redford explained. “He also sympathizes with her reasoning that she was trying to save the team. He's not a very open guy with his feelings so I think it's the last situation he wants to be a part of. He doesn't want to have to explain to Blink what happened, but the fact that it's not explained makes it very awkward when she's around him because obviously, he knows that she has fake implanted memories of the two of them. It's a hard place for him to be in, but it makes it fun to watch I suppose.”
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.