Tonight’s episode of The Gifted introduced another key feature from the “Days of Future Past” timeline of Marvel Comics. Could this be setting the stage for the introduction of an X-Man from the same timeline?
Spoilers for the fifth episode of The Gifted, “boXed in”, follow.
Tonight’s episode of The Gifted confirmed that the series will introduce the Hounds, a group of brainwashed mutants from the “Days of Future Past” timeline who were forced to hunt down other mutants to imprison in concentration camps. The Hounds were controlled by the cyborg called Ahab, an X-Men villain also appearing in The Gifted.
The most famous of these mutants is Rachel Summers, aka Rachel Grey, Phoenix, Marvel Girl, Prestige, etc. Rachel is the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey from the “Days of Future Past” timeline. She was forced to become a Hound when she was still a teenager, but, as she grew older and came into fuller possession of her Phoenix powers, she was able to break through her reprogramming.
The price of her freedom from being a Hound was to be sent to a concentration camp herself. There, as chronicled in the original “Days of Future Past” story, she was able to meet up with the last vestiges of the X-Men who hatched a last-ditch plan to send the consciousness of Kate Pryde, an older Kitty Pryde, back in time to prevent the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which was the inciting incident that led to the enactment of the Mutant Registration Act and eventually the dystopian future that Rachel was living in.
The plan was successful, though Rachel wouldn’t know it thanks to the way the multiverse and alternate timelines work at Marvel. Eventually, Rachel made her way to the present day herself and joined the X-Men. So then could she fit into The Gifted?
This is all speculation for now, but its possible there is a clue in the Hound insignia that was tattooed onto Pulse, Thunderbird’s former best friend who is the first Hound to appear on the show.
The insignia features radiating slim, pointed black lines, which seems to be a reference to the facial tattoos that were forced onto the hounds in the comics. At the center of these lines is a bird-like shape.
What that shape is meant to signify currently remains unclear, but it could be a reference to the Phoenix raptor that is Rachel’s calling card.
Since the Jean Grey of Earth-811, the “Days of Future Past” timeline, was able to control and coexist with the Phoenix Force rather than lose control and transform into Dark Phoenix, her child, Rachel, inherited the Phoenix Force and remains the most competent wielder of its power.
So here’s a theory. Rachel Summers was the source of the powerful explosion that caused the “7/15” disaster that has been referenced on The Gifted as a kind of mutant version of 9/11.
Somehow, Rachel Summers was captured. Upon realizing her incredible power, Rachel was turned over to Roderick Campbell, the pre-cyborg Ahab played by Garrett Dillahunt, who was somehow able to force Rachel to use her telepathic gifts to brainwash other mutants into becoming Hounds
The raptor shape at the center of the Hound tattoo is a reference to Rachel's power signature, which may have appeared during the 7/15 incident that first revealed her power to the public.
This could lead to a storyline similar to Rachel’s origins in the “Days of Future Past” storyline playing out on The Gifted.
Rachel would somehow break free of Campbell’s control, turn on him, and then go on the run with the Mutant Underground, adding the highest-profile X-Men character yet to the core cast of The Gifted.
Again, that’s all speculation, and it seems iffy that Fox’s movie studio would allow the television side to use any character named “Summers” or “Grey” instead of reserving her for the X-Men movies. Still, we feel like pieces could fit, and it's definitely a storyline we’d like to see.
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.