While The Gifted is bringing the X-Men to network television on Fox, that destiny was once meant for another show, titled Hellfire. Fox passed on the series and there's a pretty practical reason why.
Hellfire was to be based on the Hellfire Club, the powerful organization of the influential who have been villains in X-Men comics since the 1970s and who appeared in the movie X-Men: First Class.
Hellfire was ultimately scrapped in favor of pushing forward with The Gifted, and producer Lauren Shuler Donner gave a simple reason for why.
“It was too many characters and not enough depth of character,” Donner tells Entertainment Weekly.
That seems like a trap that Hellfire could easily have fallen into. After all, the Club’s inner circle alone is an ensemble of similarly ambitious personalities, all self-serving and self-interested. It's easy to see how the show could end up with a large cast of characters who were villainous in the same flat and boring ways.
Previously, Fox executives have said that Hellfire was canceled because the concept felt more like a movie than a television series and would take too much work and time out of the creators’ schedules to get right. That all sounds like it goes hand in hand with the problem Donner is explaining here.
Instead, Fox has The Gifted, a show about a family of mutants and the mutant underground. Based on the pilot episode “Exposed,” The Gifted has no shortage of characters or character depth.
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.