'The Gifted' Nearly Cut Its 'X-Men: The Animated Series' Easter Egg

The season premiere of FOX’s new X-Men-based show The Gifted featured a huge nod to the animated series that ran on the network two decades earlier, but it almost didn’t make the final cut.

Creator and showrunner of The Gifted Matt Nix spoke about the easter egg which had a character’s phone ring with the X-Men: The Animated Series iconic theme song, revealing to the Hollywood Reporter that it was close to being omitted.

“Honestly, we did it initially as a joke for the cut,” said Nix. “Then we were like, ‘No, we have to do this.’ We were told we couldn't do it, and we basically said, ‘No, really, this needs to happen. We're doing this.’”

The easter egg takes place in a scene at the underground mutant’s hideout in Atlanta. Eclipse and Blink, played by Sean Teale and Jamie Chung respectively, are devising a plan to save their captured friend Polaris, played by Emma Dumont.

While they’re attempting to figure out how to break into the mutant detention center where Polaris is being held, Eclipse gets a surprising phone call from Reed Strucker, played by Stephen Moyer. And wouldn’t you know it, Eclipse’s ringtone is the X-Men animated series theme song.

“It's one of those things where there aren't a lot of those battles you get to win when you're making a network television show, but that one?” Nix said. “We knew it cost more money than a regular ring tone, but it's so much fun so we're doing it. Pay the money. I was very happy we got that.”

Given that it’s a Marvel show based on one of the publisher’s most popular stable of characters, it makes sense that there would be nods and callbacks to some of the most memorable moments and aspects in the history of merry mutants. There’s even an obligatory cameo from Stan Lee in the first episode.

And though the inclusion of the theme song might have began as a gag, it quickly became important to the production.

Asked if the song could pop up again, Nix was hopeful.

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“It might reoccur! We don't want everyone to just be waiting around for it.”

The Gifted’s second episode, “rX,” airs Monday, October 9 on FOX.