Warning: This article may contain SPOILERS for The Gifted.
Even before FX’s X-Men-related Legion was declared a success, producers Lauren Schuler-Donner and director Bryan Singer teamed with showrunner Matt Nix (Burn Notice) to concoct a new drama. The Gifted centers on two teens, whose recently discovered mutant abilities, as per usual, don’t sit well with the rest of the world.
Scheduled to air next fall on FOX, the forthcoming series just dropped its first trailer, which follows the Struckers, a family on the verge of disintegration. Caitlin Strucker (Amy Acker) is separating from her husband Reed (Stephen Moyer) – who works for the government, arresting mutant ne’er-do-wells. But his family life and career are about to collide headfirst when his kids realize their own “gifts.” Fortunately, the Struckers aren’t alone in their burden. The first trailer introduces viewers to several mutants whose names and powers have very curious links to the X-Men world at large.
On The Gifted, Jamie Chung plays Clarice Fong, who goes by the codename of Blink. While not the most well-known member of the mutant band, her character first appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – and was portrayed by Fan Bingbing. Writer Scott Lobdell and artist Joe Madureira debuted Blink (as Clarice Ferguson) in Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994). Sadly, Clarice only survived for about a month but was later retconned back to life, quickly became a fan-favorite character. Over the years, she led the time-traveling Exiles and also served with the New Mutants and the X-Men.
Merely hinted at in the preview, Blink’s powers are impressive and extremely useful, as she’s capable of teleporting people and equipment over great distances. While her mastery over her skills was dodgy at first, she later refined her them and was able to direct them into javelins and safely transport energy or physical attacks away. The Gifted also took a few liberties with her comic book look, as Blink is classically endowed with pink skin, Vulcan-like pointy ears, and green eyes without pupils. Her punky costume and unique eyes are very reminiscent of her DOFP get-up, though, and her abilities seem to mimic those traditionally ascribed to her – although it’s unclear how well she can handle them (her lack of control resulted in her comic book death).
Clarice is also distantly related to cult favorite character, Chamber, who would be a fun guest or recurring character on The Gifted once it gets rolling.
Portrayed by Blair Redford, John Proudstar, or Thunderbird, enjoyed a brief, if legendary, connection to the X-Men. Scribe Len Wein and artist Dave Cockburn introduced the Apache mutant in Giant-Size X-Men #1, which first teamed up characters like Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. His creators quickly realized that his power-set and characterization were too similar to Logan and sadly killed him off two issues later. Proudstar remained dead for over two decades, before a short resurrection, during the “Necrosha” event (and then again during “Chaos War”, where he helped defeat the Chaos King).
In the comics, Thunderbird was known for his superhuman strength and stamina, as well as an enhanced endurance, musculature, and skin. While Redford only appears in the trailer briefly, fans can assume he’ll possess similar capabilities. Like Blink, he also sports an updated look, eschewing his vaguely stereotypical ’70s costume for a sensible vest and Native American-inspired necklace, as well as a “Semper Fi” tattoo which indicates a tour of duty in the Marines (in the comics, he served during Vietnam). Proudstar also has a brother named James, or Warpath, who was a member of the militant Hellfire Club-offshoot, the Hellions, before signing up with X-Force, who’d make a fantastic cameo or Easter Egg. Assuming Thunderbird’s TV version survives a bit longer than his comic book counterpart, he represents a powerful ally for the Struckers.