Yesterday saw the release of the first trailer for Bryan Singer's new X-Men television series, The Gifted. The show centers on Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer), a government official seemingly responsible for protecting the world from those with superhuman abilities, who finds out that his own teenage children are mutants. If that plot sounds somewhat familiar, the show may have taken a cue from the Claire and Noah Bennet story in season 1 of Heroes. Also taking a focal role is one of Magneto's many children, the mutant Polaris (Emma Dumont), whom the trailer suggests is a recent captive of Strucker's.
Unlike the other X-Men TV show that debuted this year, FX's Legion, The Gifted promises to be loosely attached to the established series of X-Men movies. However, given how convoluted the cinematic timeline is, expect a more casual connection rather than the intertwined narratives of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Nevertheless, the trailer features a number of nods towards the wider X-Men universe including the possible inclusion of the Sentinels, an array of established mutants such as Blink, and the intriguing line "the X-Men, the Brotherhood, we don't even know if they exist any more." While even the most casual viewers will know who the X-Men are, for those unfamiliar with the franchise, who are The Brotherhood? And what possible impact could they have upon The Gifted?
The Brotherhood almost certainly refers to The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, also known as The Brotherhood of Mutants or "that group of bad guys Magneto is in charge of," and were the primary antagonists in the very first X-Men movie, making appearances in other installments thereafter. Although traditionally enemies of Charles Xavier and his mutant pals, the Brotherhood and the X-Men have teamed up on multiple occasions in order to defend mutant-kind against threats such as The Sentinels, Apocalypse and raging anti-mutant tool William Stryker. With The Gifted seemingly taking place in a world where mutants are actively hunted, chances are that if The Brotherhood do make an appearance, they'll be focused on defending their own kind, most likely in their typically violent style.
Although most often thought of as the brainchild of Magneto, The Brotherhood is no different from other comic team-ups in that the leadership and members fluctuate constantly. Aside from the master manipulator of metal, the group has been led by the likes of Mystique and Toad and has included names such as Rogue, Havok, Scarlet Witch, Sabretooth and Angel among their ranks. One thing all members generally have in common, however, if that they've suffered at the hands of anti-mutant prejudice which has subsequently caused them to subscribe to the Brotherhood's anti-human leanings. With mutant diversity clearly not thriving in The Gifted, there could soon be a rush of figures signing up to the Brotherhood, if it still exists in the show.
Possible Role in The Gifted
Although it's too early to pinpoint exactly where The Gifted takes place in the timeline of the X-Men universe (if indeed it does fit neatly in), the line about the X-Men and the Brotherhood does give some clues as to the relation between the movie universe and that of The Gifted. For instance, both groups publicly known and are famous/notorious depending on your point of view. However, the two groups are seemingly defunct, at least as far as the masses are concerned. This somewhat echoes a line from the trailer of Logan, which saw Wolverine reminding Charles Xavier that the X-Men - and indeed most of mutant-kind - had been wiped out. Crucially, the line ensures the status of The Brotherhood is left ambiguous, suggesting that although the group may not be prominent in public, they could still exist in the shadows.
It's unlikely that they would be mentioned in The Gifted's trailer if they weren't going to play at least a small part in the narrative and the show's anti-mutant climate could facilitate this. There have been periods in The Brotherhood's comic history where the group has been less like megalomanic villains hellbent on world domination, and more akin to a terrorist cell keen on furthering their political agenda. A group of this sort (even if not explicitly part of The Brotherhood) will surely feature in The Gifted in some way, and could offer the runaway mutant protagonists safe harbor. Whether The Brotherhood would have retained their evil spirit or if dwindling numbers and hard times have turned them into guerilla-style survivalists will be one of the key questions surrounding the group's potential appearance.
Expectations should be tempered somewhat, however, as the appearance of big-name Brotherhood members such as Magneto and Mystique is highly unlikely. With those characters central to the movie series and the show taking place in roughly the same universe, The Gifted will likely be restricted to working with slightly lesser-known characters. This may be where Polaris comes into play. As the most famous daughter of Magneto whose rights aren't owned by Marvel Studios, it's plausible that the renegade mutant could form a new strand of her father's Brotherhood that is dedicated to fighting back against the mutant hunt taking place in The Gifted. The trailer already shows Polaris working with a team of other mutants to rage against the anti-mutant machine and help out their own kind, could this be a re-jigged version of The Brotherhood?
Of course, the mention of The Brotherhood and X-Men in the trailer may just be a way of orientating viewers with the franchise's wider universe - letting them know that those groups are off the game-board in this story. It could even be a red herring or marketing tactic to attract fans keen to see familiar faces. But with the politically charged nature of The Gifted and the focus on the human vs. mutant struggle, it seems only natural that the group would emerge in some form or another.
The Gifted premieres this Fall on Fox.