The Gifted is at the halfway point of their freshman season, and things are looking good for the latest Fox TV offering. The Gifted is doing a great job of combining the fun stuff about mutants (appealling powers and abilities) with the grittier elements of this world (government crackdowns, discrimination, life on the run), and fans are excited to see where the Strucker family go next.
There are still plenty of questions that fans of The Gifted are asking, though, and the biggest one is 'where does this fit with the rest of the X-Men on screen'? The Gifted has named-dropped the X-Men more than once, and it's clear that there are lots of connections between this series and the movies. However, there is no clear link in terms of timeline, and The Gifted hasn't crossed over directly with the films (yet). Last week, in 'got your siX', and this week in 'eXtreme measures', we learned a little bit more about where this legendary team is in The Gifted, although it seems that things still aren't entirely straightforward.
The X-Men Cinematic Universe
Of course, fitting a new series into the larger X-Men cinematic universe is complicated further by the fact that Fox's mutant world isn't straightforward at all. It's a vast, sprawling universe that takes place over multiple timelines and has already been rebooted and included at least one alternate future. The primary timeline re-started in 2011 with X-Men: First Class, while the follow-up, X-Men: Days of Future Past cleared the timeline up with the use of an alternate future. At this point, the central film franchise exists at a point somewhere in the '80s/'90s, where the classic X-Men team are still teens. Deadpool, meanwhile, exists at a point not too far in the future, where the X-Men still live in the mansion and are active, and Logan takes place in a far future (which may or may not be an alternate one), where the mutants have been almost entirely wiped out. Legion, the first X-Men TV series, also reportedly exists in this same massive world, although there is absolutely no telling where in the timeline it sits.
It's also been stated by producer Lauren Schuler Donner that both Legion and The Gifted exist in their own 'astral plane' of the X-verse, and are not directly connected in one world. Creator Matt Nix has also played it safe with the idea that the X-Men and The Gifted are connected-but-not, saying that they are one of the many timelines spinning off from the primary films:
"The idea is that this is definitely its own universe. We’re not in the same exact timeline as any particular movie or comic, but that said we do share some characters with the movies and comics. The idea is we’re doing our own thing. As they say, there are many streams."
Connections Between The X-Men And The Gifted
Despite this feeling that The Gifted are doing their own thing, there are plenty of ways in which it could intersect with the films. The Sentinels have appeared in Days of Future Past, where they were able to destroy the mutants of the world in one dystopian future. In The Gifted, a different kind of Sentinel exists: the Sentinel Services. A government agency, rather than a humanoid battle-bot, this kind of Sentinel is still determined to wipe out the mutants, but isn't having quite the same success as those we've seen before.
In addition, there are plenty of characters who exist in both worlds, although there have been no direct crossovers (as of yet). Polaris (Emma Dumont) is probably the biggest name in The Gifted, as the daughter of Magneto, but she hasn't mentioned her famous father yet (so it's very probable that she's unaware of the connection). The Struckers themselves are a nod to the comics and the Von Struckers. Blink (Jamie Chung) is also a familiar name from both the comics and the film franchise, as a version of the character also appeared in the alternate future of Days of Future Past, although played by a different actress (BingBing Fan). All of these could still just be considered callouts to the comics, of course... but The Gifted does also name-drop the X-Men themselves.
The Gifted's X-Men References
The Gifted's X-Men References
The Gifted has mentioned the X-Men a few times since the pilot, but those mentions have been somewhat conflicting (just to confuse the fans even further). In the first episode, Eclipse (Sean Teale) name drops both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, saying that "we don't even know if they exist any more". Then, in 'got your siX', Thunderbird (Blair Redford) brings the X-Men up again, saying that the X-Men chose him to be a part of the revolution, and that they said a war was coming. Finally, in this week's 'eXtreme measures', a flashback to three years ago shows Thunderbird telling Eclipse that "the X-Men are gone" and now it is up to the resistance to help the mutants survive.
Combined, these mentions seem to suggest that both the Brotherhood and the X-Men not only existed in this universe, but were very well known in the recent past. The Resistance had some kind of contact with the team at the start, in order for them to choose members and to predict a war, but have obviously fallen off the radar since; no contact, no public appearances. It seems that while some members of the resistance are clinging to the idea that the X-Men will return to fight by their side, others have given up, and believe that they are all that is left of the mutant race. What's yet to be explored is how, exactly, the X-Men disappeared.
Will The X-Men Appear On The Gifted?
While The Gifted may not be part of the same timeline as the primary X-verse, that doesn't mean that there is no possibility of a crossover or some cameos in the future. The X-Men have now been mentioned several times, and it feels like the Resistance may go looking for the fabled team. If nothing else, they'll want to find out what happened to them, so that they can prevent it happening again. With the Brotherhood also existing in this world, it seems likely that Polaris may explore exactly how she gets her magnetic powers; the combo powers of the Strucker kids are already showing how mutant families can be stronger than solo mutants, and the relationship between Polaris and Magneto is a great way to explore this further.
Of course, nothing is confirmed yet, but as the first season of The Gifted wraps up, it looks like the X-Men aren't off the table just yet.
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9pm on FOX.