The X-Men have been at the center of animated projects and live action films since the '90s, so fans have had plenty of time to get to know the likes of Phoenix, Cyclops, and Storm. But starting this week, they’ll be able to get to know a few new mutant faces in The Gifted when it premieres on FOX.
The Gifted is inspired by the stories told within the X-Men family of comic books, and so is set to feature a few faces from the comics, but many new characters have been created for the television series. Not unlike Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, the show won’t adapt one specific storyline, but will be set in a familiar comic book world and follow the themes addressed in the source material.
Following a family where the two teenage children discover they’re mutants, The Gifted is set in a world where the X-Men have vanished and mutants are hunted down for the genetic quirks that give them their powers. In addition to the family seemingly created for the show, there are a few mutants who have been hiding out from the government who did get their start on the page.
The Gifted will feature Polaris, Thunderbird, Blink, and more who have ties to the comics, but who might not be as well known to modern movie and TV audiences. We’ve got a primer for you with The Gifted: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Show’s Mutants.
15 Eclipse Is Brand New
Thunderbird, Polaris, and Eclipse appear to be at the center of some sort of mutant resistance movement in The Gifted, but one of them never appeared in a comic book.
Eclipse AKA Marco Diaz (Sean Teale) has the honor of being created specifically for the show. His ability is all about light. He can absorb and manipulate photos, which means he can draw energy from light, or change the brightness of it.
There are other characters in the comics who can manipulate light in different ways, so it’s not clear why Eclipse was created for the show instead of adapting an existing character, but it means that his history will be full of surprises for fans who already know the comic book stories of other characters.
14 Blink And Thunderbird Get Second Chances
Versions of Blink and Thunderbird have already appeared in live action as part of the X-Men franchise - and they even popped up in the same movie.
Blink, played by Fan Bing Bing, appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past in the future-set scenes, teleporting around the enemies and trying to distract them from Kitty Pryde and Wolverine’s time travel work. Booboo Stewart played Warpath, who did, for a short time, go by Thunderbird in the comics. Thunderbird was actually his older brother, and upon his death, he joined the Hellions for revenge.
Neither character had a whole lot of screen time, lines, or characterization, but hopefully, The Gifted will be able to rectify that, with Blink and Thunderbird credited as main cast members. X-Men fans are likely crossing their fingers that they both make it to the end of the season.
13 Blink’s First Teleportation Was Bloody
In the comics, Blink gets her name from her mutation, which allows her to use energy to “blink” people and objects to new locations. Clarice Ferguson (though her name is an alias in the new series, where she’s being played by Jamie Chung) has a variation of teleportation abilities, but she hasn’t always had great control over them.
While readers weren’t treated to much about Clarice’s childhood when she was introduced, what they did learn was that her abilities could be violent when used on a person. The first time she used her teleportation powers, it was accompanied by her waking up in a pool of blood, though it’s not clear if it’s hers or someone else’s.
The Gifted has demonstrated that Clarice’s powers could be just as violent, as the first six minutes (released early) show her teleporting only part of a police car that was caught up in her portal.
12 Shatter’s Origin Is Tragic
Shatter’s real name has never been revealed in the comics, but maybe we’ll get to find out more about him when he makes his live action debut as a supporting character for The Gifted. His codename has a bit of a tragic backstory to it, though.
A teenager when his mutant abilities (which include rock-like and nearly impervious skin) manifested, Shatter was terrified of what being a mutant would mean for him. His character was introduced during a time when mutant hate was already well established in the comics.
Shatter, wanting to prevent himself from being ridiculed, tortured, or worse, decided to do the job for those who would hunt him. He attempted to shoot himself, but instead of killing him, the bullet shattered a section of his rock-like skull, leaving a crater and cracks on the surface of his new skin.
11 An Alien Named Polaris
Lorna Dane has had plenty of codenames in her day. (Her first was Magnetrix, inspired by her ability to manipulate magnetism.) Her most famous one, and the one that stuck, was given to her by a member of an alien race.
The Shi’ar, an alien race that has a large presence within the X-Men comics, but has yet to appear on the screen, had many members find their way to Earth. One, an intelligence officer named Davan Shakari, actually gave Lorna a new costume, but it didn’t come without strings attached. He also exerted a form of mind control over her and her boyfriend, turning them against the X-Men.
It was while controlling her that he gave her the codename Polaris. After recovering from the ordeal, Lorna spent a lot of time away from the superhero life and getting an education. Specifically, she got a Masters degree in geophysics.
10 Thunderbird Lasted Two Missions
John Proudstar was introduced in the third X-Men team, but he didn’t last long with his new friends.
John was recruited along with Storm, Colossus, and more to rescue the original X-Men. That first mission was a success, but during the second, he didn’t heed Professor Xavier’s warnings and paid the price, dying in an explosion caused by him using his strength to repeatedly punch a plane.
The decision was actually made to kill him off, according to artist Dave Cockrum, because he was too similar in temperament to Wolverine. He has been written be the loud and sarcastic member of the team, but when all teams were united, it was too much ego for the panels. Chris Claremont told Wizard Magazine that it was writer Len Wein who decided Thunderbird would be the one to go instead of Wolverine, killing him off before readers got to know him very well.
9 Polaris Killed Her Parents
Even casual comic fans have learned that Polaris is really the daughter of Magneto, but she didn’t always know that growing up. Her mother had an affair with the Master of Magnetism, and she wound up with a very similar mutation to him. The first use of her powers, however, ended up being deadly.
As a young child, Lorna was on a plane with her mother and the man thought to be her father. He actually confronted her mother about the affair while piloting the private plane, and an argument broke out. Her powers were woken up by the argument that triggered Lorna’s emotional outburst, which in turn triggered her ability. The little girl let out a magnetic pulse that destroyed the plane’s instruments, causing a crash, of which Lorna was the only survivor.
The incident also caused her hair to turn green, something that stayed with her for the rest of her life.
8 Blink Is A New Mutant
Blink spent much of the time she was off-page in the comics being a heroic loner, as she wanted to make up for mistakes she’d made in her past. It was while she was following one group in particular (a band being controlled by aliens, as a matter of fact), that Cyclops decided to track her down.
At the time, the X-Men were split into two schools training mutants under different leaders - Wolverine at the Jean Grey School and Cyclops in Utopia. Blink initially chose to stay with Wolverine, but she eventually took original New Mutant Dani Moonstar up on her offer to join that team, acting as a reserve member in case of emergency.
Given that the movie and TV universes for X-Men, not to mention the timelines, look like they’re going to stay separate, we probably won’t be seeing any version of Blink in the New Mutants movie, which recently wrapped principal photography.
7 Sage Was A Sleeper Agent
Sage didn’t make her comic book debut until 2001, but a retcon revealed that the character was actually a sleeper agent for X-Men mentor Professor X way back in 1980.
Sage’s real name isn’t known, but she was originally introduced as Tessa in the comics, the personal assistant to Sebastian Shaw in the Hellfire Club. She essentially acted as a “living computer” for Professor X all the while, keeping tabs on Shaw and gathering as much intelligence as she could. He had actually recruited her to work for him at the same time he created his first team of X-Men.
In addition to acting as a living computer and working as a spy with many different names, Sage was also able to see the genetic code of people she encountered and determine whether or not they had the X gene that made them mutants. Just how the show will use her remains to be seen.
6 Morlock Character Inspiration
Two of the supporting characters making an appearance in the early episodes of The Gifted were not members of X-Men teams in the comics, but instead were Morlocks.
Morlocks were mutants who banded together to live away from human beings. Tired of being persecuted and demeaned, they started their own colony using the sewer system. (Caliban, recently seen on screen in Logan, was a prominent member of the Morlocks in the comics.)
Shatter and Dreamer, both slated to appear in the first batch of episodes, were Morlocks. Dreamer is inspired by the character known as Beautiful Dreamer on the page. She had the ability to actually change people’s memories using “dream smoke,” which she focused by smoking cigarettes. Elena Satine, who appeared as Lorelei in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., nabbed the role, while Jermaine Rivers will play Shatter.
5 Blink Gets Kidnapped
The first episode of The Gifted opens with Blink on the run from the authorities, and it’s not an unfamiliar place for her to be. Her origin story in both of the Marvel universes feature her being kidnapped at a young age.
When she debuted in an issue of Uncanny X-Men in 1994, she was being held captive by the Phalanx, who were experimenting on mutants. She didn’t escape; instead, she sacrificed herself so that X-Men held with her would be able to leave, using her teleportation abilities to “shred” the member of the Phalanx guarding her.
In a very different comic book universe, Blink became the leader of a team known as the Exiles, but her origin story wasn’t so different. As a child, her parents were murdered and she was kidnapped and experimented on by followers of Apocalypse. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she escaped.
4 Thunderbird Was A Marine
John Proudstar was a gifted athlete growing up on an Apache reservation, but he never really felt like he belonged. He studied the history of his people and wanted to prove himself to be a warrior, but his peers weren’t interested. He decided to become an actual warrior by joining the military.
Proudstar wasn’t actually old enough to enlist, so he lied about his age in order to join the Marine Corps. Enlisting during the Vietnam War, he became a corporal and earned several medals during his time as a Marine. Following the war, he returned to the reservation, but he still didn’t feel like he belonged amongst his people.
It was only a matter of time before his mutation manifested and he fought a charging bison - by picking it up and throwing it with his super strength.
3 Polaris Is An Alpha Mutant
Alpha mutants have serious power, so it’s certain that Polaris will exhibit some pretty cool abilities over the course of the show. In the comics, Polaris had a primary mutation involving manipulating magnetism, but she also had secondary mutations as well.
Lorna’s secondary mutation gave her the ability to increase her size and strength. Not only did her stature increase, but she also became invulnerable, though it wasn’t a mutation visited often in the comics. Instead, her manipulation of magnetism was focused on, which still allowed her a number of abilities.
She could fly, create force fields and electromagnetic pulses, absorb energy, control metal like her father, and even manipulate the iron within someone’s blood to change their bloodflow. The television series could have quite a bit of fun playing with her powers.
2 Blink Has Apocalypse Connections
Though it’s never been explicitly stated, comic book fans have noticed the similarities between Clarice Ferguson and Frederick Slade, a member of Clan Akkaba who worshipped the villain Apocalypse.
Frederick shares Blink’s pink hair and green eyes, as well as her ability to teleport. Frederick’s family are of Apocalypse’s bloodline, but Frederick’s story is a mostly tragic one, as his brother, vying for power within the clan, left Frederick in a vegetative state. Of course, Frederick hadn’t told anyone of his teleportation powers (in which he can blink people or objects to a new location just like Clarice) and was able to save himself and a few allies from Dracula as a result.
Frederick also had a child with a woman known only as “Ms. Ferguson,” so readers have been able to follow the family blood line right on down to Clarice.
1 The Strucker Siblings Might Have Comic Book Origins
So far, only a few characters have been confirmed as originating from the comics, but the running fan theory is that the teenagers at the center of the action might be inspired by a pair of siblings straight from the pages of Marvel.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was a villain in the comics, and he’s had a live action version make a (very brief) appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. His family was explored as well in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but his twins never appeared. In the comics, Andreas and Andrea went by the name Fenris, able to fire plasma and fly as long as they were in physical contact.
The previews for The Gifted don’t indicate Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) have the same power set, but that surname can’t be a coincidence, right?
Now that we’ve given you a primer on the mutants set to appear in The Gifted, who are you most looking forward to seeing in the coming season? Let us know in the comments!
The Gifted premieres on Monday, October 2 on FOX.