Like all of the best X-Men stories, The Gifted will use bigotry against mutants to highlight real-world issues. Nearly from the beginning, the X-Men and mutants in general have been used by comic writers to explore feelings of being an outcast. While this began as the isolation teenagers feel in society, the stories quickly morphed to tackle larger issues of prejudice in society. In the decades since, comics, movies, and TV shows involving mutants have touched on racial, sexual, religious, and gender bigotry by using the colorful characters as mirrors for society.
Like any good sci-fi series, The Gifted will continue to use fantastical stories to discuss social and political issues. With the Comic-Con trailer for The Gifted, we see shades of society's hatred for mutants on the show. It's also an issue that the new Gifted viral site showcases. With the X-Men apparently gone on the series, the government is once again hunting mutants and forcing them to go underground to escape persecution and build a resistance.
Den of Geek spoke with the cast of The Gifted during San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, and they were adamant that the new show will feature both cool superpowers and a grounded story about oppression. For Emma Dumont, who plays Polaris, the parallels between the mutants and victimized groups in the real-world are clear:
“Yeah, I’m going to say straight-up you guys, our show’s about bigotry. I’m sorry, but we see it in the first scene when Blink’s running for her life and a cop could easily kill her dead with zero consequences, because of prejudice, because of prejudging her for something people are uncomfortable with, that they don’t understand, because people are born with this thing, and that is literally where we live.”
While some fans complain when stories wade into socio-political issues, these concepts have long been dealt with in fiction - from The Crucible to District 9. When it comes to stories about the mutants, bigotry is impossible to ignore. For Jamie Chung, she thinks even lighter shows like M*A*S*H* have handled this masterfully by using the Korean War to comment on the Vietnam War. So while the parallels won't be one for one, Chung feels the story The Gifted is telling can help expand people's perspective:
“It’s extremely important, I think that is why Matt [Nix, showrunner for The Gifted] wanted to create this show and highlight it. It’s not comparable to what people are actually going through… but I think it makes our show quite different because we are highlighting those current events issues.”
Of course, not everyone on the show will be persecuted. Stephen Moyer will be playing the father of two young mutants, but he's also part of the government group who hunts mutants. Though not a hardliner, his character still feels that mutants and humans can get along - as long as mutants hide who they are:
“One of the things they’ve setup that I like is that mutants and humans can live together, that’s absolutely fine. But mutants aren’t allowed to use their powers in public for detrimental means. So I was just thinking about it over there. You can cut your vegetables with your laser eyes in private but you’re not allowed to do it outside. And so he thinks he is doing the right thing by his family by protecting them from that. By taking people who can’t control those powers, by taking them out of society, he thinks he’s doing the right thing.”
Given everything that's happening around the world right now, The Gifted will serve as both a form of escapism and a new way to view real-world issues from a distance. If it succeeds, it will join other great works of fiction that have done the same. So while the new show won't be crossing over with other X-Men properties, it looks like The Gifted will stand on its own as an ambitious piece of entertainment.
The Gifted premieres October 2 on FOX.
Source: Den of Geek
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