In The Gifted, mutantkind is getting ready to rumble.
The first season of the Fox series concluded with one of the main good guys, Polaris (Emma Dumont), using her magnetism powers to crash an airplane, killing the anti-mutant U.S. senator onboard. In the end, she and Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) leave the peaceful Mutant Underground to join the Frost Sisters (Skyler Samuels) in the more extremist Inner Circle. It's the X-Men's successors versus the Brotherhood of Mutants' successors, and the families have been split by the newly drawn battle lines.
With The Gifted's sophomore season underway, the Mutant Underground's status quo is in flux. Eclipse (Sean Teale) and company are still reeling from the destruction of their headquarters and the loss of their friends. Meanwhile, the Inner Circle's leader, Reeva's (Grace Byers) plans for mutantkind continue to escalate.
Showrunner Matt Nix recently spoke with SYFY WIRE about the mutant war brewing, Polaris' pregnancy, the Morlocks and Reed Strucker's (Stephen Moyer) emerging powers.
After the events of the season-one finale, how does the world view mutants now?
Essentially, the idea is the mutants managed to stop the hound program, but the world did not look kindly to pulling a plane out of the sky and killing a U.S. senator. It justified a pretty significant crackdown on mutants, and the world has changed. At the same time, the show has changed. Our characters in the Mutant Underground are trying to reunite with the people they care about, who went off with the Inner Circle.
A new player has entered the mix. Introduce us to Reeva and what her vision for mutants encompasses?
Reeva is a powerful mutant associated with the Hellfire Club and she leads the charge to turn the Inner Circle into its offshoot. It can be tempting to look at the second season in terms of good guys versus bad guys. But, the truth is the two groups are both interested in protecting mutants.
Later in the season, we get to learn something about Reeva's backstory. She is a true believer in a lot of ways. She is utterly ruthless, but she certainly isn't in it for herself. Ultimately, her view is, "mutants need to be protected." Some hard things need to be done," and she's willing to do them. So, she's recruited these powerful mutants from the Mutant Underground that she thinks are necessary to her cause.
What's engaging about her is she does really believe in something. She's not interested in acquiring a large amount of money and buying stuff. In her own way, she's as determined as the Mutant Underground to protect the people she loves.
Even though family, friends and loved ones are divided, the situation between the Mutant Underground and the Inner Circle has escalated. At this point, is it kill or be killed? Is there hope of a reconciliation between these two factions?
Both sides ultimately care about the welfare of mutants. Polaris, when she left at the end of last season, makes it clear that it's not that she hates Eclipse or the rest of the people in the Underground. It's that she believes that this is the best way to fulfill the vision that they both once shared. Once Polaris and Andy join the Inner Circle, Mutant Underground is going to get in the way of the Inner Circle, then they may well come to blows if it comes down to it. Indeed, over the course of the season, it becomes more and more clear they are heading for a clash.
It's not as if the Inner Circle says, "We want to save mutants, so the first thing we are going to do is kill all the mutants in order to do so." Reeva's pitch to Polaris is, "Hey, your misguided friends get to be part of that saving, too. But first, we have to do some hard things and make some hard choices." Those who can look down the pike know these two visions of mutant freedom are not compatible. So, a conflict is brewing in a huge way.
At the same time, the Struckers care about their son, Andy, who has joined the Inner Circle, too. They don't want to destroy the Inner Circle and kill Andy. Andy, on some level, is leaving because he wants to show his parents that he wants to accept the mantle of his family and protect mutants in a way he thinks is best. Neither side's interests are served by killing each other, at least, initially.
The clash between Andy and his sister, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), comes to fruition. Can you tease about what that family reunion looks like?
Well, it depends what you mean by "reunion." One of the things we explore is their fates are intertwined at a much deeper level than either of them realizes. Last year, they discovered their ancestral power of Fenris. They figured out what they could do together. But, a huge part of this season revolves around exploring what the link between them means.
When they are initially getting back together, the big question is which one of them is more powerful and what does that mean? They are definitely on different sides, so them coming back together, both of them have evolved. Over the course of the season, we are going to explore that.
Are there only two options for mutants, the Mutant Underground of the Inner Circle? Will you be introducing an unknown third party?
Absolutely. The Morlocks have a completely other vision of what mutant freedom means, that has little to do with the vision of the Mutant Underground and very little to do with the vision of the Inner Circle. Everyone in these groups is feeling the tug of the other groups. So, within the Mutant Underground, there are people who are think maybe the Morlocks have it right. Within the Inner Circle, there are people who still feel the tug of the Mutant Underground. In the show, there really are four sides. There's the vision of the Inner Circle. There's the dream of the X-Men, which the Mutant Underground represents. There's the separatist vision of the Morlocks. Then, there's the Purifiers. No mutant would be tempted to join that vision, but it is a competing vision of society.
It's been really fun working on the Purifiers because are they a hate group, yeah, but they don't consider themselves a hate group. Their vision of themselves is much more akin to real hate groups in the United States. Catch one on a good day, and they will address oppression and bigotry dressed up in some pretty nice clothes. So, their vision would be that mutants and humans can live together, as long as mutants completely deny who they are and submit to unreasonable restrictions on their humanity.
Season 2 opens with a six-month time jump and Polaris is expecting a baby. In what ways does her pregnancy impact or complicate her mission or powers?
Her pregnancy has sort of delayed the start of the Inner Circle's plans in earnest. But, emotionally, she is dealing with the fact that on some level, she is leaving for the baby. And, on some level, her leaving [the Mutant Underground] is a terrible thing for the baby. She's denying this child a father. That's a terrible choice to have to make as a mother. So, she's dealing with, "OK, her pregnancy is complicated and difficult. Going through that without the person you love is difficult." There's a lot going on with her emotionally.
Beyond that, she's going to be dealing with, "What do you owe to your child as a parent? What comprises are acceptable to make? What's morally supportable to do for your offspring?" A lot has been justified in the name of, "I'm doing this for my children," so she's facing that. And, this is a major thing, but it gives Polaris a big, fat reason to explore the mysteries of her own parents.
In the trailer, something strange happens to Reed's hand. How does that development play out?
Reed's father created a serum to suppress the x-gene in Reed. Watch the trailer to see if it works permanently. Beyond that, one of the things we thought a lot of about this year was the history of the Strucker family. On one level, there's this mechanical element, that Reed got a power and it's suppressed. What's been fun while exploring that arc and how it relates to his children, is the question of what do you owe for your children? What's the best legacy for them?
Reed's father, Otto, made a choice to try to spare the pain that he grew up with. In a way, that's a noble thing to do. The question is when the "gift" you give to your child is lying to him about his own nature, and helping to deny who he really is, it may seem like a gift when you gave it, but it's more than likely going to turn out to be a curse. It's through that lens we see that. What does that mean to Reed? How does that fit into his emotional life?
Finally, Reed was persecuting mutants. Now, he is confronting his own x-gene. He also had a lot of opinions about his children and their powers. What was appropriate to do? What secrets could be kept? Now he has his own abilities and he's confronting having to make those choices himself.
The Gifted airs Tuesdays on FOX.