Brotherhood of Mutants founder Magneto has been alluded to in Fox’s new mutant TV drama, The Gifted, throughout its run. Specifically, it’s been heavily suggested that Magneto is the father or Lorna, a.k.a. Polaris (played by Emma Dumont).
But the heavyweight X-Men villain has never been explicitly mentioned by name. Well, according to The Gifted’s showrunner Matt Nix, there’s a reason for that.
Nix explained in an interview with TVLine that the show is being careful not to overtly crossover with the X-Men cinematic universe. “Not to be coy, but we don’t want to stumble into movie territory,” Nix told the outlet. “That said, canonically, Polaris’ father is Polaris’ father.”
The Gifted is connected to the X-Men film series but set in an alternate timeline where the X-Men have disappeared.
At one point in the show, telepathic mutant Esme Frost (Skyler Samuels) tells Polaris: “You have no idea, do you…? About your father, your real father. You must have heard stories…. He was a member of the Hellfire Club. More than a member; a king.” Many fans of the comic would immediately recognize that as a reference to Magneto, the X-Men’s greatest adversary.
Nix noted that this (self-imposed?) gag order on mentioning the characters from the films and X-Men comics appears to have some advantages to telling The Gifted’s story.
“One thing that we do use from the comics, that is legitimately part of the lore of Polaris, is that she doesn’t always know that Magneto is her father,” said Nix. “And she has very mixed feelings about Magneto being her father, so we’ve taken what is kind of a necessity, in terms of us needing to stay out of the way of the movies and turned it into a virtue in our eyes.”
The virtue, according to Nix, being that it’s “now a feature of the characters that they don’t really want to talk about.” Specifically, that Lorna’s father is “the leader of the mutant group that made mutants look horrible and kind of put them in the position that they’re in now.”
Despite that, Nix told ComicBook.com that he wouldn’t mind being able to interact more closely with the movie side of the X-Men franchise and hoped that a possible result of the pending Disney and Fox merger would be a stronger connection to the films.
“Does that give me the opportunity to come in and say like, ‘Hey, let me set something up for your movie or let me echo your movie in some cool way,’” Nix told ComicBook.com. “And if I could do that then that would be neat because I'm generally just guided by, as a fan, what would I want to see? And what would I want? As a fan, I don't want my TV show to do the same thing that my movie is doing. But at the same time, I don't want my TV show to be just like, you know, completely unconnected or just totally the bastard stepchild of what my movies are doing either.”
Nix added that he’s neither going to push for a “bastard stepchild” nor try “to do the movies on television because I think both are bad ideas."
The Gifted will return for its second season on Fox in 2018.