The Gifted returns to Fox for the second half of its second season this week, and to get a preview of where the series will take us, SYFY WIRE spoke with the show's head production designer, Seth Reed.
Known for his work on Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, The CW's Supergirl, and SYFY's The Expanse, Reed is a seasoned veteran of genre who knows a thing or two about how to dress a set for a science fiction-based project.
"You learn a lot about storytelling with those kind of shows," Reed tells SYFY WIRE. "In order to lend a real validity and believability, you have to make the sets looks real. As dramatic as they might be, as vivid in color and interesting-looking, they also have to stick to the reality that a set needs to have in order to justify or validate what those characters are doing. It seems contradictory, but it’s actually not."
Reed was brought on for Season 2 of The Gifted, which gave him a chance to create a brand-new look for the show.
"[The mutants] had been blown out of their hiding place and the world had completely changed, so I was asked to enrich and expand the look of The Gifted and make it look more visual and graphic," he says.
As for what you can expect in terms of story, Reed teases Reed Strucker's (Stephen Moyer) powers coming to "a crescendo in a most explosive way"; a further exploration of the relationship between Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Eclipse (Sean Teale); and a major twist involving Thunderbird (Blair Redford) and Blink (Jamie Chung).
All of those events will take place on sets of Reed's design, so he ran us through his five favorite locations ahead of the show's premiere on January 1.
The Inner Circle's HQ
"We’re putting this exclusive group of people or mutants at the top of sort of an isolated place," Reed explained. "As you know, they have resources, money, they’re separated from society, so I needed a great piece of architecture to express all of those things, but also to put them up high, looking out over Washington, D.C. That was very much a favorite set [of mine] and we constructed many digital models and shot angles for that. It’s very crisp and clean and extremely expressive of who we all felt these characters were."
The Morlock Tunnels
"It’s kind of scary when they first go in — there are rats. It’s very tactile and very dark, subterranean," he said. "We made many iterations of this because as the show went on, we had various tunnel entrances, we wanted to show how they transitioned and got down there not just by having Blink get everybody down there, but actually going down, descending down in. So we had some great transition pieces as well for that."
The Adamantium Vault
"[It's] one of my favorite sets, where Twist and Polaris, and Andy come in and they have to reverse this vault and blow it apart. [There are] some great scenes in Episode 7 of how they do all that, they come down a really amazing hallway to get there."
The main characters' apartments
"Of course the West Lake Apartments. The Strucker apartment, Thunderblink's apartment, Eclipse’s beautiful, gorgeous apartment with a really warm feeling to them, colored glass in the windows and brick walls, wooden floors. Everybody loves this set. [It’s got a] very, very rich feeling. We enriched everything and really made it feel like a sanctuary for the Struckers and for everybody."
"What I loved about the Clinic was the secret room. We had a location that we found and that comprised the entry piece of the locations. You can actually walk in off the street into a front waiting area and a front lobby and then from there, we had a transition to a stage set and [it] had offices and the trauma room and things like that. Then there was the hidden room, which no one knew was there until we showed the audience how to sneak and get in there and that’s where everybody, mainly Reed and Kaitlin, hid out at one point or another. And that’s where they would be monitoring police broadcasts, they would be using their gear to try to figure out what’s going on in the outside world."