WARNING: This article contains minor spoilers for this week’s episode of The Gifted, “got your siX,” which premiered Monday, Nov. 6, on Fox.
X-Men co-creator Stan Lee appeared briefly in The Gifted‘s pilot as a bar patron — just one of his dozens of film and television cameos — but this week’s episode of the Fox drama includes a far subtler nod to another writer who helped to propel the Marvel Comics franchise to worldwide popularity.
In “got your siX,” Mutant Underground leader John Proudstar (Blair Redford) and former district attorney Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) hatch a risky plan to break into a federal building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to find out more about the U.S. government’s Hound Program, which somehow turned Thunderbird’s friend Pulse into a weapon of Sentinel Services. With Blink (Jamie Chung) now gone following the discovery that Dreamer altered her memories, they’re forced to find another way past police and Sentinel Services patrols and into the building.
Their solution is to smuggle Eclipse (Sean Teale), Reed and young Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) — oh, and a “pee bucket” — in the back of a semi-trailer truck. However, it’s not just any semi: The big orange trailer is emblazoned with the name and logo of Claremont Interstate Movers, an apparent reference to veteran X-Men writer Chris Claremont.
At the helm of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men from 1975 to 1991, Claremont helped to transform an obscure, struggling title (it had stopped carrying new material in 1970) into the publisher’s bestselling series. The co-creator of such popular characters as Rogue, Emma Frost, Gambit, Psylocke and Mystique, he also penned the X-Men spinoffs The New Mutants and Excalibur. As the writer of such seminal storylines as the X-Men’s “Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past,” and the New Mutants’ “Demon Bear Saga,” Claremont’s influence on the franchise, and superhero comics in general, can’t be overstated.
Of course, Claremont has appeared in X-Men adaptations as more than a mere Easter egg: He made a cameo in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand as a man mowing his lawn, and in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past as Congressman Parker.
The Claremont Interstate Movers truck plays a prominent role in this week’s episode of The Gifted, as the setting for most of the scenes in which Reed, fresh from jail, attempts to reconnect with his son Andy, the long-bullied teen who suddenly feels empowered by his destructive mutant abilities. It’s there Reed also offers advice to Eclipse, who’s soon to be a father himself.
However, the semi isn’t only for those quiet, tender moments. The truck is also key to the episode’s big action set piece, as it soars over the roadblock set by Sentinel Services, a la E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, with the help of Polaris (Emma Dumont), Lauren Strucker (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Mutant Underground newcomer Wes (Danny Ramirez).
Airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, The Gifted stars Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker, Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz/Eclipse, Coby Bell as Jace Turner, Emma Dumont cast as Lorna Dane/Polaris, Jamie Chung as Blink/Clarice Fong and Blair Redford as John Proudstar/Thunderbird, Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker and Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker.
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