The Gifted cast has come out of hiding to attend their very first New York Comic Con panel. Head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb, executive producers Len Wiseman, Lauren Shuler Donner and Derek Hoffman and stars Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White, Emma Dumont, Sean Teale, Jamie Chung and Coby Bell stopped by New York City to offer their insight on the freshman series and its future.
Loeb walked on stage with Wiseman, only to introduce the first fifteen minutes of episode two, which will air on Fox tomorrow night.
"We have been really fortunate... to keep the X-Men franchise going since 2000," Donner said. "Derek and I approach Matt Nix, and Matt had a really good idea, which was to sort of take the X-Men universe and create some characters, use some existing characters, and center it on family... That was the development, and here we are!"
Chung revealed that episode two will explore the ramifications of a mutant overexerting themselves.
"When it comes to powers, you can interpret them how you want... you can play with the power... it's a fun thing to explore, to manipulate your body to move that power out," Teale shared.
Asked how his wife and X-Men alum Anna Paquin prepped him for the role, Moyer said, "I asked her to read it just to tell me what she thought and she loved it... The audience gets to see the family dealing with this situation, so normal people get to see normal people sort of confronting these conflicts for the first time... I think it's a really nice device."
"In the first episode, we sort of live this life of privilege, and in some ways kind of profited off the way mutants have been treated in society," Acker said. "I think the show does a really good job of making you question your complacency... the good thing I like about our characters is that we are able to show you can change."
"Our show is very timely, because it's about who are wanted, people who can't get in, people who are outcasts, and we are unfortunately are very, very timely today," Donner explained.
Asked about his character's motivation, Bell answered, "It's not so much the anti-mutant agenda... We get into the history of this guy early on in the season... He had a horrible tragedy in his life" that inspired him to become a member of the Sentinel Services.
"From their perspective, they're the hero," Donner said of the show's villains. "There are people who are coming that will make Jace [Turner] seem sympathetic. I'll leave it at that."
"I actually think that Andy, his whole life has been striving toward an identity," White explained. "He's not really a social guy. He's kind of always trying to be special, and I feel like he is fogotten a lot in his life. His parents don't really connect with him. Once his powers emerge, I think he really finds himself. I think he's proud rather than alienated... I think he's happy to have powers and be somebody."
"Our characters are polar opposites. I think she thinks she knows who she is. She's this typical teenager who's leading a typical life, but she's hiding these powers," Lind shared. "Mutants in this society are seen as these weird, destructive creatures that nobody wants to be near... We have this blended family aspect... Her first priority will always be her family and her brother." She said her character Lauren related to the way her brother Andy feels alone because of her abilities.
"[Polaris] suffers from a mental order... and we don't tiptoe around that," Dumont revealed. "You will see her have very high, highs of manic behavior and very low, lows of depression... We're not just saying she's 'the Crazy Girl'... but now we're showing her the respect that I think she deserves."
Asked how he came to decide what character would be involved in the series, Loeb responded, "Legal does." He credited Donner and the show's creator Matt Nix for the series' existence. "A lot of the credit goes to Lauren... One of the things that's very exciting is that Matt and the team not only found characters that we could together go through the corporate snake tunnel... I think, just being able to have a show that has Thunderbird and Polaris and Blink and the Struckers and things that are to come is really excited for comics fans and X-Men fans." According to Loeb, characters like Eclipse -- a new character -- shows the creators' passion for the property. "Without their commitment, you would not have a show."
"When we are creating characters in the writers' room... we get to think about it from the inside-out," Donner explained. "We get to create them from a character point of view."
"The powers are always a metaphor for the characters... What do we need to tell a human story?" Hoffman said.
"You're going to witness Eclipse's origin story throughout the series, and it's going to bite them all in the behind," Teale revealed. "I had the freedom... to create someone who might be watchable."
The cast and crew then led the audience in a chorus of "Happy Birthday" for White. A cake was brought on stage for the actor as well.
Airing Mondays at 9 pm 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.