The Mutant Underground has resurfaced in New York City. At New York Comic Con, The Gifted stars Emma Dumont (Polaris), Sean Teale (Eclipse), Coby Bell (Jace Turner), Jamie Chung (Blink), Amy Acker (Caitlin Strucker) and Grace Byers (Reeva Payge) joined showrunner Matt Nick on stage to offer fans an inside look at Season 2, which is now airing on Fox.
"The two biggest things this year are... there have been some turmoil in the news lately. Something about a divided country. The world of the X-Men is something that reflects a lot of the things that are going on in our world... We really wanted to use the show as a window onto what's going on in our world right now. One of the really exciting things years is to see the rise of a divided country," Nix explained. "We're going to deal with the rise of the Purifiers."
"The other big thing that's been fun this year is doing deep dives into our characters," he continued. "We're going to meet young Polaris this year. We're going to see the history of the Frosts, or the Stepford Cuckoos. We get to see the background and where the people are coming from for everyone on stage... Really focusing on the characters and what they want and who they are."
"I don't even think she's bad, y'all! I just think she's real passionate, you know what I'm saying? What I love is hat she's not a one-dimensional character," Byers shared. "She grew up in poverty. She's biracial like myself. We really embraced those channels of diversity and intersectionality. She has clawed her way to the top... She's tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching mutants be slaughtered."
"The difference between Polaris and Eclipse are there are differing ideologies... the place where [they're] coming from is two wrongs don't make a right," Teale countered. "We're fighting for coexistence instead of a mutant homeland, which is replacing one problem with another." However, his character just "wants my lady and my baby."
"She's in a snuggle puddle with her dog and John, There's so much turmoil and chaos all around her... All good things may or may not come to an end! I think the ideology of what she truly believes I think will come into question as well as her identity. I feel like she's having identity issues... We're introducing the Morlocks into the season, and there's something really appealing about their society and how they live... I think there's a little push and pull with that element."
"Jace is having problems. He's having problems. It's true! his life is pretty much falling apart," Bell revealed. "He still has that life mission of trying to get justice for his daughter, and now he has no one to help him with that. Along come the Purifiers, and things get really racist really quickly."
"He goes down a dark, dark path this season," he added.
"We're really playing with a world of true believers. These are people who really believe in their positions... How do you join a hate group without ever sitting down and saying, 'I'm joining a hate group!'" Nix pitched in. "Every step down that path seems like a reasonable path... You don't wind up doing evil because you decided to do evil."
"With Jace, I don't think he necessarily agrees with the Purifiers. He just needs them," Bell said.
"Polaris is on her own team," Dumont said with a laugh. "You know what? Our show is really good at showing every point of view... Look, Polaris, an alpha female, she wanted to join a group of other strong women who want to take action and I don't see a problem with that."
"It's been a rough road. I feel like it's all going to come around. I am ultra-driven this year to find Andy and, in the meantime, have neglected some other members of my family. For the most part, I think we're all really excited to see the show... We never get to see it until the night you guys see it."
Head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb, who moderated panel, then cued the first act of Tuesday night's episode.
Asked how the Disney/Fox merger will impact The Gifted, Loeb simply said that is not yet on the table. "Having the responsibility of creating and running the only live-action Marvel TV series that features the X-Men is an extraordinary responsibility and it's something that Matt put on his shoulders... You can't imagine the labyrinth of people that are up his nose every time he wants to write the word 'the' and he handles it amazingly."
"Let's just say, in general, everything is out there to be determined at a future date," Nix added.
"We will see younger Blink this season," he revealed.
"The mythology of the show is that the X-Men have disappeared," he explained. "Officially, no. Per Jeph Loeb, anything is possible. Wouldn't that be exciting?"
Asked about LGBT represtation on the series, he said, "I think that's always in the background. One of the things that, when I look at how we're writing stories, there's so much crossover between those things. Specifically, those questions are more addressed with Reed's storyline... There are just so many issues of oppression, different groups, that -- in a nice way actually -- that we can have those things overlap."
"I think we all can sort of agree that the best X-Men stories are the stories that teach us about tolerance," Loeb added.
The Gifted Season 2 will premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The series’ showrunner is Matt Nix, and the cast includes Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker, Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, Sean Teale as Eclipse/Marcos Diaz, Jamie Chung as Blink/Clarice Fong, Coby Bell as Jace Turner, Emma Dumont as Polaris/Lorna Dane, Blair Redford as Thunderbird/John Proudstar, Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker, Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker and Skyler Samuels as the Frost Sisters.