Fox’s upcoming series, The Gifted, has a premise very familiar to longtime X-Men comic book readers. After two teenage siblings discover they've both developed mutant powers, they go on the run, with their parents, hiding from government agents that plan on imprisoning them. Along the way, they come across an underground group of mutants that will help them survive. Sounds like a typical X-Men story, right? One problem, there are no X-Men to be found. You see, in The Gifted, the X-Men are gone.
This, of course, has led to fans asking, what happened to the X-Men in the show? What timeline does this follow, if any? Is The Gifted truly outside of all existing X-Men franchises? These are all questions that X-Men fans are going to ask when they watch the series. And while showrunner Matt Nix recently revealed to CBR that the X-Men and their nemeses in the Brotherhood disappeared following "a cataclysmic event, a bit of a 9/11 event, that caused enormous social upheaval and a lot of hatred towards mutants," we don't know exactly how or why the X-Men are absent.
With that in mind, here's how we think things might play out as The Gifted's storyline unfolds over the course of the first season. (Or maybe not. Probably not.)
Lost in Space?
Contrary to what you might see in the live-action films and TV series to date, the X-Men like to go off into space and have adventures. In fact, some of their best storylines involve alien races and ancient otherworldly entities. So, one of the easiest explanations, albeit maybe not the most satisfying, is that the X-Men left Earth because of some battle and just haven’t returned yet. Of course, this could be seen as a cop out, but it’s not out of the question. Maybe after they finish with the Shi’ar, they’ll have a triumphant return?
Now, fighting alien races in deep space isn’t the only reason the X-Men, and the Brotherhood, have left Earth. In the ‘90s X-Men comics, Magneto decided that Earth was not a good place for him to plan his attack. No, he wanted to create a safe place in space, dubbed Asteroid M. As silly as it sounds, Asteroid M has been a recurring part of Magneto’s, and thus the X-Men’s, past. Our biggest clue, from the pilot episode, is when a character speaking to Blink says that the Mutant Underground was created after the anti-mutant laws went into effect, “just before the X-Men disappeared.”
The anti-mutant laws would be a great reason for Magneto to create Asteroid M, and for the most well-known mutants to hop on a rocket and leave Earth. Of course, you have to believe the X-Men wouldn’t abandon Earth so quickly, but perhaps that’s what best for the TV show?
Unfortunately, another theory doesn’t bode as well for our favorite mutants. We already know Sentinels will probably appear in this show. As fans, we also know what happens to mutants that cross path with these robots – they get captured or killed. With that being said, it stands to reason that in the world of The Gifted, our beloved X-Men have been eliminated.
Now, of course, we’re not suggesting that it’s a done deal, and the X-Men were all slaughtered. As we’ve seen throughout the comics, the government doesn’t just automatically murder mutants en masse. They love to do their lab tests. The X-Men could just be imprisoned. The show could be setting the stage for some of the big screen X-Men making appearances as they escape prison camps. We could also get glimpses of Cyclops and the others as victims of experiments.
Or, they could be dead.
As much as it pains us to admit it, the easiest and quickest way to tell fans that they’ll never see the X-Men or Brotherhood on their TV screens is to kill them all. The only other clue we get from the pilot episode is when Marcos says, “The X-Men, the Brotherhood -- we don't even know if they exist anymore." Exist is a funny word, out of context. This might mean that Marcos and the rest of the Underground are unsure if the X-Men “exist” because maybe the news says they were captured. The X-Men might also not “exist” if they were all executed, and Marcos doesn’t know if anyone took their place.
Either way, it doesn’t look good for the X-Men, in this scenario.