Richard Epstein is reporting for Bleeding Cool from New York Comic Con,
Fox’s The Gifted came to New York Comic Con with a huge panel…executive producers Jeph Loeb, Len Wiseman, Derek Hoffman, Lauren Shuler Donner,and Melinda Hsu Taylor were joined by Stephen Moyer (Reed Strucker), Amy Ackman (Kate Struckman), Sean Teale (Eclipse), Jaime Chung (Blink), Coby Bell (Agent Turner), Emma Dumont (Polaris), Natalie Alyn Lind (Lauren Strucker), and a. (Andy Strucker) for a quick 30-minute talk.
Before the cast came out, the audience was treated to a 15 minute clip of tomorrow’s episode (much to the chagrin of the panel-goers who thought they were getting the full episode). The clip opened with a flashback to happier times for the Strucker family as they enjoy some family bowling. Lauren uses her powers for a little boost, but the reverie is cut short by a mutant that is being picked on by some jerks. She asks them to stop, but they won’t, causing her to lose control in a burst of energy. Kate doesn’t want to get involved, but Reed goes over to the girl and her father and advises them to leave. As a prosecutor, he knows the girl would be in trouble if caught. Lauren isn’t happy though, seeing the unfairness of the girl having to leave in fear while her tormentors can stay and have fun.
We then go back to the present for a quick scene in which the mutant underground explains to the Strucker’s that going on a suicide mission won’t help Reed. At the same time we see Blink is in bad shape after opening the portal back to the hideout.
After a short conversation between Reed and Agent Turner as Reed is being loaded onto an ambulance, we switch to Polaris in her jail cell. She tries to power her way out, not knowing that the collar around her neck will shock her if she tries.
Then it’s back to the mutant underground, where Blink is in a bad way. Kate tells everyone that Blink needs a hospital, before Blink’s powers start manifesting on their own volition. A truck heads towards the newly opened portal, it veers out of the way but the back gets cut off and heads towards the Struckers and mutants until…the clip ends.
So how did the show come about? It was Hoffman who was the driving force in bringing the x-men universe to television. First he went to Noah Hawley, and the result was Legion. Matt Nix was next on Hoffman’s list, and he had an idea to center a show in the x-men universe on family, and the result was The Gifted.
As far as choosing which characters from the X-Men Universe could be used, Loeb half-joked that the legal department figured that out. When creating new characters, it’s important for the producers to build the character first, then have the powers fit the character. That way they get fully developed characters.
The cast then joked about how much fun it is to act out their powers, all except Moyer and Acker that is. Dumont in particular was excited to be able to catch bullets, so much so that she broke character doing ADR when she first saw the bullet-catching effects added in.
Acker talked a little bit about her character having lived a life of privilege, knowing that mutants were being oppresses, but not paying attention to it until it hurt her own family. Acker said that it’s important to be able to admit you were wrong and work to be better. Hoffman added that the scenario is–unfortunately–very timely.
Bell talked about his Agent Turner for a bit, promising that we would see a fair amount of backstory about the trauma that led him to this point. Bell pointed out that every villain is the hero of his own story, Turner is just a man doing his job, “a really handsome man” as Bell put it. We were then promised we would see a few a more villains in the season, some may be familiar to us.
White and Lind talked about their characters a little. Andy is someone who was bullied, someone whose family didn’t really understand him. Discovering his powers gives him an identity, makes him somebody. Lauren, meanwhile, is the opposite, the popular girl who has to hide her powers or risk losing her identity. Still, Lind assured us, Lauren is fiercely protective of her family.
Finally, Dumont assured the crowd that the show won’t tiptoe around Polaris’ bipolar disorder. We will see the mania and the depression, but in a humane way. Dumont lamented how Polaris has sometime been treated in the comics, as just a crazy girlfriend rather than a real, suffering person.
The panel ended with cake and singing for birthday boy White, which was shared with the audience.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this show. The money is definitely there to make it look great, but there seems to be a lot of focus on the characters. From Kate’s selfishness in not wanting to get involved to Polaris’ mental health issues to the Strucker kids’ different experiences with the discovery of their powers, it seems like the producers are really interested in exploring all aspects of their characters rather than just making a generic super hero show.
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