TV Shows

'The Gifted' Showrunner on Season 2's Mutant vs. Mutant Showdown

Matt Nix discusses the Morlocks, the Purifiers, and more about what to expect when Season 2 begins Tuesday, September 25 on FOX.

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“The Gifted” is set to return this coming Tuesday, September 25, on FOX, for a big new season involving the conflict between the Mutant Underground and the Inner Circle. Season 1 ended with Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) among those leaving their friends and family in the Mutant Underground behind, instead choosing to join forces with the Frost sisters (Skyler Samuels) and adopt their more militant viewpoint when it comes to the battle for mutant rights.

As the story expands, Season 2 will introduce the Inner Circle leader Reeva Payge (Grace Byers), along with the tunnel-dwelling mutants known as the Morlocks, among other new inclusions.

After a screening of the exciting Season 2 premiere (don’t worry, no spoilers!), Marvel.com sat down with “The Gifted” Executive Producer and Showrunner Matt Nix to discuss some of Season 2’s big storylines.

Marvel.com: What can you say about Polaris and Andy joining Reeva Payge and the Inner Circle and how it impacts the story?

Matt Nix: The big thing that was important to me was that Polaris and Andy didn’t join the “bad guy” team, they joined the “hardcore guy” team. That is a big thing we’re playing through the whole season. It’s not that anybody decided, “I just want to hurt people.” The big thing is we all want to protect people but the question is what do we have to do to make that happen? And Reeva has a very different vision of that than the Mutant Underground.

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Marvel.com: With this split between the Mutant Underground and the Inner Circle, is it exciting to be living in these two worlds now as you create the stories?

Matt Nix: I’m going to give an honest and maybe too inside baseball answer. [Laughs] The logistical issues last season of making a story where, basically, for most of the season, just because of the ways the sets were built, everyone was in the same room -- it’s so hard. You can’t cut between stories because they’re all in the same place and are technically in the background of each other’s storylines. So it was extraordinarily difficult last season. And we looked at a lot of different things that people liked last season, and that we responded to last season, and there’s some things we do a lot of this year, like deep dives into characters’ backgrounds. Virtually everybody gets a deep dive this year. Where did the Frosts come from? Where did Reeva come from? Why are they the way they are? Polaris, she’s got Daddy issues. Let’s explore those. So we did a lot of that.

But the other thing is people like seeing mutants fighting mutants! Last year we did some of that but we also did a lot of mutants fighting cops. But it’s more fun to see mutants fighting mutants. So it’s a really simple thing. I was a kid who liked to play my favorite movies and run around and be a super hero. You always want to be like, “I’m this guy and you’re this guy” - we both need super powers. That’s a thing. I was like, “We’re doing to do that this year. We’re going to put people on different teams so they can fight.” The other thing I was excited about is how do you fight someone that you care about, when there are real stakes? We do some of those fights where it’s like, “I’ve got to stop you, but I don’t want to kill you.” That’s a big thing.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about bringing in the Morlocks? That’s a very cool inclusion as far as the comic book history.

Matt Nix: Yeah! The Morlocks is kind of a perfect thing for us because if you’re a fan, the great thing about the Morlocks is they’ve been through different iterations and that’s kind of the sweet spot for us when there’s not one, canonical way of doing the thing. It’s like a jazz riff where we know the basic tune of the Morlocks. They live in the tunnels, this is how they are. So I’m really excited… We did this version of the Morlocks, and I think if you are a fan of the comics, if you’ve read the comics, you will know what we’re doing, you’ll know the things we’re referencing and they’ll catch you by surprise because we’re not doing them the same way that you read about them before. It’s more like, “Oh, yes, that incident. That was in the comics. Didn’t see that coming because it’s a totally different version of that thing,” if that makes sense.

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Marvel.com: They were established in Season 1 a bit, but it sounds like we’re going to see a little more of the Purifiers this season?

Matt Nix: If by a little you mean a lot! Jace Turner is joining the Purifiers this season. What I really like about it is we watched documentaries about how do you join a hate group? How does that happen? You don’t go down to hate group headquarters and sign on a dotted line. It’s usually you’re in a hard place in your life, you meet somebody who seemingly cares about you, who’s got your back, who invites you to do this thing. And then suddenly there’s a community of people who believe in something you believe in and maybe you’re a little embarrassed that you believe in it because it’s not socially acceptable. But now they all believe in it with you and you belong to something and by the time you find yourself doing something that you know you should be ashamed of, you know you’re way too deep and you can’t get out anymore and you may not want to get out at that point. So we used the Purifiers this season not as an implacable force of cartoonish hatred but more like something that corresponds to what we’ve seen a lot in the news. You see now, like, “Who is that!?” Oh, it’s a guy who went through a bad divorce and lost his job and is pissed off about it and finds a place to be. We did that. That’s what it is and, under the right circumstances, likeable suburban dads are capable of shocking, horrible things.

Marvel.com: Is it safe to say we might see some characters questioning which side they’ve chosen this season?

Matt Nix: It was really important to me, because we talked about a lot of versions of it, but it’s not an accident that Polaris has doubts. Polaris is worried that Reeva is cynical and that Reeva doesn’t care about her and Reeva doesn’t care about the thing she says she cares about.

Polaris loves Eclipse, but she also loves this [cause] and she’s making a new world and it’s a new world for Eclipse too. You see in some of the trailers the line, “I love you, but our baby needs more than love,” and that divide is much more interesting to me than, “I’ve joined the bad guys!”

“The Gifted” Season 2 premieres Tuesday, September 25 at 8:00pm ET/PT on FOX. 

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