The Gifted is a show in the X-Men universe... but there are no X-Men.
The good news is the lack of Professor X and his team isn't just Fox being stingy on the budgets or curbing the show's creative mission so as not to step on the blockbuster films' toes. The X-Men are gone from The Gifted universe and the show and audience are going to have to deal with that.
"The X-Men are gone. That's not a dodge. That's not like 'The X-Men are gone and we're never going to deal with it,'" executive producer Matt Nix explained to journalists at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "It's a big part of this show and we're going to be exploring it. It's a huge deal to these guys. Its a huge deal to the world. It's one of the central mysteries of the show."
Here's the important question: How much of the X-Men movie universe do you need to watch to understand the show? None, technically, but they could be helpful in understanding the world view of the mutants you'll meet in The Gifted. However, you don't have to take notes looking for easter eggs that will tie one universe to the others.
"There's not going to be a situation where the television show is driving the movies or the movies are driving the television show. The mythology that we are telling specifically avoids that," Nix explained.
That means that The Gifted will peddle in the themes of the X-Men movies and the overall X-men universe that spans several comic book runs, but they don't wanted to be bogged down with retelling the stories of Professor X's team when there's so much else to explore.
"What we started with was, what would be an exciting way to set a show in the X-Men universe that's appropriate for what television does well — where we can focus on this longer form storytelling?" Nix explained. "One thing that I think is really exciting about doing an X-Men show on television is we really get to explore the relationship of the mutants to the larger world and not have to deal with a team of superheroes that are wearing uniforms. [The show] really explores society and that kind of thing."
So there are mutants, and super cool ones. Wolverine just isn't going to come save the day, and that's okay.
The Gifted premieres Monday, Oct. 2 at 9/8c.