Like most comic book shows, although Fox’s The Gifted is inspired by source material, in this case the X-Men comics, creative liberties are taken to ensure these TV adventures stand on their own. One example of this is The Gifted‘s locations, as so far the series has operated in more “real world” settings compared to the comics, movies and video games. With that in mind, when I asked what the thought process was for designing the headquarters for the Inner Circle in Season 2, The Gifted production designer Seth Reed noted how most of the inspiration for designing these sets and locations comes from the characters themselves. As Reed explained during his chat with CinemaBlend:
I would say that in general, we don’t borrow much from the comics that we have all the references, and we have people here that are really very imbued with the material. To some extent we look at Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, the two most recent X-Men films. Frankly, most of the inspiration just comes from the characters. I mean, the Frost sisters have blue eyes, they’re very elegant, they’re very clean and sharp in their features. And so is Reeva, our new character who is the head of the Inner Circle. So those characters themselves are the real inspiration for the spaces they inhabit, so that’s why you see this really beautiful architecture, and they tend to have a lot of blue associated with them. So just a very simplistic way, I would say the inspiration is coming directly from the characters.
Needless to say that as long as The Gifted is on the air, it will continue pulling from the larger X-Men mythology in some form or fashion. Nevertheless, there’s definitely more room for The Gifted to chart its own path, particularly concerning where the main characters spend their time. In the case of Reeva and the Frost sisters (a.k.a. the Stepford Cuckoos), who are now leading the Inner Circle after eliminating the Hellfire Club‘s leadership, their looks and appearances went into designing the fancy building where they’re hatching new plans to improve life for mutants everywhere. And it’s not just with the Inner Circle that this approach is used. Seth Reed also told me that the same holds true for the Mutant Underground, which is operating with significantly less resources and has to hide in more average places. Reed continued:
Yes, absolutely. Same exact idea. More earthy colors, more sort of ground level-based places that they’re in. The clinic and their place at the scrap yard and things that are all more normalized. Interesting, but normalized, and not exclusive. Like, they’re out in the middle of the world, so we want to make sure it’s clear that they’re interactive with humans all around, and they’re inhabiting buildings and spaces that humans are in all around them.
Because their previous base, an abandoned bank, was destroyed in the The Gifted Season 1 finale, the Mutant Underground was forced to set up shop elsewhere, with a scrap yard now serving as their new main base, among other areas. Seth Reed added that it’s important for Eclipse, Thunderbird and the rest of the Mutant Underground members to operate under the radar, hence why they’re hanging out in these “normal,” earthy places and doing their best to blend in with the general population. As time goes on, perhaps The Gifted will see its starring players traveling to more places familiar to longtime X-Men comics readers, but for now, the series will keep looking to said players to model its special, original settings after.