When Polaris made the hard decision to eliminate Dr. Campbell once and for all in the season finale of The Gifted, she did more than just tear his plane apart. She also tore the Mutant Underground in half, breaking up families — including her own with Marcos, aka Eclipse — as the persecuted mutants had to decide if they wanted to carry on the X-Men’s nonviolent legacy or join the more extremist Hellfire Club. For Polaris, Magneto’s illegitimate daughter, this was an especially fraught decision, but one that actress Emma Dumont says she saw coming from almost day one, well before she got the script for the finale.
“I kind of got what kind of girl she was then, and having it confirmed that Magneto was her dad made it all fall into place,” Dumont told Inverse in a phone conversation the day after the finale. The 23-year-old actress explained that the green-haired mutant had always known Magneto was her dad, but she tried to run from his legacy — until now.
Dumont has an explanation as to why Polaris made that fateful decision, as well as some exciting hints about what we might expect from The Gifted’s sophomore season.
What does the concept of legacy mean to Polaris? She was running away from being Magneto’s daughter for so long, why did make the decision that his way was the right way in the finale?
We actually had a line in the scene with the airplane, where instead of saying “this is what I was meant to be,” she said “this is what I was born to do.” So, it was very much referencing her legacy, but then we decided to take that out because legacy means nothing to her. She doesn’t care. She understands that friendship is thicker than blood, and the family you choose is your family, despite who you’re related to.
So if she didn’t do this because of the legacy, because of her ancestry, she did this because this is what she believes in. And she hates it. She hates that she believes the same thing as her father. How awful would it be if you were told your whole life that somebody who is exactly like you was horrible and evil and a bad person. And you’ve always had to keep it hidden that you actually believe the same things as that person, because you believe your friends and family are going to judge you and hate you. Polaris doesn’t care about legacy. She only cares about doing what’s right.
How important is legacy to The Gifted as a whole? The finale set up the Underground and Hellfire Club as the next generation of the X-Men and the Brotherhood.
It’s no coincidence that we have Magneto’s daughter and Emma Frost’s daughters working together to fight against Injustice. And of course Thunderbird is Warpath’s little brother, and everything’s related in the X-Men world. A lot of the times people actually compare Marcos and Lorna, who in this case are a couple, to Xavier and Magneto, which I think is totally dead-on. Even though, technically we say Thunderbird is the leader of the Mutant Underground, it seems that Marcos and Lorna are kind of running these two sides of things. But, that is horrible because they are in love and having a baby together. That’s so heartbreaking.
I will say, however, every time we see Marcos and Lorna embrace or touch or have magical moments, they create the aurora borealis together. There was a moment in the season finale when they embraced, and were basically crying in each others’ arms, and they did not create the aurora borealis. Marcos put his hand on Lorna and nothing happened. There are some feelings lost there. I honestly don’t think it’s on Marcos’s side, I think he’s totally a great guy and wants to do exactly what’s right, but Lorna has lost some hope in him. If the person you love more than anything is unwilling to fight for justice, which is how she sees the situation, then what does that mean about them and for your relationship?
What sort of preparation or research did you do before playing Polaris as a character with bipolar disorder?
A lot, actually. It’s so interesting, because I want to say that’s my favorite part of Polaris, but also I like that it’s not her main thing. I love that she’s a hero, a soon-to-be mother, a girlfriend — a leader of a huge movement, first and foremost, and her mental illness is just one of her characteristics.
I think it’s interesting because Marcos mentions her mental illness a few times, and wants to make sure that this isn’t the reason for her going to join the Hellfire Club, or for saying these things and doing these things she’s unfamiliar with. I think that’s rather offensive. It’s belittling, it’s negating her feelings, emotions, and political views. It’s making her feel like a child. Of course Marcos only ever means well. But no, it’s not fair, and I think he needs to check himself before he says those things.
Do you know what happened to the X-Men, or are you in the dark? Is that even a question that’s going to be answered, or does it not matter?
It’s a thing we think about all the time, and it’s something we’re not really given an answer to. Honestly, it does matter — I’m not going to say it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter for our characters’ journeys for where they are right now, but of course it matters in the scope of the world. But, for the purposes of storytelling, for really highlighting the struggles of this minority group, I don’t think we’re going to see the X-Men anytime soon. But, you never know.
Do you know what we can expect from Season 2?
What I’ve heard from Matt Nix is that we’re really going to delve much more into what’s in the comics. Basically, he wants every character to slowly morph into their comic book self. I don’t know if that means a green body suit or what, maybe it’s plot points. Also something we’ve really be discussing since day one is to see mutants in everyday society. I think in the next season we won’t be given the blessing of being able to hide as much. That will really help them gage how far and how deep the bigotry runs in society.
Is there a character from the comics you would really like to see next season?
Well, obviously I would love to see Magneto, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Now that we’re getting into the Hellfire Club, I think it would be cool to have Selene come on. I would love anyone from House of M, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, obviously. I don’t know what we’re allowed to have, but we’ll see what happens?
I’m just excited for things to get more comic-booky. I love having the triplets here. People need to remember that there are actually five of them, so I don’t know where the other two are, but I’m excited to see what happens.