Marvel's 'The Gifted' Set To Tackle Character's Bipolar Disorder

By Britni de la Cretaz 10/11/17
The series, which exists in the X-Men universe, tackles the characters' mental health and other stigmatizing issues.
Polaris from "The Gifted"
Polaris from "The Gifted" Photo via YouTube

At New York Comic Con on Sunday, the cast of Fox’s new series The Gifted revealed how they plan to tackle the character Polaris’ mental health issues. The series (based on characters from Marvel’s X-Men universe) features both existing and new characters, and centers on family, executive producer Lauren Shuler Donner said during the cast’s NYCC panel.

As for Polaris (aka Lorna Dane), star Emma Dumont explained that the show will not “tiptoe around” the character’s history of mental health challenges. “She’s untreated, she’s unmedicated … You will see her have very, very high highs of manic behavior and very low lows of depression, of crippling depression,” Entertainment Weekly reports Dumont saying.

According to CBR, Dumont also confirmed that Polaris is struggling with bipolar disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by extreme shifts in mood and energy. Bipolar disorder is commonly recognized by depressive episodes contrasted with mania or hypomania (where a person has elevated mood and energy levels, engages in impulsive and reckless behavior, and experiences racing thoughts). The mental health condition is thought to affect approximately 2.6% of the adult population in the United States.

Polaris is a mutant who can control magnetism, like her biological father Magneto. Her character is known for her episodes of mental and emotional distress, which causes her a lot of difficulty when it comes to functioning. She also engages in erratic and impulsive behavior. Her history of mental health issues is something she inherited from Magneto.

But The Gifted wants to make sure that Polaris’ mental health issues and trauma are treated with sensitivity. “Something we’re treating respectfully is she’s not just ‘the crazy girl,’” Dumont said. “Through her history, a lot of people have [called her] the crazy girlfriend. We’re showing her the respect that I think she deserves and take her seriously.”

Donner said the show is very timely, because it deals with themes of oppression and marginalization. “It’s about people who are unwanted, people who can’t get in, and people who are outcasts,” she said. The show will tackle these head on, showing characters beloved from the X-Men series and all of the complicated, stigmatizing issues they deal with as they navigate their relationships with each other and the world.

The Gifted airs Mondays at 9:00 PM ET on Fox.

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.