In Marvel's Agents of Shield there are humans with special abilities, referred to as "gifted", which are, amongst a few other origins, e.g. the result of scientific experiments.

Do they exist in the comic books with a similar origin story or were they introduced as a replacement for mutants (because Marvel doesn't own the rights to X-Men and can't use mutants)?

Or otherwise asked: would (most of) the "gifted" just be mutants if Marvel was allowed to do so?

  • 2
    I think "gifted" is just a more general term; note that, on the show, they use the word to refer to both the Skye and Cal, who received their powers in very different ways Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:35
  • @JasonBaker good point, tried to work that into the introduction of my question. Still the basic question remains the same. Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:41
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    My point was more that "gifted" can be used to refer to Cal and Skye and (in principle) Cyclops equally, but "mutant" is a more specific term that only applies to a particular subset of the powered community. There doesn't seem to be a good reason for SHIELD to use the exclusive one. Even if the show could use the word "mutant", why would they? It doesn't apply to the vast majority of powered people they encounter Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:43
  • @JasonBaker now I get your point. I found it a little hard phrase the question to begin with. Tried to clarify a little... Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:52
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    Possibly see also: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/83240/… Commented May 22, 2015 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


tl;dr: No, "gifted" in the MCU is not a replacement for mutants; it's the MCU term for a "metahuman". Some of the gifted people on Agents of SHIELD are based on mutants from the comics, some are based on other non-mutant characters, but most appear to be original to the MCU.

The MCU does not have X-Men style mutants (since Fox owns those, and Marvel/ABC/Disney can't use them), but it does have genetically altered humans, in the form of the Inhumans. They are technically also mutants, just with a different type of mutation, but they'll probably never be identified using that specific term for licensing reasons.

"Gifted" is what SHIELD uses to describe any person that has abilities beyond those of a normal human. For example, they consider Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers to be gifted. Rogers explicitly identifies Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as gifted in Age of Ultron, but in the MCU, those two are not mutants (they got their powers from the Mind Stone.)

On Agents of SHIELD, there are lots of gifted on "the Index". Some of those were likely born with their gifts, and thus are probably mutants, but others were given their powers scientifically, such as the Extremis victims.

So far, a few of the gifted people who have appeared on Agents of SHIELD are based on characters from the comics:

  • Skye is Daisy Johnson, aka "Quake" from the comics. She is a mutant in the -616 universe, but not an X-gene mutant; in the MCU she is Inhuman.
  • Skye's father is Calvin Zabo, who's powers come from his Hyde formula in both the comics and the MCU.
  • Mike Peterson is Deathlok. There have been several Deathlok's in the comics, usually reanimated robotic zombies. Deathlok in the MCU was given powers via the Centipede Serum (a derivative of Extremis), with the cybernetics added later.

On the other hand, there doesn't appear to be any basis in the comics for any of the Inhumans we've seen so far, or the miscellaneous gifted people Cal broke out of SHIELD to help track down Daisy. There have also been short glimpses of other named and unnamed gifted people are various times, none of which seem to be based on recognizable comics characters.

  • I think you mean the Index, not "registry".
    – Junuxx
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 22:57
  • er, yeah. fixed.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 0:06
  • @MichaelEdenfield great answer thanks. Sorry I just accepted it now, I was really busy today. Commented May 21, 2015 at 17:41
  • I thought cap said enhanced, not gifted, when he referred to hydra having scarlet witch and quick silver on the field
    – user16696
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 15:07

Yes. "Mutants" are owned by Fox so no one else can use them for the time being.

One might suspect that the show would love to use some of the lesser-known mutants from the X-Men universe, but FOX actually owns the live action rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. In fact, not only will the X-Men not appear on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but their very existence will not even be referenced. "We can never use the word 'mutant,’” said Executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen .


  • 1
    Found that article too. It's about the only source I could find and the last paragraph seems a little speculative. To clarifiy: I'm not asking for the reason why there are no mutants in AoS, I'm asking if the "gifted" are an (inofficial) replacement. Still +1 for research effort :-) Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:47
  • Ah, I see. After reading the comments, edit, and other answer I understand more about what you were asking :)
    – kjw
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:57

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