The Gifted Character Profile: Who Is Thunderbird?

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We’re counting down the new mutants of The Gifted to get ready for the show’s premiere next week. First up: the Native American mutant Thunderbird, who will be playing a major role in the mutant resistance. Thunderbird will also be at the center of a love triangle with the recently announced mutant Beautiful Dreamer. But who is Thunderbird? What will awesomely talented star Blair Redford be able to bring to the show? Let’s take a look at the mutant who “senses what’s coming” and just how he’ll appear on The Gifted on Fox.


John Proudstar was an exceptional athlete who was born in the Camp Verde Apache Reservation in Arizona. Dissatisfied with his so called “quiet life” he set out to prove he was a warrior – to serve his people and honor his ancestors. His mutant abilities manifested when saving a young girl from a charging bison. His desire to fight led him to use these abilities (and lie about his age) to enter the US marine corps. Proudstar eventually became a corporal, earning several medals. One notable medal was for rescuing a helicopter pilot. He believed that the helicopter was struck down by a giant bird made of lightning in the sky.

After completing his tour of duty, Proudstar returned to the reservation. He became embroiled in an investigation of mysterious cancer diagnosis around the reservation – including his mother. He discovered that experiments were being conducted by Doctor Edwin Martynec, a mutant who could transform into a hybrid coyote creature. This drew the attention of Charles Xavier who made Proudstar a part of the second generation of the X-Men, giving him the codename “Thunderbird”.

The X-Men fought against Count Nefaria, a villain who has a connection to another former figure who made an appearance in the MCU.  Thunderbird sacrificed himself to save the X-Men by helping kill Count Nefaria.  His body was taken by his brother Warpath who gave him a traditional Apache funeral.  Proudstar was soon resurrected to save the character Selene, the black queen and a member of the Hellfire Club. Once he had finished protecting her his soul was returned to the afterlife.


John Proudstar has extra dense muscles, skin, and bones making him difficult to hurt. Like Luke Cage, he has dense skin and enhanced speed and stamina thanks to those same dense muscles and bone structure.

Thunderbird also has the training of a corporal in the US Marine Corps as well as knowledge of his people and their history.


With the introduction of Thunderbird, it’s possible we might see his brother Warpath – also known as James Proudstar – make an appearance.  When Thunderbird was killed on one of the earliest X-Men missions, Warpath blamed Xavier for his death. He joined Emma Frost’s team the Hellions and became an agent of the Hellfire Club. When he realized that the X-Men weren’t responsible for his brother’s death, Warpath abandoned his vendetta against the X-men and accepted Xavier’s offer to join the New Mutants team.

James was soon approached by Cable to join his team the X-Force. Initially reluctant, he returned home to his reservation to discover that everyone had been killed and a Hellfire club mercenary mask left behind. He joined up with the X-Force, vowing revenge. James worked with X-Force for a long time, even developing a relationship with his teammate Siryn.  When he finally confronted Emma Frost she convinced him that the Hellfire Club wasn’t responsible.

Warpath has a far more engaging story than his brother. Thunderbird deserves to be a more developed character, and if Warpath were to be introduced in a future episode of The Gifted that would give both brothers a chance to shine. In the comics, Warpath had very little contact with his brother, looking up to him and idolizing him. Bringing the two of them together would give them more of a backstory. Exploring mutants from different backgrounds has not been done.  We’ve only seen then from the perspective of attending school at Xavier’s.  Seeing Thunderbird and Warpath on their own – perhaps having dealt with the X-Men in their personal history would be a great way to give us a new perspective on the mutant universe.  Either way, we’re very excited to see what Thunderbird and Warpath will be up to!

Are you excited to be introduced to this character? Ready to see Blair Redford kill it on screen? Sound off and share your thoughts in the comments below.  The Gifted premieres October 2nd at 9 PM, only on Fox.

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