Fox has announced a New Mutants movie to be directed by Josh Boone, the man behind the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, who is also set to co-write the film with Knate Gwaltney. The first question springing to many fans’ minds is “What will the story be, and which characters will it feature?” Sadly, most people’s first question is, “Who the hell are the New Mutants?”
While the X-Men started out as teenage superheroes and high school students, they graduated Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters in X-Men #7 and, while still under Xavier’s guidance, were pretty much the twenty or thirtysomething mutant heroes we know today from that point on. The original premise really didn’t get much time to delve into the narrative goldmine of the “teenager as disenfranchised freak” metaphor. Thus, The New Mutants was launched in the '80s as a way for Xavier’s paramilitary boarding school to get back to its roots as, well… a school.
However, all children must grow up, and after a 100 issue run, The New Mutants evolved into the most violent and shamelessly adolescent of the X-titles, X-Force. The absence of a team of teenage mutants was strongly felt, and so Generation X was created only a few years later to take over that role for the rest of the '90s. Since then, there hasn’t been a title devoted exclusively to a team of teenage mutants (at least until the relatively recent All-New X-Men), but students at Xavier’s have been a mainstay of the comics ever since, recurring and in rotation to be utilized as the X-Men’s stories demand.
So, what does this upcoming film mean for the franchise? Will it weave into the existing XMCU, as fans have taken to calling it, or will it stand on its own in some pocket continuity? If the former, where in the timeline will it fall?
Let’s consider the first option, that this film will find a place for itself within the existing continuity. The first and most obvious question is… when? As of right now, the character tethering The New Mutants movie to any particular period is Sunspot, as he appeared in the dystopian future of X-Men: Days of Future Past as an adult who seemed about the same age as Iceman, Shadowcat, and Rogue. We know that even with the continuity reboot at the end of the film, characters’ ages don’t change. This would suggest that Sunspot is the same age if not younger than the “teen” characters from the first trilogy.
Thus, it makes the most sense for New Mutants to take place either during or shortly after the timeframe of the original trilogy. The only wrench in this theory is that Angel, in approximately his early '20s in X-Men: The Last Stand, is supposed to appear in X-Men: Apocalypse as a teenager alongside Scott, Jean, and the others. So, if ages can be reset, that means Sunspot’s age could be adjusted. He could also not appear at all, but I find it had to believe an attempt would be made at The New Mutants without him.
Whatever the case, though, Sunspot wouldn’t be the central protagonist. That role would almost certainly fall to one of two characters, and it’s entirely contingent on how the events of Apocalypse go down.
Simply put, it all comes down to Cable. Now, Scott and Jean are going to be major players in X-Men: Apocalypse, and their lineage has always been a huge part of that, but there’s a lot of reason to believe Singer and company won’t bother. For one, they’ve historically shown absolutely no hesitance to ignore canon genealogy. Rogue’s history with Mystique is completely absent from the films, and all signs point to Havok being set up as Cyclops’ dad, for crying out loud. Also, bringing in Cable and the fascination with Summers/Grey babies is just a whole lot of plot and practically necessitates Sinister, and Apocalypse already seems pretty stuffed to the gills as it is.
However… if Cable is for some reason involved in X-Men: Apocalypse, even if it’s just as a little cameo at the end, he will undoubtedly be the anchor for The New Mutants. It’s also possible that he could cameo in Apocalypse, show up at some point during New Mutants, and then be the headliner in the X-Force movie, currently under development with Kick-Ass 2's Jeff Wadlow at the helm.
As for the rest, here’s a rundown of The New Mutants themselves and how likely it is they’ll make it into the film.
Sam Guthrie, corn-fed Kentucky boy with the power to fly at jet speed while surrounded by a blast field that renders him impervious to harm. A founding member of the team and often its moral compass, Sam was the first member of the Guthrie dynasty to train at Xavier’s, several of his siblings eventually following suit.
If Cable isn’t the lead of this movie, it’s likely to be Sam for the reasons mentioned above. Also, it’s hardly a secret that Hollywood executives have a fondness for sticking good-looking white guys at the center of action flicks.
Rahne Sinclair, teenage werewolf. Another founding member and a fan favorite. While her lycanthropy does overlap a little with the whole Jekyll and Hyde schtick they seem to be doing with Beast in the First Class trilogy, she’s distinctive enough visually and a different enough character that her odds are pretty good of making the cut.
Roberto DaCosta’s presence in the film depends on a whole bunch of factors, most of them mentioned above, but the simple truth is if they really want Sunspot in the film, they’ll find a way, no matter how much continuity they have to twist, retcon, or altogether ignore.
Danielle Moonstar, whose empathic illusion power, while cool, is nothing we haven’t seen in the XMCU before with Stryker’s son, Jason (clearly a Mastermind stand-in). However, Dani is such a fan favorite, she might be hard to exclude.
Xi’an Coy Manh’s power to possess other people’s bodies is certainly interesting in theory, but doesn’t really play well for an action movie. She was a founding member of the team, but both her stints on it were relatively short and she’s never been much of a fan favorite.
There is the possibility of her inclusion due to the fact that she’s gay, and the XMCU has been playing that metaphor pretty heavily, but it’s doubtful that will be reason enough.
With her lava-based powers, Amara Aquilla’s best shot of appearing in this movie is if Sunspot doesn’t, because there is just way too much overlap visually, and it’s been outwardly stated by the producers that using new and distinctive powers is a huge part of their character selection process.
Another character with slim odds. Even assuming they sever her ties to older brother Colossus, Illyanna Rasputin’s main power is teleportation, which we’ve seen plenty of with both Nightcrawler and Azazel.
There is, of course, all that soul sword mess, but that is a can of worms I just don’t see this film taking the time to open.
Love Doug Ramsey as I do, I just don’t see him making the cut. His power has no visual value, and unless technology is going to play a huge part in the story, he doesn’t have much of a function unless this is going to be a spy movie or something, in which the power to innately understand languages would be helpful. Of course, there is his aptitude for hand-to-hand combat, based on his perception of body language, and that’s pretty cool, but it’s Doug Ramsey. Only two hours or so, and you really think they’re going to bother with this guy?
He only value Doug would really have would to give the writers someone to kill for dramatic effect, which is really all he ended up being good for in the comic itself. At least until Douglock, but... hooooo boy.
Holy crap, is Warlock visually and narratively interesting! A techno-organic alien shapeshifter? Yes, please.
Unfortunately, he’s too much of a sore thumb without Cypher to translate, and unless Cable is showing up and his T.O. virus goodness grants some relevance to Warlock, I just don’t see him making the trip this time.
Tabitha Smith’s plasma “time bombs” are a little too close to Jubilee’s powers but she’s got a very brash personality that offers a lot of energy to any ensemble. I could see her finding a place in this movie if for no other reason than to keep everyone on their toes.
Julio Richter can make earthquakes. He can MAKE EARTHQUAKES. Leaving him out would be a huge mistake.
There’s a reason these two are always lumped together; neither one is interesting enough to be remembered on their own. The suits will pass, as well they should.
As for others like Domino, Warpath, Shatterstar, and Feral, they were late to the game and were more a part of the warm up for X-Force than anything else. My money says those characters will be held over for the X-Force movie.
The villain of this piece and the plot would have to go hand in hand. As mentioned above, Cable would probably bring Apocalypse with him, and I could easily see the multi-generational struggle against Apocalypse hijacking the narrative at some point. Still, I doubt we'll see Cable before the end of this film. We could see the Hellfire Club's JV team, the Hellions, but at the point which X-Men: Days of Future Past rebooted the continuity, Emma Frost was already dead, so that would require some finagling.
And after that, who do we have? The Demon Bear. In an age of rampant political correctness, I don't see a vengeful Native American spirit set up as a film's villain. A filler episode of Buffy, maybe, but not an X-Men movie. There's always Mojo, the Brood, or Belasco, but the XMCU has gone out of its way to avoid mysticism and space opera.
I'm guessing we'll end up having the Hellions trained under an Emma Frost who (surprise, surprise) didn't really die between X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Hell, we never saw a body and they've resurrected characters with less deniability than that. Let's just hope they recast Emma, because January Jones' performance was about as sensual and Machiavellian as a Ben Stein character. The Hellions would provide an evil team of super-powered kids for our heroes to fight, and we could save Cable's rivalry with his clone, Stryfe, for the X-Force movie.
There is, of course, the possibility that the film could draw from the 2009 adventures of the core team, or worse the 2003 relaunch with completely different characters, but Jesus let's hope not.
That’s our best guess for now, but only time will tell, so keep up with Den of Geek’s coverage on The New Mutants to either marvel at how spot-on my predictions were or double over laughing at how deeply wrong I was. Either way, good times.