The New Mutants were the first of Marvel’s X-Men spinoffs in the comics, dealing with a younger crop of gifted youngsters as the core X-Men cast expanded and aged. So it’s natural that we’d eventually get a version of them on screen. The only question has become when. Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) directed this X-Men spinoff, which he co-wrote with Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, and Knate Gwaltney. Principal photography wrapped well back in 2017 and the movie seemed all set for its April 13, 2018 release date (which is still indicated by its original teaser).
Then in early 2018 it was announced it would be delayed for reshoots that apparently never happened. While The New Mutants was then slated to be released in August 2019, the aforementioned reshoots were stalled for reasons that are still not public though many have speculated the Fox-Disney merger further confused things for this movie. Upon the finalization of that acquisition, Disney has announced they would still theatrically release New Mutants… in 2020. Then came the coronavirus, so here’s where things stand…
The New Mutants Release Date
Poor, poor New Mutants. After being delayed for years, and largely to events beyond it or its quality’s control–namely the Disney-Fox acquisition–it finally appeared locked in for an April 3, 2020 release. Unfortunately, along with all of Disney’s other spring and early summer releases, The New Mutants got pushed into indefinite delay due to the coronavirus pandemic breaking in the west. To date there is no official word about what its next release date will be.
The New Mutants Trailer
The thing is that for all of its delays, the long-simmering New Mutants marketing has been mostly pretty solid. Taken by itself the most recent trailers and TV spots included some pretty nifty imagery, such as Anya Taylor-Joy’s Magik showing some dark arts superpowers that make good on the premise of blending horror movie and comic book tropes. See for yourself. Here was the most recent TV spot before the delay.
And here was a pretty nifty second trailer for that too-good-to-be-true April 2020 release date.
And here is the first trailer from all the way back in 2017. At time it looked quite intriguing. Such simpler, more innocent days!
The New Mutants Cast
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) will play Magik (sister of Colossus) and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) will play mutant werewolf Wolfsbane. Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) plays Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie in the film. Blu Hunt (The Originals) has the key role of Danielle Moonstar, a character with telepathic abilities. This is a key role in the “Demon Bear Saga” that the movie is loosely adapting. Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) is Sunspot.
Meanwhile Alice Braga (Queen of the South) will take over the role of Dr. Cecilia Reyes from the previously cast Rosario Dawson. Reyes is a character from Marvel’s X-Men comic book mythos (first appearing in X-Men #65 in 1997) who is not only a mutant, gifted with the ability to create a “psioplasmic bio-field” to protect her body from harm, but serves as a trauma surgeon and sometime-mentor to the younger residents of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, namely the New Mutants team.
The New Mutants Story
In 2016, in one of the earliest scoops to break on the movie, ComingSoon described New Mutants as anything other than your typical X-Men movie, or your typical superhero movie at all. Instead, they’re going for a “Stephen King meets John Hughes” vibe with horror elements. The earliest New Mutants comics, with moody Bill Sienkiewicz artwork certainly would play into that influence.
Boone then told EW that “We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe. There are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.”
“New Mutants is about these teenagers who are just coming into their powers,” 20th Century Fox CEO Stacy Snider told Variety. “It’s like watching mutants go through adolescence and they have no impulse control, so they’re dangerous. The only solution is to put them in a Breakfast Club detention/Cuckoo’s Nest institutional setting. It protects the people on the outside, but it’s strange and combustible inside. The genre is like a haunted-house movie with a bunch of hormonal teenagers.”
She added that it’s “more like The Shining than ‘we’re teenagers let’s save the world.'”
Check out an example of the art from those early stories, and yes, the bear is important…
They’ve also got a genuine storyboard animatic from the film, revealing that at least one of the antagonists will be the Demon Bear which menaced the team in those same early comics. The Demon Bear is, yes, a bear, but it also feeds on negativity and has immense power of its own, so if this is the menace of the movie, you won’t see any buildings coming down.
Further, and once upon a time, Mr. Boone apparently envisioned this as a trilogy of films. While we genuinely still hope for the best for The New Mutants, its chances of being a hit after the long delay and subsequent negative connontations, are greatly diminished. And Disney shuffling the X-Men characters off to Marvel Studios makes it even more unlikely there will ever be a sequel. Yet if this ends up being a cult classic for horror and superhero fans, that isn’t exactly a dark fate, is it?