Originally slated for a 2018 release, The New Mutants was pushed back to an August 2019 release with little to no explanation, though the recent Disney acquisition of Fox may explain some of this.
Directed by Josh Boone, The New Mutants stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin/’Magik’, Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair/’Wolfsbane’, Charlie Heaton as Sam Guthrie/’Cannonball’, Henry Zaga as Roberto da Costa/ ‘Sunspot’, Blu Hunt as Danielle Moonstar/’Mirage’, and Alicia Braga as Cecillia Reyes.
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The New Mutants shifts its focus away from the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters and the characters that we know, and will tell the story of a group of young mutants that are struggling to survive in a world that hates and fears mutants.
The New Mutants has promised to change the tone of the X-Men universe, leaving behind the bright costumes and super heroics that the franchise is known for, instead choosing to embrace horror; an area of the X-Men universe that has been explored many times in print, but not yet on film.
Josh Boone and the cast are already a good indication of this change, with a director best known for the drama The Fault In Our Stars, and actors from The Witch, Stranger Things, and Game of Thrones a sign that Fox are willing to embrace a different feel for the film. Fox chairman and CEO Stacey Snider has said that the film is less of a superhero piece and more of “a haunted house movie with a bunch of hormonal teenagers”, crediting both One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Shining as inspirations for the project.
The New Mutants were the first ever spin-off team based around the concept of additional mutant super teams at Marvel Comics, debuting in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 in December 1982, written by Chris Claremont. The team would go on to prove popular enough to merit their own ongoing title that would last for several years. Over the course of this initial run all of the characters that feature in the film made appearances. The book has returned a number of times since this original run, with many of the characters going on to reappear.
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The fact that Fox is taking advantage of these spin-off characters is a great source of comfort for X-Men fans, especially with the increasingly confusing continuity of the main series. With the X-Men films having become so bogged down in their own interweaving stories and conflicting chronology it will be a great relief to have an X-Men project that manages to stand on its own.
Yes, Deadpool existed as its own entity, but it acknowledged these inconsistencies and changes in the other films (though with a sly wink) in that it reminded viewers that this was just another part of a larger, more confused whole.
With The New Mutants rumoured by the director to be the first part of a trilogy, hopefully it will manage to remain separate enough from the rest of the films not to be damaged by association. It’s entirely possible to include connections to the larger universe without interacting with it in any real way; just look at how Legion managed to be a part of the X-Men’s world whilst still being its own entity.
With a cast of some of the best up and coming young actors working in film and television at the moment, a director who has proven that they can deliver an effective film about teenagers in extraordinary circumstances, and a trailer that genuinely sent shivers down my spine, let’s hope that The New Mutants delivers on its promises and gives the X-Men franchise the end that it deserves with Fox before Disney takes creative control.