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Why the cast of The New Mutants looks so familiar

Described as "Stephen King meets John Hughes," The New Mutants follows a crew of super-powered youngsters as they learn to control their uncanny abilities and band together to escape a mysterious research facility. The film, which hits theaters in April 2018, promises to bring the X-Men franchise into frightening new territory as the young superheroes-to-be come to grips with their "past sins." Blending elements from both the superhero and horror genre, The New Mutants might be the very first hybrid film of its kind—and we couldn't be more excited to watch these promising young X-Men in action. Let's take a look at why the cast of The New Mutants looks so familiar.

Anya Taylor-Joy - Illyana Rasputin (Magik)

Anya Taylor-Joy may have only begun her acting career in 2014, but it didn't take long for her to snag her first major role in Robert Eggers' 2015 period horror flick The Witch. In the film, Taylor-Joy portrayed Thomasin, a young Puritan girl who succumbs to the dark forces at play in the forest surrounding her family's home. She returned to the horror genre in early 2017, starring alongside James McAvoy in M. Night Shyamalan's Split as the emotionally—and physically—scarred Casey. 

Later in the year, she filmed her part in Cory Finley's 2018 coming-of-age thriller Thoroughbreds opposite Bates Motel's Olivia Cooke and the late Anton Yelchin. Taylor-Joy played Lily, one half of the film's reunited BFF duo—two suburban Connecticut teens bent on killing Lily's stepfather.

It looks like the actress' penchant for playing traumatized youngsters and dark arts dabblers paid off. The 21-year-old was tapped to play Russian sorceress Illyana Rasputin—aka Magik—in Josh Boone's The New Mutants. Her comic book counterpart was trained in both white magic and melee combat before discovering her own unique ability to create teleportation discs. Assuming Magik's big-screen reimagining shares the same skill set, she could undoubtedly provide a way out of the creepy research facility for her fellow super teens.

Charlie Heaton - Samuel Guthrie (Cannonball)

While Charlie Heaton may be best known for portraying young photographer Jonathan Byers in Netflix's nostalgic sci-fi phenomenon Stranger Things, the British actor actually got his start across the pond. In 2015, Heaton guest-starred in a number of British television shows like ITV's DCI Banks and Vera; the same year, he appeared on BBC One's long-running medical drama Casualty, portraying Jason Waycott, the older brother of a troubled young patient admitted to Holby City Hospital.

Heaton soon made the leap to the big screen, starring in the 2016 coming-of-age drama As You Are as Mark, a teenager struggling to understand his sexuality in the early '90s. While the movie received mixed reviews from critics, it managed to snag a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award. He'd go on to book further film roles in 2016's Shut In and 2017's Marrowbone.

Like Taylor-Joy, Heaton is no stranger to portraying tortured teens—thus, his casting as Samuel Guthrie (Cannonball) came as no surprise. In The New Mutants comics, Guthrie hails from a Kentucky farming family and possesses the ability to propel himself through the air at incredible speeds. The mutant also speaks with an exaggerated Southern accent, meaning Heaton's likely going to trade in that charming British dialect for a Kentucky twang. Based on his performance in Stranger Things, we'd say faking an American accent is Heaton's real-life superpower.

Maisie Williams - Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane)

Maisie Williams' name has become all but synonymous with her beloved Game of Thrones character, Arya Stark. The career-defining role, which also happened to be her first-ever acting gig, even garnered the young Bristol-born star an Emmy nod. However, Williams has appeared in a number of films and TV shows concurrent with her stint as the princess-turned-killer.

The year 2012 saw Williams' career skyrocket as she took on a number of roles. While continuing to portray Arya on Game of Thrones, she also landed a role in BBC's supernatural miniseries The Secret of Crickley Hall as Loren Caleigh. She even lent her talents to a Funny or Die short called "The Olympic Ticket Scalper" in which she played the appropriately named Scraggly Sue alongside British acting giants Patrick Stewart and Simon Pegg.

Williams has kept busy over the years, appearing in a wide variety of films from 2014's action-packed Heatstroke to 2015's mystery drama The Falling. That same year, she appeared in Doctor Who as the reluctant immortal Ashildr, and, in 2017, she returned to the world of sci-fi to portray Lucy Walker in Netflix's techno-thriller iBoy.

In The New Mutants, Williams is set to step into the shoes/paws of Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), a Scottish mutant who can transform into a wolf—or the transitional stage between wolf and human—at will. Raised by a family of religious extremists, Rahne struggles with her newfound abilities, believing them to be representative of her inner sinfulness.

Blu Hunt - Danielle Moonstar (Mirage)

A newcomer in Hollywood, Blu Hunt is set to portray Danielle "Dani" Moonstar—better known as Mirage—in Fox's The New Mutants. Though the X-Men spinoff will mark her big screen horror debut, audiences might recognize the young actress from her recurring role as Inadu, or the Hollow, in the CW's The Originals. Portraying the powerful witch born from an alliance between unnamed Native American tribes, Hunt proved capable despite her young age—and the fact that she'd only been professionally acting since 2016.

The part-Native American Hunt's status as a newcomer may have very well helped her stand out during casting, as The New Mutants' producers aimed to prioritize "ethnic authenticity" while deciding on the right actress to portray the Cheyenne telepath. While little is known about The New Mutants' plot at this time, fans speculate that the film will likely pull inspiration from Bill Sienkiewicz's "Demon Bear Saga," an arc directly related to the superhero's ethnic background. Hey, if Josh Boone and company really hope to scare the pants off of superhero fans, pitting their pubescent mutants against a monstrous, extra-dimensional bear might just be the way to do it.

Henry Zaga - Robert da Costa (Sunspot)

In mid-2017, Josh Boone and crew officially cast Henry Zaga as the brash Roberto da Costa, a Brazilian mutant who adopts the moniker "Sunspot" due to his ability to harness and manipulate solar power. However, Zaga had snagged his first small-screen appearance only a few years earlier on NBC's The Mysteries of Laura, in which he portrayed a character named Theo Barnett for a single 2015 episode. Like his castmates, it didn't take long for Zaga to find his footing in the industry. Later that year, he scored a recurring role in MTV's hit supernatural drama Teen Wolf as Josh Diaz, a "chimera" who gained the power to absorb electricity as a result of the Dread Doctors' experiments.

Zaga followed his recurring TV debut with a number of roles in films, including an appearance in Netflix's 2016 EDM-saturated rom-com XOXO. He further expanded his acting repertoire in 2017, landing roles in two movies—the drug-fueled drama Cardinal X and high school slasher flick Deadly Detention. That same year, he portrayed Tony's boyfriend Brad in Netflix's controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why

Alice Braga - Dr. Cecilia Reyes

Unlike her talented newcomer co-stars, Alice Braga is no stranger to the big screen, having appeared in a slew of blockbusters and both American and Brazilian TV shows. Braga caught her big break back in 2002 when she was cast as Angélica in the critically acclaimed Brazilian crime drama City of God. American audiences, however, will most likely recognize her from her role In 2007 sci-fi blockbuster I Am Legend, in which she portrayed apocalypse survivor Anna Montez. She returned to sci-fi in 2010 when she starred in the dystopian bloodbath Repo Men, portraying Beth, a singer-turned-junkie with more artificial parts than biological ones. Her love affair with the genre continued in 2011's Predators, in which she played Isabelle, an Israel Defense Forces sniper. In 2013, when she played Frey Santiago in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium opposite Matt Damon.

In the X-Men comics, Dr. Cecilia Reyes—Braga's character in The New Mutants—possesses the X-Gene just like her younger counterparts. Like most information about the New Mutants film, however, her role in the mysterious research facility is shrouded in mystery. While trailers suggest that the trauma surgeon plays a part in the kids' confinement and experimentation, Reyes' comic book incarnation is a frequent collaborator with the X-Men—not a mad doctor. Time will only tell how much creative liberty writer-director Josh Boone took adapting Dr. Reyes for the big screen.