Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why We're Worried About The New Mutants

While Blade was arguably the first comic book adaptation in decades to really nail the essence of the source material on screen, it's safe to say that it was the X-Men franchise that propelled the superhero genre into the light and kickstarted a whole new era of cinema in the process. The franchise has been dealt with a few blows over the years, but the recent success of Deadpool and Logan has ensured that mutants are anything but outcasts at both the box office and in the hearts of audiences worldwide.

However, the future of the X-Men series is looking even darker than the reality that Wolverine faced in his last solo venture. After Fox began promoting New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix last year, the studio suddenly announced in March 2018 that the release of both projects will be delayed until 2019. While it's entirely possible that the delays have been made in order to ensure that both films are the best movies that they can possibly be, online fans are particularly worried about the future of New Mutants. The creative team behind X-Men: Dark Phoenix are apparently waiting for their A-list cast to become available again for reshoots, but the story behind New Mutants appears to be far more complicated than that.

New Mutants, old delays

Fans aren't best pleased by the news that X-Men: Dark Phoenix has been delayed from November 2018 to February 14, 2019, but at least that's a fairly short wait. In comparison, New Mutants has been pushed back from February 22, 2019 to August 2, 2019. Not only is that a bigger leap, but this isn't even the first time that the film has been delayed.

Originally, New Mutants was supposed to hit cinemas in April 2018, and the first trailer began to build up hype back when it was released to the world on October 13, 2017. Delays aren't the cause for concern they once were in this new age of endless reshoots, but the fact that New Mutants has been delayed twice and to this extent is both worrying and frustrating for fans excited to see the team make their cinematic debut. After all, New Mutants is a tentpole movie for Fox. Why would they want to make us wait so long to see it?

PG-13 horrors are tricky at best

The idea that New Mutants will incorporate elements of horror has always been an intriguing proposition, although Fox seemed somewhat reluctant to dive straight into the scares at first. The success of both Deadpool and Logan proved that R-rated superhero movies can still triumph despite the potentially limited audience, yet Fox still hedged their bets for New Mutants, sticking with a PG-13 rating. PG-13 horror movies like The Others and The Sixth Sense have demonstrated that this rating doesn't necessarily spell doom for movies designed to scare audiences, but it's certainly not ideal for diehard fans of the genre.

When the film was first delayed, reports suggested that this was due partly to reshoots designed to make New Mutants scarier. The success of IT had shown that teen horror was viable at the box office, forcing Fox to reconsider their initial hesitance. The problem is that it's going to be much harder now for director Josh Boone to incorporate more horror in ways that will feel seamless with the original cut. The ironic thing is that Boone was the one who wanted to push the horror at first, but was originally held back by Fox. This confusion and general lack of a unified vision might be hard to rectify, no matter how many reshoots take place during the intervening months.

The reshoots will add brand new characters to the story

As previously mentioned, reshoots aren't always problematic and are even quite common in the realm of Hollywood. However, reports surrounding the reshoots for New Mutants have given fans more cause for concern than usual. Apparently, at least 50% of the film will be reshot and on top of that, new characters will be added, too. Usually, cameo appearances can work in these kind of situations as they rarely impact the story in significant ways, but New Mutants will add one or two new characters who will be featured throughout the entire film and that is a problem.

The identity of these characters hasn't been revealed yet, although rumors suggest that one of them was supposed to be the alien being Warlock until budgetary concerns came into play. Furthermore, reports from The Tracking Board suggest that Jon Hamm was originally supposed to appear as Mr Sinister in a post-credit scene. Apparently, Fox have now changed their minds about this too. Instead, Antonio Banderas has been cast as a new, unspecified villain who will take Mr Sinister's place. It's still unclear whether this new character will be linked to the Essex Corporation that was first teased at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, but this would make sense given that this tie needs to be acknowledged eventually in their cinematic universe.

Creative differences

"Creative differences" are often cited when major releases suffer from delays, although the extent to which these are affecting New Mutants remain unclear. Collider recently suggested that director Josh Boone doesn't agree with the changes that Fox have asked him to make and that's why the film has been delayed. On the other hand, sources have told The Tracking Board a different story entirely.

According to them, the aforementioned creative differences between the director and the studio have been blown out of proportion. In reality, Boone did create the film that he and co-writer Knate Lee agreed to make from the outset, so there's no conflict in that regard. However, Boone does apparently feel somewhat neutered by requests to tone down the film's horror aspects. Bizarrely, the reasons behind the reshoot mean that he'll now be able to add the scares that he originally wanted during the initial development phase. In theory, this sounds promising, but too many cooks spoil the broth, and all of this back and forth could still hurt New Mutants in the long run.

Studio interference

The rumored conflict between director Josh Boone and the studio apparently boils down to excessive interference from Fox. According to The Tracking Board, Boone and co-writer Knate Lee were replaced and then brought back numerous times and sources suggest that the script for New Mutants was actually written by committee. Aside from Boone and Lee, a huge number of other writers apparently also toyed with the script, including Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber, Josh Zetumer, Chad & Carey Hayes and Seth Grahame-Smith, plus six more people in a writer's room that Fox assembled to generate more ideas.

Despite the huge number of people reportedly involved in the scriptwriting process for New Mutants, it's likely that Boone will take the brunt of the blame if the film fails to perform well with critics or at the box office. Fox notoriously interfered with the development of Fantastic Four extensively just a few short years ago and Josh Trank's career hasn't fared well since. Whether that's fair or not, a similar fate could befall Boone, although he's still currently attached to direct an adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand and this could bode well for him if handled right.

New Mutants is taking too long

Typically, a trailer is released around six months before a film hits the cinema, although this figure might change for high-profile movies that can build hype up to a year before the final release. At first, New Mutants seemed to follow this pattern, releasing the first promo on October 13, 2017. If the film had made its debut on April 13, 2018 when it was originally supposed to, then there would have been a six-month gap between the trailer and the film's arrival in cinemas. Now that the release of New Mutants has been delayed until August 2, 2019, a total of 16 months will have passed since the general public first saw footage of the film in action.

Bizarrely, a trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix still hasn't been released, even though that film will arrive six months sooner on February 14, 2019. If Fox don't create a successful marketing campaign to repair the damage that these delays have caused, then general audiences may no longer care about New Mutants by the time that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is released. After all, 16 months is an extremely long time to wait and fans who enjoyed the first New Mutants trailer may be too frustrated by the wait to still care for much longer.

New Mutants is an unproven property on screen

The New Mutants have never enjoyed the same level of success as their older counterparts, the X-Men. Due to the popularity of X-Men, "New Mutants" became the team's first spin-off to receive their own title in the early '80s and yet was cancelled just 100 issues later in 1991. Various members of the team went on to fight under the name X-Force alongside the mercenary Cable and then a decade passed until another comic named "New Mutants" would hit the stands in 2003. This second incarnation of the team was comprised of entirely new characters and only lasted for 13 issues. It wasn't until May 2009 that the original team would reform for a third incarnation that reunited the likes of Cannonball, Magik, and Sunspot in one title together.

Given that the New Mutants aren't a mainstay of Marvel comics in the same way that the X-Men are, it should come as no surprise that they've appeared far less in other forms of media too. Members like Magma, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane were cast as secondary characters in the animated TV show X-Men: Evolution from 2000-2003, yet have never starred in their own adaptation. The closest we've come to seeing the New Mutants on the big screen was when the likes of Warpath and Sunspot supported the main X-Men team in X-Men: Days of Future Past. While these characters have been fairly popular in the comics, the New Mutants remain an untested property in Hollywood, so there's a chance that something could go horribly wrong with their cinematic debut.

Combining the horror and superhero genres was always a tricky prospect

In recent years, a number of high profile comic book movies have resisted the pull of superhero fatigue by reimagining the typical tropes of the genre through the lens of another genre. For example, Ant-Man was essentially a heist movie and Captain America: Winter Soldier was clearly inspired by the political thrillers that became popular back in the '70s. Now that Fox have found success through similar means, marketing Deadpool as an R-rated comedy and Logan as a dystopian Western of sorts, fans were excited to learn that New Mutants would represent the X-Men's first foray into horror on the big screen.

However, attempts to blend horror with the superhero genre have been a mixed bag in the past. For every Blade or Hellboy movie, there's also been a Spawn or Ghost Rider, neither of which fared well with critics. Now that Fox are planning reshoots to inject more scares into New Mutants, it may be tricky to seamlessly incorporate horror tropes into the script without coming across as clunky or disjointed. Saying that though, the superhero genre continues to become more and more sophisticated with the release of each film, and source material such as the "Demon Bear Saga" certainly lends itself well to a scarier take on the X-Men cinematic universe.

What do these delays mean for the proposed New Mutants trilogy?

It's safe to say that studios always have an eye on producing sequels once development for a comic book adaptation has begun and New Mutants is no different. Soon after the first trailer for the film was revealed online, director Josh Boone revealed to IGN that plans were already underway to develop two sequels, assuming of course that New Mutants performs well at the box office.

According to the interview, Boone based the trilogy concept on ideas drawn from Bill Sienkiewicz's run on the "New Mutants" comic back in the late '80s. The idea was that each installment would represent a different aspect of horror while drawing on events already seen in the comics. Boone describes the first New Mutants movie as a "'rubber reality' supernatural horror", so it's fascinating to imagine what could come next in the second and third chapters of the franchise.

Of course, this all depends now on whether the first New Mutants film will even live up to the studio's expectations or will end up being derailed further by more obstacles in the future. At the moment, it remains unclear how Fox's upcoming deal with Disney could affect future installments of New Mutants, and this is particularly worrying considering how development on the film is already far from smooth sailing.

How will the delays affect future crossovers?

While it makes sense to focus purely on the core team in the first installment of the New Mutants franchise, it would be strange if future sequels didn't crossover with other corners of the X-Men universe. More than any other spin-off in the pipeline, New Mutants is intrinsically linked with every X-Men movie released so far. The New Mutants themselves are students at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, just like the X-Men, and the stories of both Deadpool and Cable are directly linked to the New Mutants in the comics.

However, delaying the first film's release may impact any potential plans for crossovers that Fox might have in mind. Coordinating these kind of connections are difficult at the best of times due to the fact that different teams are working on different stories simultaneously. If the development of New Mutants continues to present difficulties to the studio, then it might throw the entire X-Men Universe timeline out of whack by changing the storylines of future projects too. To be fair though, continuity in the X-Men franchise is already problematic as it is and so New Mutants might just confuse things even further.