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

Easter Eggs You Missed In The New Mutants

The New Mutants might go down in history as one of the unluckiest movies ever. Fate conspired to stall the teen mutant yarn's release for years after its 2017 filming. Studio-mandated delays, the Disney-Fox corporate merger, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic all kept The New Mutants out of theaters until August of 2020. Sadly, the general consensus ended up being that this movie isn't worth breathing other people's air in the middle of the pandemic. Would the reviews have been better if critics didn't have to worry that a good New Mutants writeup might send readers rushing to the multiplex, thus causing a super-spreader event? We'll never know.

We do know, however, that some of us kind of dig The New Mutants. It's not a perfect movie by a long shot, but it comes much closer to success than many give it credit for. Director Josh Boone and the other creative minds behind the movie kept the cast small and fixed the story in a single location, which goes a long way towards masking the story's weaker points. Plus, the final 20 minutes of the film conjures up enough raw superhero action to make us temporarily forget about our various gripes. Finally, this is a movie jam-packed with details, nods, and shout-outs aimed squarely at the most devoted fans. We're here to examine the Easter eggs that may have flown under your radar in The New Mutants.

Mr. Sinister's Essex Corporation

Though it looks like Deadpool is sticking around, we can safely assume the Disney-Fox merger puts an end to Fox's version of the X-Men. For the most part, fans are probably too excited about the prospect of Wolverine meeting Spider-Man when the X-Men finally emerge in the MCU to mourn the OG cinematic X-Men continuity. But those of us who remember sitting in a theater and watching adamantium claws pop for the first time in 2000's X-Men might feel a tad sentimental over the only movie mutants we've ever known. Major Mr. Sinister fans have a right to be downright furious: They were led to believe they'd see their favorite evil geneticist on the big screen, and now that might never happen at all.

Luckily, they have a wealth of references to the character in The New Mutants to enjoy. We first see the phrase "Essex Corp." — a nod to Nathaniel Essex, AKA Mr. Sinister — on a briefcase during X-Men: Apocalypse's end credits scene. That name is all over the place in New Mutants. Dr. Reyes explicitly states the Essex Corporation runs her asylum, and the little diamond pin she wears on her lab coat makes it clear that her boss is the longtime X-Men nemesis. Luckily for disgruntled Sinister stans, they can always read Marvel's ongoing X-Men comics, which contain oodles upon oodles of pure Sinister goodness ... or, technically, badness. You get the idea. 


The New Mutants largely captures the essence of Illyana Rasputin, AKA Magik. Anya Taylor-Joy appears to relish the snark and moral ambiguity Magik's known for in the funny books, and her one-liners during the final battle might be the most memorable parts of the entire film.  Magik is the biggest badass in a superhero movie in 2020, putting her in the running for biggest badass in a 2020 movie overall.

But as is often necessary when transferring decades-old comics lore to a modern context, The New Mutants' filmmakers had to modify Magik's origin a little bit. She teleports to a fiery pocket dimension called Limbo, which comics fans should recognize instantly, on a handful of occasions throughout the movie. But whereas the film version of Limbo is an imaginary world Magik has created herself, the comics version of Limbo is a hellscape originally ruled by the demon Belasco. Magik trains in sorcery and gets her soul sword when Belasco traps her in Limbo against her will. So yeah, New Mutants has tweaked Magik's story a little. But every time the movie takes a peek at Limbo, comic fans can't help but feel a little thrill to see the fiery realm in live action.

On a semi-related note, in the comics, Lockheed is an extraterrestrial being and definitely not a puppet. But we can't say we have a problem with a supernatural puppet iteration of Lockheed: Both versions are pretty rad, and it's a treat to see him at all.

The Smiley Men are straight out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In The New Mutants, Buffy The Vampire Slayer plays on the TV in the hospital recreation room on a couple of occasions. We could note that Buffy– a '90s-to-early '00s television classic that turned creator Joss Whedon into a major Hollywood power — does teen melodrama-meets-horror about as well as anybody ever has, and warrants a nod in New Mutants for that reason alone. Of course, back in the day, X-Men stories were cited as a major influence on Buffy, so time really is a flat circle upon which long-form serialized storytelling inspires new franchises which, in turn, send ideas back to the source.

The New Mutants could've picked an arbitrary Buffy episode if all it wanted to do was remind viewers that Buffy exists, but instead, it went in a more purposeful direction. The second time we see characters watching Buffy, Cannonball and Wolfsbane are taking in the fourth season episode "Hush." In "Hush," a cluster of fairy tale monsters known as the Gentlemen invade Buffy and the gang's hometown of Sunnydale, and deploy a spell that prevents anyone from using their voice. This way, they can remove the still-beating hearts of their victims without making any noise. As you might have already guessed, the Smiley Men who haunt Magik's memories bear a more than slight resemblance to the baddies of "Hush" — easily one of the most memorable creations of the Buffy special effects and costume department.

The long legacy of Buffy's Willow and Tara

It might not be the highest-grossing X-Men movie around, but The New Mutants can always say it broke significant ground by featuring an openly LGBT lead character and an LGBT primary romance.

When we think about who paved the way for Dani Moonstar and Wolfsbane to smooch in a major PG-13 superhero movie, we must acknowledge Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio, supporting characters who are fully out of the closet in 2018's Deadpool 2But not all that long ago, outside of vague references, once-in-a-decade movies like Brokeback Mountain, and borderline homophobic work along the lines of Adam Sandler's pretend marriage in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Hollywood didn't often permit LGBT characters to be all that open about themselves. And fictional LGBT couples definitely couldn't express overtly amorous physical affection for each other in mainstream entertainment.

Willow and Tara, played by Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mostly play by the old rules, even after their characters go the 2001 equivalent of Facebook official. It takes the profoundly emotional circumstances of "The Body," sometimes cited as the best episode of Buffy's entire run, for Willow and Tara to actually kiss in full view of the audience.

This was a pretty major deal for LGBT visibility in the realm of sci-fi/fantasy, so it's all too appropriate that we see Wolfsbane watching this scene specifically, early on in The New Mutants.

The Transigen facility

Are Dr. Reyes and Mr. Sinister affiliated with Transigen, the organization that menaces Wolverine, X-23, and Professor X throughout 2017's Logan? If so, does this mean a hypothetical sequel to The New Mutants would've tied directly into Fox's larger X-Men universe? Perhaps the studio thought they could save a few dollars by repurposing footage from an older movie, instead of shooting a whole new evil laboratory scene, without anyone noticing? Either way, 15 or 20 seconds worth of children being experimented on at the Transigen facility from Logan found its way into The New Mutants

Considering James Mangold's Wolverine solo banger netted more than $600 million, it would take a high degree of naivete and/or cynicism on the part of an executive to think the audience for New Mutants wouldn't recognize clips from one of Logan's more disturbing sequences. But if we are intended to think the Transigen we see in New Mutants and the Transigen we see in Logan are the same facility, that means New Mutants takes place in a distant future, when most of the X-Men have perished and mutants have been largely bred out of the global population. You would think stuff like that would come up in conversation among a group of mutants indefinitely trapped in a hospital together with basically nothing else to do but chat. Strangely, nobody ever brings it up — but it still makes for one heck of an Easter egg.

Reverend Craig just won't die

The X-Men universe is full of actual, literal demons. But Rahne Sinclair, AKA Wolfsbane, isn't one of them — though she definitely thinks of herself as the spawn of Satan, growing up in rural Scotland. Raised in a strictly religious household, the young mutant is torn apart by the cruelty she faces as a result of her powers, which lead to her branding (literal and figurative) as a witch.

In one of the waking nightmares inadvertently induced by Dani Moonstar's yet-to-be-mastered mutant powers, a horrible figure from Wolfsbane's past accosts her in the shower. "You're not real. I killed you!" she says, upon the entrance of Reverend Craig. "And like Christ, I rise again!" the bleeding apparition shouts back, in a blasphemous manner that contradicts his churchy attire. Reverend Craig Sinclair is Wolfsbane's insane, abusive father in the comics (and perhaps the movie as well, though it's not confirmed). In the comics, Wolfsbane eventually mauls Reverend Craig to death while brainwashed, years after beginning her affiliation with the X-Men. It's a death he's richly earned by that point. His figure appearing the movie is a juicy shout-out to Wolfsbane's history on its own, but her reference to killing him is even more noticeable to comics fans who recall just how brutally her relationship with her father ends.

The Replacements have a mutant moment

Movies that take place within a single shared universe all advertise each other. But director Josh Boone figured out a way to promote an upcoming project that has nothing at all to do with X-Men, or any superheroes at all, within New Mutants

Not long after New Mutants embarked upon its theatrical run in August, the story broke that Boone had already finished a script for an adaptation of Trouble Boys, the definitive biography of iconic alternative rock band The Replacements. According to Brooklyn Vegan, frequent Boone collaborator Nat Wolff is already signed on to play front man Paul Westerberg. It's likely no coincidence, then, that when the teen mutants go frolicking through the halls while Dr. Reyes is sedated about 40 minutes into The New Mutants, The 'Mats indefatigable "Bastards of Young," off 1985's Tim, plays in the background.

You might say Trouble Boys is the story of a staple alt-rock quartet with superpowers — except all the main characters have the same superpower, and that superpower is heavy drinking. In many respects, Trouble Boys is a significant departure from Boone's other projects, like New Mutants, ABC's The Stand, and the movie with which he initially made his mark, 2014's The Fault in Our Stars. But if there's one thing he's proved, it's that he can tell a story about young people in crisis. Weaving his projects together, as he does with this Easter egg, is surprisingly natural as a result.

The X-Men join the Breakfast Club

For those of us who experience the 1980s vicariously through its most enduring pop culture, having not been old enough to live through the decade ourselves, it certainly looks like it was a pretty great time to be a teenager in America. This is the era when MTV was born. Video game consoles that hooked up to common television sets became widely available. And boy, were the '80s something of a golden era for superhero comics. In addition to giving rise to genre-redefining works like Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, the '80s also brought us Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz's New Mutants, upon which the movie is based.

It's not surprising to learn, then, that The New Mutants was originally set in the '80s. Moreover, the cinema of the era has about as much influence on the film as the comics. The '80s saw the rise of John Hughes teen drama classics like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, the latter of which is explicitly referenced during the frolicking montage in The New Mutants. That's a pretty great Easter egg to drop, but given the movie is about teenagers with conflicting personalities fighting their personal demons, we think a nod to Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors might have been appropriate as well.