We started to think we’d never get to see it, but 20th Century Fox released the latest trailer for The new mutantsdirector Josh Boone’s horror-inspired film, originally developed as part of the The X-Men franchisee. The film is slated for an April release and has been described as a “Stephen King meets John Hughes” YA horror film, with a hint of Weird stuff for the record. The new mutants feels very different tonally than previous films in The X-Men cinematic universe.
It’s been a long road for Boone, who threw first The new mutants as a potential standalone trilogy to the studio after wrapping up his 2014 film The Fault in Our Stars† From the beginning Boone wanted to bring a different atmosphere in mutantslike Deadpool did in 2016. But while Deadpool went for raunchy R-rated comedy, Boone wanted to explore horror along the lines of classics like rosemary baby and The shining† “There are no costumes, there are no super villains. We’re trying to do something very, very different,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. But Boon later admitted some frustration with the studio’s “castration” of his original vision, which wanted more of a YA focus.
Early showings of Boone’s original cut were positive, and the success of THE in 2017 convinced the studio to play out the horror elements it had previously wanted to emphasize. Several reshoots were planned, but they never materialized, in part due to conflicts in the actors’ schedules, but also because Fox kept changing the planned release date to avoid competing with other films in the stable: Deadpool 2 in 2018 and last year Dark Phoenix†
Then Disney took over Fox last year, and studio executives reportedly thought: The new mutants would not have strong box office potential. They changed their minds when Boone presented an updated version of the film, which received Disney’s approval. And that’s why the movie is finally, finally, coming to the big screen.
According to the official synopsis, “Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while being held against their will in a secret facility, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.” Boone’s cited influences include Demon Bear, a major villain in The new mutants comics, as well as the 1987 slasher movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriorsin which children in a psychiatric hospital are trained to control their dreams, to better fight against main monster Freddy Krueger.
The mutants trailer opens with a shot of Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) rubbing a drop of blood between her fingers, while Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) in a voiceover asks about the last thing she remembers. We get a nightmarish flashback to Dani and a man (probably her father) running away from a fire. Dani wakes up in a mental hospital, handcuffed to her bed, while Dr. Reyes tells her that the reason she survived is because she is “a very unusual girl” – a mutant, in fact. And she’s not alone. Reyes introduces her to a group of young mutants, all of whom are part of a therapeutic support group at the hospital. Each of them is haunted by strange nightmares and visions.
rahne (Game of ThronesMaisie Williams), also known as Wolfsbane, can turn into a wolf, which is in stark contrast to her religious beliefs. Sam (Weird stuffCharlie Heaton), also known as Cannonball, is invulnerable when propelling himself into the air. Roberto (Henry Zaga), aka Sunspot, has the ability to manipulate solar energy, and his inability to control that power seems to have led to his girlfriend’s downfall. Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy), also known as Magik, can teleport and is the sister of X-Man Colossus. She is also known in the comics for her sword, which appears briefly here, emerging from her arm. As for Dani, aka Mirage, she has the “power to create illusions arising from the fears and desires of one’s mind.”
Dani’s power is very interesting to Dr. Reyes, who explains that they need to research Dani’s strength to help her get well. But as Illyana tells her, “This isn’t a hospital, it’s a cage.” When Dani “sees” something during the tests that Dr. Reyes probably didn’t want her to see it, she concludes that none of them are in the hospital getting well. “This place takes your worst fear and makes you live through it,” we hear Reyes say. “Until it kills you.” And the mutants decide to join forces to escape.
Filmmaker Boone has wavered in interviews over the years about whether or not Demon Bear will appear in The new mutants, but the character is listed among the cast. We see a shot of Dani in the trailer with a bear shaped pendant, and we may catch a glimpse of Demon Bear towards the end. So we go out and predict that this will be the main antagonist for the movie. There’s also a post-credits rumor with Antonio Banderas as an as-yet-named villain, who needs to get things ready for a potential sequel. The new mutants hit it big at the checkout.
The new mutants is scheduled for a theatrical release on April 3, 2020.
Listing image by 20th Century Fox