The New Mutants Blends the X-Men and Horror
Return to the world of super-powered mutants with THE NEW MUTANTS. This isn’t exactly a new X-MEN sequel, but this comic book movie does take place in the same universe as films like X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The title characters were part of the very first comic book spin-off of the classic “Uncanny X-Men” title in the early 1980s, and “The New Mutants” quickly became a home for genre-tinged tales which took the characters into places the X-Men didn’t often go.
Josh Boone, the director of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is the filmmaker behind THE NEW MUTANTS, which follows five teens coping with their newfound abilities. And while that description makes THE NEW MUTANTS sound an awful lot like an X-MEN sequel, Boone’s idea was something quite different. Rather than an epic-sized movie filled with costumed heroes, this is a dark and edgy thriller like nothing we’ve seen in the series before. Let’s take a closer look at the cast and exciting new characters of THE NEW MUTANTS, and see how it is connected to the famous franchise.
The Next Generation
[Image credit: 20th Century Studios]
Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the X-MEN movies, means fans will soon get to see new versions of the mutant characters enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s probably going to be a while before any of the X-Men join the Avengers, on the big screen, however.
In the meantime, think of THE NEW MUTANTS like an unusual bridge between eras. Characters like Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Quicksilver won’t be making an appearance. At one point, there were plans for James McAvoy to appear as Professor X, aka Charles Xavier, with Alexandra Shipp returning as the weather-controlling Storm. Things changed, however, and now THE NEW MUTANTS stands alone as a story that approaches the X-MEN world from a new angle.
The New Class
THE NEW MUTANTS isn’t about a cohesive team of teen mutants. To become X-Men like Wolverine and Jean Grey requires a lot of training and a mastery of mutant abilities. The kids in this movie are still figuring all of that out. In comics the team has featured numerous characters throughout the years, including Domino (played by Zazie Beetz in DEADPOOL 2), but director Josh Boone and his co-writer Knate Lee chose five of their favorites to appear in the new film.
“Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams is Rahne Sinclair, aka Wolfsbane. She’s a young woman from Scotland who is struggling to reconcile her werewolf-like abilities with her deeply religious beliefs. Next up is Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik, played by SPLIT star Anya Taylor-Joy. Magik is a powerful sorcerer from Russia, who uses special discs to teleport – oh, and she just so happens to be the sister of Colossus, a character who’s appeared in the X-MEN and DEADPOOL movies.
"Stranger Things" favorite Charlie Heaton plays Sam Guthrie, aka Cannonball, who shoots himself into the air and uses his body like a – well, like a cannonball! Newcomer Blu Hunt is Danielle Moonster, a Native American mutant who goes by Mirage and has the ability to create illusions based on the fears and desires of her intended target. And last but not least is “13 Reasons Why” star Henry Zaga as Roberto da Costa, aka Sunspot, a Brazilian mutant who can manipulate solar energy.
When Heroes Meet Horror
Director Josh Boone’s approach to this material has been described as a mix of iconic horror author Stephen King and John Hughes – the director of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, SIXTEEN CANDLES, and other ’80s teen classics. The horror vibe is key to THE NEW MUTANTS, however, and the film carries forward the feel of classic early stories drawn by the talented artist Bill Sienkiewicz. His scratchy, hectic lines are even reflected in the movie's logo.
In fact, the film at least references a comic book storyline known as the Demon Bear Saga, originally drawn by Sienkiewicz. The bear in the title is a massive supernatural beast with terrifying teeth. The creature is tied to the character Danielle Moonster, aka Mirage, and the trailer hints at several plot points comics readers might recognize. Demon Bear has the potential to become one of the scariest superhero movie villains in recent memory, and that’s reason enough to be excited for THE NEW MUTANTS.
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All images courtesy of 20th Century Studios.