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What does The New Mutants mean for the X-Men franchise?

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We’ve got to be honest, we still haven’t recovered from the loss of Logan (Hugh Jackman) last year. Given the demise of such a prominent character, we weren’t sure where the X-Men universe could go next, but now we have our answer.

Soon, we will see the arrival of The New Mutants, a superhero horror film in which five new superheroes must come to grips with their abilities while being held in a secret facility.

But what does this film mean for the X-Men franchise as a whole? We’ve put together everything we know so far in an attempt to make sense of it all.


The new ensemble

The New Mutants made its comic debut in 1982, created by writers Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod. At the time the existing X-Men team was growing older, and the intention was to bring in some fresh blood in order to appeal to a new audience. But just who are these characters?

  • Danielle Moonstar a.k.a. Mirage (Blu Hunt) – a Native American mutant who has the ability to create illusions based on a person’s fears or desires.
  • Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane (Early Man’s Maisie Williams) – a Scottish mutant who struggles to reconcile her religious beliefs with her ability to turn into a wolf.
  • Sam Guthrie a.k.a Cannonball (Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton) – a Kentuckian mutant who can fly at jet speeds while encased in an impenetrable force field.
  • Roberto da Costa a.k.a. Sunspot (Henry Zaga) – a Brazilian mutant with the power to manipulate solar energy.
  • Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik (The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy) – a Russian mutant with teleportation abilities.

The goal of The New Mutants movie is to expand the X-Men universe beyond the familiarity of faces such as Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy).

Speaking with USA Today, director Josh Boone, who made 2014 romantic hit The Fault in Our Stars, revealed that the story is very performance and character-driven, and "more grounded and credible than X-Men movies ever are".


The wider movie universe

In terms of comic book chronology, The New Mutants picks up in 1982, one year after the publication of the timeline-wiping Days of Future Past storyline. However it has been confirmed by Boone that The New Mutants movie is in fact set in the present day. 

While this presumably rules out any future team-ups with the original X-Men ensemble, it does put our new group of characters within the same timeline as Deadpool and the upcoming X-Force movie.

With this summer's Deadpool 2 set to introduce telepathic mutant mercenary Cable (Josh Brolin), there is a possibility that we could see a future movie collaboration. Within the New Mutants comics he assumes a leadership role, engaging the characters’ help in the ongoing conflict with super-villain Stryfe, so we may see this on the big screen in future.

The New Mutants adopts a much darker tone than previous X-Men films, linking superhero and horror aspects. Boone tells IGN: "Fox made Deadpool and Logan and they were sort of so tonally different they felt emboldened to let us go make it different, let it have its own distinct tone and identity. I think of the mainline X-Men movies more as grand operative science-fiction films. This is much more of a performance-driven horror film".


The future of the X-Men movie franchise

Boone has pitched The New Mutants as the first part of a new horror trilogy.

He tells IGN: "We brought it to Fox as a trilogy of films, really all based on that long run by [Bill] Sienkiewicz, and kind of incorporates some stuff from later issues in the ’80s. These are all going to be horror movies, all be their own distinct kind of horror movies. This is certainly the ‘rubber-reality’ supernatural horror movie. The next one will be a completely different kind of horror movie. Our take was just go examine the horror genre through comic book movies and make each one its own distinct sort of horror film. Drawing from the big events that we love in the comics".

Given the blockbusting success of the X-Men spin-offs so far, namely Logan and Deadpool, we might expect The New Mutants to follow in their footsteps. After all, like the aforementioned movies, it looks to be skewing towards the slightly older moviegoer who’s more receptive to darker, edgier material, and who maybe desires to see a tonal shakeup within the franchise.

Whereas Logan unleashed plenty of shocking carnage and Deadpool an onslaught of hilariously filthy humour, The New Mutants sets itself up as the first X-Men movie that will properly scare us, which is a very intriguing prospect.

As we continue to find out more about the new recruits, deeper connections with the X-Men may well become clearer. While the full extent of their connections is currently unknown, there are so many possibilities open to exploration, and this surely means great things for the future of the franchise.

The New Mutants may not be immediately recognisable as an X-Men film, but we could not be more excited to see how it turns out.

Originally set for release on 11th April 2018, The New Mutants will now be released on 22nd February 2019. (This is owing to Deadpool 2's release being brought forward to 18th May 2018.) Will you be watching it? Let us know @Cineworld.

Hannah Dixon is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.