What’s The Deal With ‘New Mutants’?

Since the trailer debuted in October 2017, I’ve been curious about the upcoming X-Men film New Mutants. It was marketed as a horror film, complete with jump scares in the trailer, and while I didn’t think it would be particularly novel, I hoped it would at least be commercially successful enough to allow someone else to make a better one down the road – there’s no doubt Fox had a recent X-Men misstep with Apocalypse, but Logan was great. James Mangold, Hugh Jackman, John Mathieson and everyone else involved worked to bring a Western-Noir comic book vision to life; who was to say New Mutants couldn’t have experienced that same sort of freedom?

New Mutants X-Men Movie

Charlie Heaton (‘Stranger Things’) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Glass) are set to star in the movie.

Director Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars) is on the record saying he’s not a horror film fan. He’s a huge Stephen King fan and likes The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, but it’s difficult to see those influences in the trailer. What I do see is A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, with this part of the first film plus modern horror tropes. However, I’m not one to analyze trailers, and I prefer to watch a film on its own merits (not the marketing’s), so I didn’t think much more about it other than that I was looking forward to watching it 13 April… of 2018. I didn’t think about the film again until it was first moved to February 2019, which became 2 August 2019. According to Collider, the reason was extensive reshoots in order to embrace the horror aspects.

Wait… what?

So Fox released a horror-style trailer in October 2017 and had to push the date to actually make the film sold by their trailer? What exactly did they have originally?

The original plan was a mash-up of John Hughes and Stephen King, and Stacey Snider described it as being set in, “‘Breakfast Club’ detention/’Cuckoo’s Nest…’” Boone was happy with his first cut, and despite wanting to make a full horror film, he delivered on the Young Adult/horror crossover and it tested well with audiences. Fox planned three days of reshoots to change the ending to make it more YA, then the positive response to the trailer meant more reshoots to make the movie more like Boone’s original conception. Weird…

A trailer actually aiding the artist in establishing their vision? What world are we living in?

The changes that were to be made were mostly to add some scenes and scares to the first half of the film and, according to The Tracking Board, the second half of the film was always locked in. This is quite similar to the 2015 Fantastic Four, except with a more compliant director – Trank’s vision was to combine Steven Spielberg and sci-fi horror, and while the dialogue was terrible, the visual and tonal references did come through. I can definitely see a more cohesive version making for a good film, giving me optimism for New Mutants being able to combine two different types of filmmaking. Fox’s failure with Fantastic Four was the decision to essentially make two movies and stick them back-to-back, rather than choosing between the choices of Trank’s vision, their own, or a synthesis of the two.

As of the beginning of April 2019, those reshoots still haven’t happened; perhaps all of this delay and turbulence was a boon. While it won’t be as scary as those of us following at a distance would expect from Fox’s marketing decision, it will at least be a version that the filmmaker happily put together. It has to be after all of this, right? Imagine another superhero film that sets a dark horror tone, only to be let down when the film dramatically shifts – we won’t have a film built upon a creative divide, but one rooted in compromise between Fox and Boone since pre-production. Disney confirmed at CinemaCon that the film will come out, though the exact date isn’t known (an August release date is presumed).

Honestly, I’m just excited I’ll never have to hear about Fox’s issues making a superhero film ever again.



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Jacob Davis

Jacob is a film critic, and co-host of the podcast Three Guys One Movie.
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