It’s finally happening. After two years in development hell – an irony given that it’s a horror-oriented movie – The New Mutants jet their way into cinemas worldwide on April 3. Like other lesser-known comic book properties, though, most cinephiles won’t know who this superhero group is or why there’s been such a big deal about the film’s delayed release,
That’s where we come in. We’re here to provide you with a crash course on The New Mutants’ names and abilities, ties to the X-Men, and how they could potentially be incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s everything worth knowing about The New Mutants.
Comic Book Origins
The New Mutants are a team of teenage mutant superheroes with close ties to the X-Men. As students of Professor X’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the group made their comic debut in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 in December 1982.
Initially earmarked for a standalone comic series, Jim Shooter – Marvel’s editor-in-chief at the time – opted against this to provide The New Mutants with an X-Men platform to work from. By introducing them into an already-progressing X-Men storyline, it was hoped that The New Mutants’ property wouldn’t crash and burn before it had even begun.
After initial reactions to the group were positive, they eventually got a standalone series – a run that spanned eight years between 1983 and 1991 – but, with the release of their 100th issue, the series was canceled as sales tailed off. A second volume began in May 2003 as Marvel looked to reinvent the franchise with new characters. This run lasted for 13 issues before Marvel decided to relaunch the group as New X-Men in June 2004.
Volume three of The New Mutants – starring the group’s original lineup from volume one – started in December 2009, but was ended in December 2012 after 50 issues, before a fourth attempt at installing them as a major Marvel franchise began in November 2019. With the film a few months from release, Marvel will hope that the movie’s popularity will help drive sales of this current comic iteration.
Members and Abilities
Like other superhero team-ups, The New Mutants has seen members come and go throughout their 38-year history. Despite the changing lineups across the franchise’s four series, however, there has always been a core cast within their ranks. Five of these key characters will appear in the movie adaptation, and each possesses a unique ability that’s certain to play a role in the film’s plot:
Cannonball: A Kentucky-born mutant who becomes the group’s co-leader in the comics. Cannonball, whose real name is Sam Guthrie, can generate thermo-chemical energy that propels him into the air and makes him invulnerable to damage when in this form
Magik: Illyana Rasputin is a Russian mutant who can use teleportation discs to travel anywhere on Earth, as well as an extra-dimensional plane known as Limbo. The sister of Colossus, Magik also possesses the ability to wear mystic armor and use the Soulsword – a weapon crafted from her own soul that can disrupt magical creatures and energies
Mirage: A Northern Cheyenne mutant who can create illusions based on a person’s desires or fears. Her real name is Danielle Moonstar, and she becomes co-leader with Cannonball in the comics.
Sunspot: Roberto de Costa is a Brazilian-born mutant who can manipulate and store solar energy. This allows him to possess superhuman strength, the ability to fly, and the potential to create concussive blasts
Wolfsbane: A religious Scottish mutant, named Rahne Sinclair, who possesses the ability to turn into a werewolf or human-wolf hybrid. Taking either form grants her increased sight, hearing, and smell, as well as animal-like agility, reflexes, and razor-sharp fangs and claws
The New Mutants Movie Adaptation
Hard as it is to believe, it’ll have been almost five years since 20th Century Fox greenlit The New Mutants film when it’s released in the Spring. Unlike their comic origins, however, The New Mutants movie won’t see the group start out at Professor X’s school. Instead, the quintet finds themselves being held against their will in a secret facility. Psychologically damaged by their past sins and experimented on by those in charge, the group must band together to fight their way out.
The New Mutants stars Game of Thrones alumni Maisie Williams (Wolfsbane), Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton (Cannonball), Split actress Anya-Taylor Joy (Magik), The Originals’ Blu Hunt (Mirage), and 13 Reasons Why’s Henry Zaga (Sunspot).
Alice Braga (I Am Legend, Elysium) will play a supporting role as Cecilia Reyes, the group’s supposed mentor and doctor who can generate a protective bio-field around herself. Antonio Banderas, meanwhile, is rumored to appear as an undisclosed villain in a post-credits scene.
Why Has The New Mutants Movie Taken So Long to be Released?
There are two main reasons behind the film’s delayed release. The major sticking point came with the extensive reshoots that Fox ordered after the positive reception to the film’s first trailer in September 2017. According to reports in March 2018, Fox was hesitant to make the full horror flick that writer-director Josh Boone had originally envisaged. The studio is believed to have been against Boone’s frightening and blood-infused vision and pushed for a PG-13 rated film instead – a decision that sources claim “neutered” Boone.
The 2017 remake of Stephen King’s It, though, changed their perceptions. Despite filming only wrapping weeks earlier, Fox agreed to let Boone realize his vision and allowed for copious reshoots to take place that would make the film more horrifying. With the film’s cast-off shooting other projects, however, reshoots – and the film’s release date – were continually pushed back. New scenes were expected to be shot in September 2018 but, as time wore on, fans began to question whether The New Mutants would ever see the light of day.
Disney’s acquisition of Fox in March 2019 muddied the waters further, with the House of Mouse reportedly unimpressed by its box office potential. After test screenings on Boone’s new vision – including those reshoots – were positively received, including the removal of connections to Fox’s X-Men films as per Disney’s request, those concerns were subsequently dropped by Disney’s top brass and a new release date was penciled in.
Could the Movie Lead to the X-Men’s MCU Arrival?
It’s possible. Disney’s request for The New Mutants film to remove connections to Fox’s X-Men films could allow Marvel Studios to retcon those movies. Should they wish to do so, they can then link The New Mutants to the MCU. The group’s possible arrival in the MCU could pave the way for the X-Men’s introduction, particularly if – and it’s a HUGE if right now – Professor X makes an unexpected cameo at the movie’s end to enlist them into his school.
Should that prove to be the case, Marvel Studios would have an easy way to introduce the X-Men as an MCU property in Phase 5. Head honcho Kevin Feige has already teased as much too, so never say never. Don’t take our word for it, but it would be an extremely cool way to finally announce the X-Men’s MCU arrival.