This new generation of ‘X-Men’ characters promises a refreshing, albeit much darker, twist for the franchise we think we know so well.
The superhero franchise that kicked off the turn of the century is still going strong. After two trilogies and a smattering of spin-off films, the X-Men series maintains a quiet longevity that keeps growing. Deadpool and Logan introduced a fresh tonal shift to the original series and the prequels, and now The New Mutants can be added to the bunch. Director Josh Boone teased the premiere of the film’s first footage on Instagram yesterday, and it’s finally here!
In The New Mutants, five young mutants discover they have extraordinary powers while held captive in a secret facility and must tackle their demons while trying to save themselves. The ambiance of the trailer is already much creepier than any X-Men film that’s come before The New Mutants. Previous fare in the franchise has yet to tackle the inherent horror of developing such new, strange powers, but The New Mutants seems adamant to change that. The film looks ready to go deep into the psychological and physiological terrors that haunt these very special kids. Like Logan before it, “fun” isn’t really the main objective, but we’re here for it.
The New Mutants stars some of the most exciting young actors working in Hollywood today, and breathe life into this dark horror/YA version of the X-Men franchise. Anya-Taylor Joy (The Witch) as Magik, Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as Wolfsbane, Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) as Cannonball, Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) as Sunspot and Blu Hunt (The Originals) as Mirage. Alice Braga (Blindness) rounds out the cast as Cecilia Reyes, a mutant who serves as a mentor to the ragtag group.
Taylor-Joy recently commented on the narrative direction of The New Mutants, assuring fans that the movie will remain faithful to the source material at its core:
“I think the nicest thing about it is that Josh Boone, our director — he’s just such a fan of the comics, and he really loves them so much that he’s really interested in just making sure that we do the comics justice for the people that love the characters. You know, we all feel so lucky to be such incredibly loved characters. So, while it’s definitely a departure from the ‘X-Men’ movies, the fans won’t be disappointed. We definitely kept all the important bits in there.”
I, for one, am especially excited for Taylor-Joy’s turn as a mutant — specifically, as the sister of X-Men member Colossus, who has made several appearances in the X-Men film universe thus far. Playing roles like Thomasin in The Witch and Casey Cooke in Split has showcased her versatility in crafting unusual, layered young women onscreen. The horror aspect of The New Mutants shouldn’t be a problem for her at all. And Williams as a religiously-conflicted lycanthrope? Arya Stark is keeping within her wolf heritage, which Williams could feasibly play to similar perfection. Count us in.
In other exciting X-Men news this week, Channing Tatum’s long-awaited Gambit has set a release date for Valentine’s Day 2019. Recently revealed to be courting Gore Verbinski as the new Gambit director, 20th Century Fox is quickly locking down the schedule for its newest line-up of superheroes. Fox is also establishing serious television credibility with its wider X-Men universe as well. The parallel television worlds of Legion and The Gifted have received critical acclaim.
The X-Men series is here to fight tooth and nail against the other Marvel properties and DC’s “still” (read: barely) connected cinematic universe, and absolutely hold their own doing it. The New Mutants is slated to premiere April 13, 2018.