Fox is going full-speed ahead on their New Mutants film after months of speculations and rumors. Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars, Stuck in Love) has been developing this project for two years with screenwriter Knate Gwaltney (Cardboard Boxer) which initially had Nat Wolff (Death Note, Paper Towns) being eyed as Cannonball with James McAvoy and Alexandra Shipp tentatively attached to reprise their roles as Charles Xavier and Ororo Munroe/Storm. While those casting rumors have since proven to be false, the production is making up for lack of momentum by going into high-gear on the plot and cast side of things.
Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly published an interview with Boone where he disclosed that this film wouldn’t be your typical X-Men film, let alone superhero film:
“We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe. There are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.”
He cites his inspiration for this tone as artist Bill Sienkiewicz’s work, specifically 1984’s “The Demon Bear Saga” which Sienkiewicz drew with writer Chris Claremont that unfolded in The New Mutants #18-20. In it, the teenage students of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters are isolated by a freak snowstorm from their mentors and the world, forced to overcome their own differences to save themselves and teammate Danielle Moonstar from a demonic bear that killed her parents.
Boone called the story arc “a darker and more surreal and impressionistic X-Men series than we’d ever seen before. It felt like Stephen King meets John Hughes.”
A source cited to be close to the production has revealed the following as the premise:
“Held in a secret facility against their will, five new mutants have to battle the dangers of their powers, as well as the sins of their past. They aren’t out to save the world — they’re just trying to save themselves.”
The tone and supposed premise definitely sound like no other superhero film out there, and it will certainly stand out among the X-Men franchise. The unique story is similar to the direction FX went with Legion. The team’s lineup in the film is slated to be comprised of Russian sorceress Illyana Rasputin/Magik, Scottish werewolf Rahne Sinclaire/Wolfsbane, Cheyenne psionic Dani Moonstar/Mirage, Kentucky coal miner Sam Guthrie/Cannonball, Brazilian billionaire Roberto da Costa/Sunspot, and alien shapeshifter Warlock.
Two weeks ago, Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy were finally confirmed for Wolfsbane and Magik after being attached to the roles for over a year. Magik is the younger sister of Colossus, who Appeared in Deadpool and is set to return for the sequel next year.
Various outlets have reported that Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why, Teen Wolf) is lined up to play Sunspot, a Brazilian with the ability to absorb and channel solar energy into a variety of superpowers. This will be the second cinematic incarnation of the character after Adan Canto (Designated Survivor, The Following) portrayed an alternate future version of the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The same reports confirm that Rosario Dawson (Iron Fist, Death Proof) is in talks to portray Dr. Cecilia Reyes, who (in the comics) is a Puerto Rican trauma surgeon who is able to generate a psioplasmic bio-field around any part of her body, increasing her durability.
Seperate reports state that Blu Hunt (The Originals, This Is It) and True O’Brien (Queen Sugar) are being eyed for the role of Dani Moonstar, with Hunt being rumored as the frontrunner possibly due to her Native American heritage and the fact that she follows most of the cast and Josh Boone on social media.
There’s been no word on casting choices for Canmonball as of yet, however, a casting call has gone out via Project Casting for “very thin and athletic men between the heights of 6’9″ and 7’4″ who must be able to chase kids down a hall and must be OK with wearing prosthetics and makeup.” That description seems to indicate that they’re casting for a stand-in for Demon Bear, but they other media sites are speculating that it could be one for Warlock, a member of a techno-organic alien race called the Technarchy who survive by draining sentient species of their “lifeglow” for sustenance. Being a mutant Technarch, Warlock refused to take life, including that of his father (the Technarch right of passage) and fled his planet, crash-landing on Earth at Charles Xavier’s mansion where he eventually became a student, joining the New Mutants.
If the aforementioned plot summary turns out to be legitimate, it’s obvious No one will be taking some liberties with back stories, as to be expected. But the underlying characteristics still seem to be present so we shouldn’t see the issues that previous X-Men films have had in that arena. The direction he’s going in is very fresh and unique which is drumming up lots of excitement among the fanbase. Hopefully, his approach will assist in diversifying the franchise and pave the way for future directors to do the same.
Principal photography on The New Mutants is set to kick off July 13 in Boston and will premier in theaters April 13, 2018.