After three years of delays and rumoured re-shoots, ‘The New Mutants’ is finally hitting theatres. Directed by Josh Boone (‘The Fault In Our Stars’), the last ‘X-Men’ film of the Fox era — before its merger with Disney — has had a long and tumultuous road to the big screen, a journey made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic no doubt.
But troublesome back story aside, the film itself defies definition: A teen superhero horror thriller with rom-com elements thrown in for good measure, Boone, in an interview with Los Angeles Times, said he was inspired by movies such as ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street 3’ and ‘Girl, Interrupted’ while making ‘The New Mutants’.
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Boone co-wrote the film with his childhood friend Knate Lee. In a separate interview with Syfy Wire, Boone said, “It’s funny, I was never quite worried about when [‘The New Mutants’] was gonna open because I still haven’t seen a movie quite like it,” he tells us. “I still felt like nobody had done it yet, so we’d still be good and I felt like we really did nail these comic book characters. I’ve been such a big fan since I was a kid; I wrote it with my best friend, who I’ve known since we were little babies. Our moms are best friends and we loved Marvel Comics so much growing up. We were just trying to really fulfil a lifetime dream that a 12-year-old had a long time ago.”
Ahead of the film’s release in the UAE on September 10, we take a look at everything you need to know about the film before heading to cinemas:
What’s ‘New Mutants’ about?
According to the official synopsis, ‘The New Mutants’ follows five young people with special powers who are brought to a secret institution to undergo. Invited by Dr Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) to share their stories about when their powers first manifested, the five “patients” come to understand that they are in a class of people called mutants, who have historically been marginalised and feared.
As they relive their origin stories, their memories seem to turn into terrifying realities. Soon, they question what is real and what isn’t, and it becomes clear that the institution isn’t what it seems. Now the question is — why are they being held captive? And who is trying to destroy them?
Comic book history:
The New Mutants made their first appearance in the graphic novel of the same name, written by comic book legend Chris Claremont and illustrated by Bob McLeod, back in 1982. The graphic novel broke new ground in comic book history by delving into the minds of troubled adolescents from marginalised societies. While some were fleeing from abuse, others were confused about their identities and newfound powers, and the Claremont-McLeod team highlighted their difficult issues with a humane touch. In the comics, under the careful tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier, this group of diverse, young mutants flourished and found new purpose.
Why the delay?
In an interview with Los Angeles Times, director Boone explained the major reason the film was put on hold for several years — the Disney-Fox merger: “[I’m] just happy to come out on the other end. We’re getting to release the movie that we wanted. My cut of the movie. I got to finish it and do everything that needs to be done to it. It means I’m really happy, but the process was unusually frustrating. There was also rumours and things online that weren’t true,” he said. “When the [Disney-Fox] merger happened, there was basically a year where nothing was going on and we weren’t sure if [finishing the movie] was going to happen. It was after that year that Disney asked me to come back and finish it. Then it was done except for the visual effects. I mean, we had a year of not seeing it. But we’ve never done reshoots or pickups and the normal stuff you’d get to do. Because of the merger, we just didn’t get to. It’s still the same story that we always intended to tell.”
Meet the New Mutants
Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane: Played by ‘Game of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams, this Scottish mutant is charged with the power of lycanthropy and can transform into a werewolf. The character originally appeared in the 1982 New Mutants comic as one of the founding members of the teen X-Men group. Before being given refuge by Charles Xavier, Sinclair’s tragic back story involves an abusive father with strict religious beliefs who tries to kill Sinclair when her mutant abilities manifest.
Sam Guthrie aka Cannonball: This New Mutant can fly at jet speeds protected by a force field, making him invulnerable while he’s in flight. Played by ‘Stranger Things’ actor Charlie Heaton, Guthrie’s comic book origin story states that he worked in a coal mine and his powers manifested during a deadly accident on site.
Illyana Rasputin aka Magik: The younger sister of Colossus (you may remember him from ‘Deadpool’), Magik becomes encased in armour at will and wields a soulsword that amplifies her multiple superhuman and psychic abilities. Magik is played by Anya Taylor-Joy, famous for her roles in M Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’ and ‘Glass’.
Danielle Moonstar aka Mirage: This young mutant has the ability to create illusions from other people’s fears. Played by actress Blu Hunt (‘The Originals’ ‘Another Life’), the character is a Cheyenne Native American superhero who has been a part of various crime fighting groups in Marvel’s history, apart from the New Mutants.
Roberto da Costa aka Sunspot: A mutant who absorbs and channels solar power, this character is played by actor Henry Zaga (’13 Reasons Why’). Da Costa, a mutant from Brazil, is another of the founding New Mutants members, alongside Cannonball and Wolfsbane. In the comics, Sunspot’s powers are awakened after a racially-motivated, but this origin story has been reworked for the movie, inspiring some backlash from fans.
Don’t miss it!
‘The New Mutants’ releases in the UAE on September 10.