We’ve known for some time now that Antonio Banderas nearly played Sunspot’s father at the end of Josh Boone‘s X-Men spinoff The New Mutants, but what we didn’t know is that Boone had big plans for the character in a planned sequel titled New Mutants: Brazil.
Boone recently chatted with Entertainment Weekly about his and co-writer Knate Lee‘s original plan for a trilogy of superhero-themed horror movies. The duo created their own PDF comic books as part of their ambitious pitch to Fox executives, who were enamored with Boone following the success of the director’s YA drama The Fault In Our Stars. The initial film was pitched as a supernatural horror movie in the vein of 1987’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, while the two sequels would’ve been different kinds of horror movies. So just what, exactly, did Boone have up his sleeve?
Well, first, Boone hoped to introduce Banderas as Emmanuel da Costa in a post-credits scene at the end of New Mutants. In the comics, Emmanuel has a connection to the Hellfire Club, so the sequel would’ve found his son Roberto and the rest of the New Mutants traveling to Brazil to reunite with his estranged mother, who Emmanuel is trying to kill to protect his own business interests. However, due to a variety of factors, Boone was never able to do reshoots on The New Mutants, though he claims it’s still the film that he set out to make.
“It was intentional that we didn’t shoot it,” Boone told EW. “We had always planned to have a tag at the end of the movie that introduced the villain for the next movie. We even had an actor cast, but because of the merger and because Marvel owns X-Men now and is going to do their own thing, there was no reason to go shoot it.”
From there, Boone planned to introduce characters like Warlock and Karma, the latter of whom was expected to be the villain in the second movie before joining the New Mutants by the end of the film. Karma has the ability to mentally possess other beings, while Warlock is a techno-organic alien. Though both characters could’ve found their way into the first film, Boone preferred to establish the initial core team before expanding its members. That core includes Maisie Williams as Rahne (Wolfsbane), Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana (Magik), Charlie Heaton as Sam (Cannonball), Henry Zaga as Roberto (Sunspot), and Blu Hunt as Dani (Mirage).
It’s a problem that many comic book movies suffer from as studios try to shoehorn in too many characters in an effort to excite fans. Boone took the “less-is-more” approach by focusing on his five leads, allowing for greater character depth. After all, audiences aren’t nearly as familiar with these characters as their proper X-Men counterparts like Wolverine and Mystique.
After multiple delays, The New Mutants is finally set for release on April 3, though the coronavirus seems to have had a chilling effect on the box office, which could affect the film’s box office haul. Of course, Boone has been through so much on this project, he’s prepared to weather the storm, and in some ways, his worlds are colliding. His next project is a limited series adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Stand, which takes place in the aftermath of a deadly virus that has killed millions worldwide.
Some have posited that Fox — now 20th Century Studios, and owned by Disney — should just release The New Mutants on Hulu in an effort to drive subscriptions to the streaming service, especially when many moviegoers may feel safer watching movies from the comfort of their own homes. In Hollywood, as in life, it all comes down to timing. The New Mutants has certainly been unlucky in that regard, but it’s possible that the coronavirus could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the film, as larger titles like the James Bond movie No Time to Die retreat from the marketplace, leaving fewer competition.
Who knows? Maybe The New Mutants will overperform in theaters? I think it looks good, if not interesting, at the very least. But now that Disney owns the X-Men and Marvel’s Kevin Feige has announced plans to bring those characters into the MCU, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a sequel to The New Mutants, regardless of how it fares in theaters.
“In our heart of hearts, we hope [The New Mutants] makes a bunch of money so that we can go make the second one,” said Boone, who added that the sequels would’ve been inspired by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz‘s comic book run, specifically “in terms of the tone and the look and kids not necessarily in costumes.” But for now, he’s waiting to see how things play out opening weekend. “We’re all just bummed at everything that happened. Just the merger and everything else. It had nothing to do with us personally and had an impact on every single movie at Fox at the time.” Many of those projects didn’t survive, like Wes Ball‘s Mouse Guard, for example, but The New Mutants did, and in just a few short weeks, we’ll know if it was worth the wait.
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