Josh Boone‘s The New Mutants will finally see the light of day this April after a long and wild road to release. It began its life as a 20th Century Fox production of its Marvel property, set squarely within the X-Men universe and the title team’s revitalization on the big screen. It was originally supposed to be set in the 80s, following up on the previous decade-specific releases of the franchise films that came before it. But then some big changes came along, like some genre confusion as to whether it was full-on horror or not, a bunch of release date delays, and then the Disney buyout that eventually wiped the 20th Century Fox name from the record. However, Disney has opted to give the film a release window to close out the 20-odd years of Fox Marvel movies … along with some changes.
Now, granted, this intel comes courtesy of a 2017 set visit by Nick Romano for Collider, so quite a bit may have changed in the years since. Originally, while working with producer Simon Kinberg, The New Mutants was set “in the 80s universe with Professor X in it, with Storm in it, and a bunch of other stuff,” as Boone commented. But then Kinberg got busy writing and directing X-Men: Dark Phoenix, so producer Karen Rosenfelt stepped in to produce the then-80s-set feature.
But that’s when the post-Apocalypse (2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, that is) changed things, as Boone explained:
They basically decided after Apocalypse, they didn’t want anything set in the past anymore, like that was the reason that it was bad. The one before that in the 70s was pretty awesome. The ’67 was pretty great.
So yeah, sounds like the producers may have taken the wrong lessons from Apocalypse and opted to scrap any thematic ties to that movie, regardless of other issues it had; the same could be said in retrospect for Dark Phoenix, I suppose. But that change came as a blessing in disguise:
They want all this stuff moved up to present day, including the X-Men eventually, in some way shape or form, I imagine these will all connect. It didn’t really matter because they’re in such an isolated location without any wifi or phones or anything that, it may as well be the 80s in terms of the set, it didn’t change our story very much. It limited though who we could use character-wise.
But in some ways it made it better, because it freed us from… it’s really able to be its own thing, which I appreciate more now than I did when I had to make that decision. But we’re really excited about it.
So could The New Mutants actually kickstart a new batch of X-movies set in contemporary times, acting as a bridge to Disney/Marvel’s MCU? Boone did tease a trilogy for the New Mutants franchise a couple of years back, so maybe those plans are either still intact or slightly tweaked. Time will tell. We’ll get our first good feel for the future of the X-Men when The New Mutants hits theaters on April 3rd.