Is 'The New Mutants' Film Being Retconned for the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Disney has scheduled reshoots and Kevin Feige made an interesting comment about the future of Mutants in the MCU.
For a while now the future of the X-Men spinoff The New Mutants has been in question. When asked about it at one point, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, who plays Wolfsbane in the movie, said she had no idea what was going on with the film. Some believed it was destined never to see the light of day. Filming completed back in 2017, but then extensive reshoots were needed to make the film work. It was then scheduled for release on April 13, 2018. But more delays pushed it back to a February 22, 2019 release. Then, once again, it was postponed to August 2, 2019, and that didn't happen either. But now that Disney is at the helm, we have a better idea about what's happening with this intriguing Marvel property, and a good guess of what it could end up being overall. Now that the merger is all said and done, the X-Men can begin the process of entering the MCU, an event fans have been wanting to see since the shared universe started back in 2008 with Iron Man. Disney has no plans to give up on the horror, adult-oriented X-Men film, and has seen fit to give it an April 2020 release date. The reshoots have been scheduled, and this movie is officially going to happen.
But the big question is which universe will it exist in? Will it just be out there as its own, like an Elseworld situation, similar to what the Joaquin Phoenix's Joker film is doing in the DC franchise? I doubt it would exist in the old X-Men Universe. Nobody wants to revisit the nightmare that was the Dark Phoenix, or the other underwhelming titles in that franchise. But what if the studio behind the highest-grossing film of all time (Avengers: Endgame) was taking advantage of this troubled mutant production? What if they could spin it to their advantage? They are proven experts at the franchise, and world leaders at bringing heroes from the page to screen. They very easily could spin this situation into their favor.
The New Mutants was set to star Williams, Charlie Heaton, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Josh Boone directed the film, and it was billed as the teen horror sibling to the X-Men movies. This spinoff would be a darker, yet more adolescent take on the X-genre that could be spun off into its own franchise. Horror is an intriguing option, especially for the superhero genre, and one that’s gaining steam as the field gets more crowded. This somewhat piggybacks off of the news of Doctor Strange’s sequel, which is getting set to be the MCU’s first horror film. Perhaps The New Mutants film could lead into that, offering a post-credit scene introducing a new evil for Doctor Strange to take on, or some other scary connection.
Scarlet Witch could possibly be a catalyst for the mutant arrival. Her origins revolve heavily around the X-Men in the comics. Her ties to the infamous superhero group, and her own mysterious beginnings could bring a lot to securing the X-Men a fitting debut. This, coupled with the fact that her WandaVision Disney+ series will lead into the aforementioned horror-themed Doctor Strange sequel. This only continues to push this discussion away from speculation, and slightly closer to reality. We also know that Blade is on the way, so they are definitely committed to bringing in a significant amount of horror elements down the line. Again, making this theory about how the terrifying mutant tale could make its way into the Marvel shared universe all the more plausible.
There was talk of the film releasing on Hulu. Then some speculated that maybe it was being turned into something for the Disney+ service. But those involved in the production really believe it deserves a theatrical release. And apparently, so does Disney, despite the underwhelming box office performance by the last X-entry. Dark Phoenix failed to get any traction with audiences, and it definitely was the final nail in the coffin for that take on the franchise. With Marvel Studios expected to put out three films a year, the unreleased X-Men title serves as an excellent way to lighten the load for the bustling studio. So when 2020 rolls around they could be introducing New Mutants into the MCU, unleash a Black Widow prequel, and introduce audiences to The Eternals. It's hard to imagine Disney putting out a dud, or something that would continue to confuse viewers like many of the prior X-Men films have done for so long.
Disney-led films are no strangers to reshoots. Sometimes it can save a movie, and sometimes it's just too late. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story greatly benefited from the reshoots that it undertook, while the other Star Wars spinoff did not have similar results. Solo: A Star Wars Story went through many struggles behind the scenes, and while its numbers weren't terrible, they were well under par for what's expected from a Star Wars film. But more times than not, especially on Marvel films, the studios fixes them right up to make them a hit. Audiences expect a level of quality, and this studio shows little signs of ever letting them down. They have a secret formula, they know how to use it, and they are not sharing it with anyone. So Disney could be banking big on their crew of seasoned professionals to give The New Mutants the MCU treatment, and begin to introduce audiences to the mutant race.
I would not be surprised if Disney and Marvel just released the film, and never confirm if it is or isn't part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then at the final moments of the film, or in some epic post-credit scene, reveal that it actually 100 percent is in the same universe. The whole movie just plays out on its own, and all the while, it exists in the same dimension as the Avengers. Given the storyline for the film, with kids trying to escape a haunted facility, it would be pretty easy to avoid mentions of anything MCU related. Similar to how M. Night Shyamalan's Split did not mention any connection to Unbreakable until the very end. That would be Nick Fury levels of sneaky, and we all know how Marvel likes to roll.
At Comic-Con, Kevin Feige announced a ton of new titles coming to the MCU. He did name drop Fantastic Four, but he didn't utter the X-Men name at all. Instead, he did bring up mutants. And when asked about this, he just referred to the two being interchangeable, and that their X-plans would be entirely different than anything done before. They may very well avoid the significant players like Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, and the other stars of the previous franchise. By now those characters are among some of the most popular in the world, so there is a lot at stake when it comes to introducing them. Marvel Studios have done an excellent job of bringing less popular characters into the spotlight, and kicking off successful franchises. Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy were anything but household names, and have both spawned successful sequels, as well as memorable appearances on the Avengers roster. So starting with the likes of Cannonball, Magik, and Sunspot may be the perfect way to ease the X-Men into the MCU.
I mean it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. None of the original characters from the Fox produced films were going to appear in The New Mutants motion picture. It was exactly like the title pointed out, these were all new mutants. And since the film started production, some of its cast has risen the ranks in terms of popularity. Williams is coming off killing the Night King on Game of Thrones. Heaton is coming off taking down the Mindflayer on Stranger Things. So they have experience in taking down world-destroying supervillains on the small screen. Hard to believe it wouldn't translate to the silver screen long term. And Anya Taylor-Joy has survived witches, people with multiple personalities, an overseer, and a cruel genius made out of Glass. So she already has some serious comic book movie credibility, even before we talk about X-Men or the MCU. These players, this story, and the timing could all result in a rare opportunity for the mouse. If done correctly, it would be huge for all parties involved, especially the fans. The execution of how The New Mutants debuts could very well continue to showcase how good Marvel is at what they do, and how it's hard to argue that everything they touch doesn't turn to gold.
Whatever the outcome, The New Mutants, at last, arrives in theaters on April 3, 2020