Remember how next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse and 2017’s Wolverine 3 will reportedly bring an end to the Bryan Singer X-Men movie universe, with all of the First Class actors fulfilling their original 3-film contracts and Hugh Jackman begrudgingly conceding defeat to the aging process? Yeah, that hasn’t changed, and as I previously joked I’m still whimsically playing a montage of Wolverine’s best X-Men movie screams in my head set to Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground” from A League of Their Own. Has it really been 15 years since Anna Paquin’s Rogue ran away from home and ended up in Canada where she happened upon a cage fighting maniac named Logan she naturally fell in love with? Oh, I feel so old, yada, yada, yada, you get the picture.
None of this actually means Fox is going to stop making X-Men movies, though. Deadpool is filming right now, and until we hear otherwise Channing Tatum’s Gambit movie is still happening sometime soon. We still haven’t officially been told that Apocalypse will mark the end of the Bryan Singer X-Men, although Jackman is most definitely hanging up his admantium claws. What’s probably really happening is Fox is simply stepping away from the official X-Men grouping and Wolverine and embracing other mutant teams from the X-Men universe and solo characters with franchise potential.
I say that because Deadline just exclusively reported Fox has hired Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone to co-write and direct The New Mutants as a standalone spin-off of the X-Men movie universe. Boone will co-write with The Loiter Squad’s Knate Gwaltney, and as per usual for most X-Men movies Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg will produce.
As the filmgoing world is finding out through Age of Ultron, comic book teams rarely stay the same for very long (other than Fantastic Four…I think), and the X-Men is particularly overrun with splinter groups and spin-offs. For example, in 2013 Fox hired Jeff Wadlow to write and direct a film adaptation of X-Force, a more militant X-Men offshoot most famously anchored by the time-traveling mutant Cable. Well, the comic book version of X-Force was itself simply a revamped version of The New Mutants, an X-Men spin-off created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1982.
Not that Claremont and McLeod crated The New Mutants by choice. That decision was forced on them by Marvel’s editor in response to the then-booming success of the main X-Men comics, making for one of those “Hey, this one thing we’re doing is popular. Let’s create something new which is kind of the same thing” situations. Thus was born The New Mutants, a junior team living at the Charles Xavier Institute for Higher Learning concurrently with the X-Men. As described by Collider, “The New Mutants team was made up of ethnic diversity and included: Karma, a 19-year-old Vietnamese girl who could mentally possess other people’s bodies, Cannonball, a Kentuckian with the ability to rocket through the air, Wolfsbane, a Scot who transforms into a wolf-like creature, Psyche, a Cheyenne with the power to create three-dimensional illusions, and Sunspot, a Brazilian with superhuman strength that was powered by sunlight.” Two new versions of The New Mutants have come along since then, first in 2003 and again in 2009, and in 2012 Fox CEO Tom Rothman slyly confirmed a very leading leading interview question from Collider about the potential for a New Mutants movie. Since then, several of the New Mutants actually showed up in Days of Future Past:
It sounds kind of like if The X-Men are the varsity team, The New Mutants are junior varsity, and when The New Mutants finally graduated (or, in this case, had their book canceled in 1991) they became X-Force.
Now that Fox is moving forward with a New Mutants movie I’m choosing to think of it as X-Men: The Next Generation, although in the comics the New Mutants usually had either Charles Xavier or Magneto as their school headmaster. The fact that the film is being described as a standalone spin-off makes me wonder if it will even have that level of connection. I’m guessing that the new, younger Jean Grey, Storm and Cyclops we’re getting in Apocalypse probably won’t be involved. Heck, at this point the Bryan Singer films are all set in the past, Apocalypse specifically n the 1980s. New Mutants could be set in the present.
Main point: We’ve only known about this movie for a couple of hours at this point. Concrete details are in short supply.
Simon Kinberg told Deadline, “We’re so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe, and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters.” Josh Boone did kind of come out of nowhere to direct The Fault in Our Stars into a $300 million worldwide hit which is far, far better and more nuanced than its “cancer-stricken teens fall in love, tragedy ensues” plot would suggest. He’s ever so busy with multiple projects lined up, including Stephen King’s The Stand and Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. There’s no official target release for New Mutants yet, but Fox did previously stake a claim to July 13, 2018 for an untitled Marvel comic book movie.
Deadpool opens February 12, 2016, followed by Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit on October 7, 2016 and Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017.