2016 has been a strange year for Fox. Although X-Men: Apocalypse received a lukewarm response at the box office, Deadpool was a tremendous hit. It's clear that the idea of broadening out the X-Men franchise - creating a mutant-centric universe - has real potential. As a result, it's not particularly surprising to hear that Fox is pushing ahead with New Mutants! The real question is, though, what will New Mutants add to Fox's developing X-Men universe? Here are three things we can expect to see...
Traditionally, the X-Men comics have been the soap opera of the superhero world. From love triangles to tense break-ups, all the characters have emotional ties to each other, and the level of angst has often been through the roof! That's only intensified by the fact that the X-Men comics started off with the team as teenagers, and the concept of Xavier's School is one that the comics have returned to time and again. In the films, though, this idea of 'angst' has rarely been developed. Sure, there was the awkward love triangle between Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, Famke Janssen's Jean Grey, and James Marsden's Cyclops, but that wasn't exactly a major plot-point - Cyclops was swiftly killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand, in order to let the film focus on the relationship between Wolverine and Jean.
Although the potential is there for some teen angst with the new team introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse, the intended time-jump into the 1990s means even that's going to be wasted. New Mutants is the chance for Fox to actually have some fun playing characters off against one another. The Hollywood Reporter is describing the script as "angst-driven," so we're sure to see some fireworks between the teenage mutants!
In a radical departure for Fox's X-Men films, we know that New Mutants will introduce us to a character named Warlock. Unless Warlock has been dramatically redesigned, he's actually an alien techno-organic being. The battle with the techno-organic Phalanx is likely to be the A-plot of the film, introducing X-Men viewers to a whole host of cosmic ideas.
It's likely that this is about to push the X-Men films in a whole new direction. The climax of X-Men: Apocalypse made it pretty clear that the tentpole X-Men movies are going to explore the idea of the Phoenix once again. Bryan Singer's been talking about the possibility of introducing "a big alien, interstellar tenant within the X-Men universe," so we may be seeing a far more faithful rendition of the "Dark Phoenix Saga" than X-Men: The Last Stand.
It's undeniably a smart move on Fox's part. Ranging from the Starjammers to the Shi'ar, the studio has access to a tremendous wealth of cosmic concepts. It's about time!
When Fox kicked off the X-Men franchise, Bryan Singer believed he had to avoid many elements of the comics — including magic. Even Marvel shared his view, avoiding sorcery as much as possible in the first stages of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (even Asgardian sorcery was hand-waved as advanced science in Thor). This year, though, Marvel is switching things up, diving deep into the world of magic in Doctor Strange. Fox looks set to follow suit.
We know that New Mutants includes two key characters - Magik and Danielle Moonstone. Both are characters who are traditionally acquainted with the mystic corners of the Marvel Universe. In Moonstone's case, we know there are parts of the plot Fox can't explore; I doubt they have the concept rights to have her transformed into a Valkyrie any time soon! Even without that arc, though, Moonstone is a fascinating character who embodies Native American spiritualism. Magik, meanwhile, is really Illyana Rasputin - a relative of the legendary sorcerer Rasputin, who was brought up in a demon dimension, and wields a blade forged out of a fragment of her soul!
It's possible that Fox will flinch at the last second, and abandon the mystic and spiritual elements of these two characters. I truly hope that they don't, though; to do so would be to lose something that's integral to both, and would reduce their universe rather than expand it.
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In my view, New Mutants is perhaps one of the best ideas Fox could work with. In New Mutants, Fox has the chance to dramatically expand the X-Men universe in not one but three dimensions, opening up a huge range of mystical and cosmic ideas. Personally, I think this could be one of the most important films in the X-Men's developing movie universe.
Are you excited about the idea of a New Mutants film? Let me know in the comments!