Next year will see the X-Men franchise take a turn in a sinister new direction. Josh Boone's New Mutants will launch a horror trilogy based on Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz's classic comics. But the film remains mysterious. Early evidence had suggested that a creature known as the Demon Bear would be the main villain, but there have recently been hints that the monstrous spiritual being is just one of several threats to face the young mutants.
The film recently wrapped production, and since then Fox has launched a subtle social media campaign that's dropping countless tantalizing hints. The last two tweets suggest just who one of the other villains may be.
Check Out These Intriguing Teasers
This is the first teaser, a lengthy look at a crucifix. It's actually a vitally important teaser, pointing to Happy Anderson's Reverend Craig. In the comics, Craig was introduced as the leader of a mob who were attempting to kill the lupine Wolfsbane. We gradually learned that Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair) was actually Reverend Craig's daughter, conceived as the result of an illicit relationship. Although Craig raised the child, he claimed she was an orphan, carefully ensuring he received praise for his compassion in bringing her up. Behind closed doors, Craig was a harsh and strict fundamentalist with a penchant for violence, and beat religion into his daughter from an early age.
When Rahne's powers first manifested, she transformed into a wolf form. Reverend Craig viewed the teenager as possessed, and led his parishioners in an attempt to kill her. She was rescued by Moira MacTaggert, a close friend of Charles Xavier's. Years later, Rahne confronted Reverend Craig, and learned that she was his daughter.
It's easy to see how this short clip relates to the relationship between Reverend Craig and Wolfsbane. To the Reverend, she is the sins of his past personified.
Another Dark Twist
Here's another intriguing teaser, and this one could be interpreted in two different ways. It could potentially be related to the Demon Bear, but that seems unlikely, given the creature has never had a "caging" or "imprisonment" plot in the comics. Boone has been clear that his plot is inspired by the original Claremont and Sienkiewicz run, right down to an original pitch that was cut-and-pasted from comic book images. So this teaser is unlikely to relate to the Demon Bear.
It's more probable that this is another reference to Wolfsbane's childhood. Reverend Craig was a cruel and abusive father, and he's frequently clashed with #Marvel's mutant heroes — even imprisoning his daughter in a cage on occasion. It's possible that, in the New Mutants movie timeline, Craig kept his daughter a prisoner after her powers first manifested. If that's the case, then the text hints that Rahne ultimately broke free, with the Reverend then leading a mob to kill her.
Will Reverend Craig Be The Main Villain Of The Film?
Although Josh Boone has freely admitted that his film is to some extent inspired by the famous Demon Bear Saga, he's recently revealed that the creature isn't actually the main villain. Speaking to IGN, Boone noted that he wouldn't view the Demon Bear as the "primary antagonist."
"I'd just say it's very much inspired by that run on the comics.
I wouldn't want to give away too much. Although I will say there's stuff you'll never see in the trailers that are big parts of the movie."
New Mutants is in part intended as a homage to classic horror films, and as such it wouldn't be a surprise to see religious imagery play a prominent role in the movie. As such, Reverend Craig could be a perfect main villain. In the comics, he ultimately allied with an extremist group known as the Purifiers, who sought to kill all mutants. He's also proved comfortable with forming even the most unlikely alliances in order to pursue his agenda, so it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that he could be responsible for the threat of the Demon Bear.
These latest teasers give us a fresh sense of the dark tone Josh Boone is creating for next year's New Mutants. They also suggest that Maisie Williams's Wolfsbane will have a major character arc in the film, one that may actually drive the central plot. Fox's experimental #XMen movies have proved to be a tremendous success to date, and this will hopefully prove to be another triumph.
Do you think Reverend Craig will be the main villain of New Mutants? Let me know what you're expecting in the comments!