The last two years have seen Fox take a bold, experimental approach with the X-Men franchise. They're daring to step away from the traditional superhero tentpole movies, instead carefully blending mutant action with other genres. The results have been an unparalleled success, primarily with the raunchy comedy of Deadpool and the bloody, brutal Western that is Logan.
Now, it looks like New Mutants promises to tap into even more fresh genre territory for Fox and the X-Men. Inspired by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz's classic comic book run, the film is set to be a thrilling blend of superhero action and full-on horror. Even more excitingly, New Mutants director Josh Boone has pitched this film as the beginning of a New Mutants trilogy. But what are Boone's exact plans for this trilogy?
In a statement that's sure to leave fans delighted, Boone recently told IGN that he has plans to expand the cast as a way of bringing something new to this world.
"Every video complains online about characters that aren’t in it right now. I will say we’re going to introduce new characters in the next movie as well. Characters like Karma and Warlock, and all that will be in future movies."
It's worth noting that Boone hasn't indicated whether these will be the only characters to be added to the team over the course of the next two films. That said, these two at least are perfectly suited to the horror vibe that Boone is focusing on. They'd be tremendously effective additions to the New Mutants movies should they get picked to appear in the intended sequel.
In the comics, Karma was one of the founding members of the team. She's a unique character with an origin story rooted in the brutal realities of the Vietnam War. Karma and her family were among hundreds of Vietnamese citizens to flee in boats, and she was sadly brutalized by pirates while on the way to the United States.
Karma's power lends itself perfectly to the horror genre. She has the ability to project her mind into the body of another. The victim's consciousness is overwhelmed by Karma's presence, and while possessing their body she can access and even alter their memories. Although Karma can possess multiple people at the same time, doing so tends to fragment her concentration and give strong-willed targets a chance to fight back. As the years have passed, Karma's powers have developed to the point where she can actually "see" through a person's eyes.
Significantly, Karma is one of a handful of lesbian characters in #Marvel Comics, and fans would be eager to see this kind of diversity in Fox's X-Men franchise. The X-Men have typically stood as symbols of diversity, and the quest for mutant rights has been used as an explicit metaphor for the battle for gay rights in the real world. The X-Men movies have generally avoided this particular concept (a notable exception being the conversation between Iceman and his parents in X2). It's time for that to change, and the teen-centered New Mutants franchise — which could easily discuss Karma's journey of self-discovery — would be perfectly suited to breaking new ground for the films.
Given the New Mutants films are set in the present day, we can assume that the sequel will be forced to drastically rewrite Karma's traumatic origin. At the same time though, we can only hope the character's core identity remains intact.
Another intriguing character is Warlock, an unusual being who was briefly rumored to be in the first New Mutants film. Warlock is a techno-organic entity, an alien being who originates from a race known as the Technarchy. His race survives by consuming the "Lifeglow" of other beings. Unlike his father, Magus, Warlock has a conscience, and even rebels against the Technarchy at one point.
Although Warlock was initially used for fish-out-of-water-style comedy, he turned into a profound character in his own right. He developed a close friendship with New Mutant team member Cypher, one that came to a tragic end when Cypher was killed by anti-mutant forces. The alien entity struggled to deal with the loss of his friend, leading to some of the most poignant and touching #XMen comics of all time.
It's not hard to see how the Technarchy could be developed as villains in a future horror film. The concept of a vampiric alien race, shapeshifters who consume the "Lifeglow" of their targets, is a chilling one. As a traitor to his own kind, Warlock would be a crucial ally in the battle against the Technarchy.
If A Sequel Happens, Karma And Warlock Definitely Need To Be Included
Boone approached Fox with the hope of launching a New Mutants trilogy, and this film is just the beginning of his story. The characters and concepts of the beloved Claremont and Sienkiewicz comic book run are perfectly suited to the horror genre. But the exciting thing is that there's so much potential here. By name-dropping Karma and Warlock, Boone has given us a sense of where this franchise can go. A mutant who possesses others? An alien race of shapeshifters who drain the life out of their victims? These are classic horror concepts and, if they're channeled through Karma and Warlock in the New Mutants sequel, they're sure to give us a superhero film like no other.
Which of these New Mutants — Karma or Warlock — will be more excited to see? Let me know why in the comments!