Marvel Studios has more than proven it is possible to take some of the craziest comic-book storylines and turn them into mainstream successes on the big screen. Now, 20th Century Fox is hoping to capture that magic by expanding its “X-Men” film franchise to encompass the more tangential reaches of the comic-book source material.
The studio is planning another spinoff movie set in the X-Men universe titled “The New Mutants.” Based on a comic-book spinoff of the same name, it will feature a new team of young superpowered mutants at Charles Xavier’s famous school for gifted youngsters. As if the prospect of a new X-Men team wasn’t enough to get people excited, the studio has locked down the director of “The Fault in Our Stars,” Josh Boone, to helm “The New Mutants.”
According to Deadline, which first reported the news about “The New Mutants,” Boone became Fox’s hottest director after the commercial and critical success of his adaptation of the popular John Green novel. While it cost the studio about $12 million to make, it grossed more than $307 million worldwide. It was also responsible for springboarding the already-budding careers of Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff and Shailene Woodley.
“New Mutants” emerged on the comic-book scene in 1982, according to IGN. It was one of Marvel’s first attempts to expand the X-Men away from the core group (Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine and others). They consist of about nine students at Xavier’s school who were handpicked to be students by day and X-Men trainees by night.
The heroes include Cannonball, who creates a force field around his entire body and flies; Cypher, who is able to understand any language, either human or alien; Karma, who employs mental powers to possess other people; Magik, who is a teleporter and the sister of X-Men hero Colossus; Magma, who can control lava; Mirage, who is able to create illusions; Sunspot, who uses solar energy to power superstrength; and Warlock, who is a humanoid machine.
While the X-Men generally handled all of the big-time Earth-threatening bad guys in the comic books, the New Mutants were mostly a gang of high-school students attempting to navigate their way through growing up, while carving out places for themselves in the ever-changing world of superheroes and supervillains. In fact, IGN noted one of the principal villain groups in the comic books is a team of less-than-moral mutants from a rival school in Massachusetts. Apparently, school spirit gets fairly intense once superpowers are involved.
Unfortunately for fans of the “New Mutants” comic books, their main plotline sounds strikingly similar to the one in the film “X-Men: First Class,” which saw Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) assemble a team of young mutants and establish the school in New York. With the “X-Men: Apocalypse” looking to end the trilogy that “First Class” began, however, it may be time to refresh the crop of mutant heroes for the next generation of movies. After all, fresh spinoffs for Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Gambit (Channing Tatum) are poised to renew the franchise in a couple of years, so a new flagship group of Professor X-led heroes might be exactly what the X-Men cinematic universe needs right now.