Back when The New Mutants was in production, it was part of an ambitious slate of X-Men movies that were pushing the franchise in bold new directions. Deadpool was a self-aware comedy. Logan was an R-rated drama for adults. And director Josh Boone‘s tale of young mutants being held in a psychiatric hospital was a horror film.
As you probably know, The New Mutants was delayed several years due to Disney buying 20th Century Fox and effectively hitting stop on all X-Men projects. This means the new film is the end of the line for the original X-Men franchise (the characters will be rebooted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course). However, that doesn’t mean Boone wasn’t thinking ahead. The filmmaker had envisioned a trilogy of X-Men horror films, with each one tackling a different subgenre through a comic book lens.
Despite the horror aesthetic of the film, Boone told us in a recent interview that he didn’t set out to make an X-Men horror film – it just happened organically as he started exploring the material:
I guess the best way to talk about it is that it’s not like [co-writer Knate Lee] and I sat there like, “Yo, we’ve gotta make a horror comic book movie.” We really wanted to make New Mutants, and it sort of organically became that, just through adapting the material. We just sort of wanted it to be as grounded and performance-driven as possible. We didn’t want it to look like any Marvel movies. We wanted to shoot on real locations. I did everything I could to make sure the aesthetic was not like anything else.
In fact, the horror tone emerged directly from the X-Men comic book runs he enjoyed as a kid, which directly informed the characters and setting of the actual film:
As part of his pitch to Fox, Boone literally assembled a comic book of his own, borrowing panels from X-Men books to sell the studio on the tone he was going for. And while the original pitch was modified due to budgetary constraints, he was able to envision a trilogy of X-Men horror movies, each one introducing new characters and exploring a different corner of the horror genre:
Right now, it seems highly unlikely that any of those sequels will get made. Boone confirmed to us that he never spoke to Disney about reworking The New Mutants to connect it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But he also seems to be at peace with that:
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