Fox’s The New Mutants trailer dropped this week raising many eyebrows and questions about the story and tone of the film. It appears that we are getting a horror version of Marvel’s Merry Mutants. This is not necessarily a bad thing as one could easily argue that the formulate of the X-Men films and essentially other superhero films are starting to go stale. Let’s have a look at why this is a positive direction for the New Mutants film.
A Horrifying Circumstance
A horror based superhero film would probably suit more along the lines of the mystical side of the Marvel Universe with characters like Blade, Ghost Rider or Hellstrom and even Dc’s Justice League Dark or Swamp Thing. However, I am excited at the prospect of a mutant horror film for many reasons that may not be instantly come to mind, but when you delve into the history of the New Mutants comics it makes perfect sense.
The New Mutants aren’t really the big name heroes that many casual fans of Marvel Comics would likely be familiar, with probably the exception of Colossus’s younger sister Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik. When the newest group of muties began being published they were as the name would suggest, very young and optimistic, after all they had just received these new powers. Initially introduced as a more family friendly alternative to the developments going on in other x-comics, The Dark Phoenix Saga had just occurred leading up to other events like Inferno and the Mutant Massacre a few years later, the new mutants were introduced to replace the X-Men under Xaviers tutelage. This was initially ill received with the characters not really capturing the readers eye or dealing with the issues other X-Men faced, it seemed as if it was a cheap rehashing of the central growing pains of the initial X-series. However, this quickly changed thanks to one story arc introducing one of the central characters in the upcoming film, Dani Moonstar. It is with this arc, called The Demon Bear, that we can really start to see why this horror direction is a natural fit for the young X-crowd.
The Demon Bear arc focused on Dani Moonstar, also known as Mirage, dreaming about a nightmarish Demon Bear that attacked and murdered her parents and continued to haunt her. While this arc would likely have little to do with the film itself, it was one of the darkest stories for the mutants at the time, eventually leading into the Fall of the Mutants and Inferno story arcs. The importance of the arc is the focus on Mirage, who we are introduced in the trailer. Her powers are that she can telepathically create illusions based upon the fears of others. Literally every scene in the film looks like Dani could be creating the horrific images we see. It’s just a shame we won’t be able to see Dani go to Asgard and become a Valkyrie. It wouldn’t be far fetched for Dani to be the initial antagonist under control of some of the doctors in the facility. It also wouldn’t be surprising if the Hellfire Club and Hellions had some sort of hand in what is seen in the trailer. The weird guy in the white mask would also seem to fit the Hellfire link, although some people think this may be a grounded version of Warlock.
The next logical step for the film dealing with potentially nightmarish situations of life and death come in the form of Magik. Illyana Rasputin has one of the darkest histories in comics, being taken to the demon world Limbo and raised as a powerful mystic who has the ability to teleport and sorcery, she is after all the Sorceress Supreme of Limbo and ruler of the Soulsword. Illyana appears as both a young child and teenager in this film, it would seem likely that some of the hauntings could come from the demons of Limbo.
Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane is another character who appears in the film with the ability to transform in to a werewolf. Do we see where all of these links are starting head yet? The pieces of the puzzle all point in the direction of horror.
While there are stories from the comics that could be adapted, the film is also likely just to be as horrific based around characterisation. We have an eerie setting of a hospital running experiments on the mutants, and a lot of the focus could be linked to the teens dealing with their developing mutant powers. That’s enough to terrify a person who doesn’t know what is happening to them. The experiments being conducted appear to be testing the breaking points of the mutants in bringing their powers to life, putting them in terrifying circumstances. This is particularly telling of the person on fire in the washing machine, likely being Sunspot, who’s claustrophobia may be his fear. Being on fire would sure burn up oxygen quick.
It may not be horror in the traditional sense of mutants being killed off, but more of the suspenseful horror and thriller, a psychological horror that makes us connect to the characters in a way not seen in an X-film before. After all, the X-Men grew such a large following due to the interpersonal relationships built between the characters and their experiences, often reflecting those of social circumstances. This could be The Butterfly Effect meets A Nightmare on Elm Street.
What is for certain is that The New Mutants film shows that Fox is looking to expand and use its licence in a positive manner, trying new directions and rewriting the traditional superhero formula. With The Gifted debuting to positive reception things could be good for the upcoming film, particularly if it gets fans back on the mutant bandwagon, a bandwagon that has been relatively empty since Days of Future Past. Logan and Deadpool both showed that when left to their own devices and ignoring continuity, directors can create amazing movies. I have nothing but high hopes for The New Mutants and the more it distinguishes itself as its own franchise the better. Plus, I’m just watching the value of my New Mutants and X-Men comic books sky rocket so of course I’m even more excited. Bring on something different, it will stand out and hopefully achieve outstanding box office results.
What did you think of The New Mutants trailer? Are you excited for the direction they are taking? Drop us a comment on our Facebook page and check out our reaction video of the trailer on our Youtube page.