With three films slated for release next year, Fox’s X-Men movie franchise is showing no signs of slowing down after the release of “Deadpool,” “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Gambit” in 2016. New broke yesterday that another longstanding team of mutants are ready for their close up — the New Mutants. Director Josh Boone (“The Fault in Our Stars”) is set to direct and co-write the “New Mutants'” big screen debut, along with writer Knate Gwaltney and producers Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.
As the very first X-Men spinoff series, the New Mutants hold a very special place in the hearts of a lot of longtime comic readers. While the announcement doesn’t mention who will be in the film, it does state that “a new crop of mutant characters born with special powers” will form the cast. Given their three decades of existence, many New Mutants members have risen through the ranks of the Marvel Universe to become fairly major players — but only Sunspot and Warpath have ever been featured in a film. With that in mind, here are six New Mutants we gotta see onscreen.
Diversity is important in all entertainment, for sure, but it should be front and center in a superhero property that is built around the minority metaphor, however flawed that metaphor might inherently be. Still, the X-Men films up to this point have only done a so-so job with including mutants of diverse backgrounds; most non-white, non-male mutants have taken a backseat to the trio of Magneto, Professor X and Wolverine. This could change with “New Mutants” if the filmmakers put Cheyenne mutant Dani Moonstar front and center. There are very few Native American protagonists on film, so movie audiences are in desperate need of an independent badass like Dani Moonstar, a character that has led the team with fearless swagger both while she possessed her mental projection powers and while she was depowered.
The New Mutants team was an incredibly diverse unit from the get-go, so any film that bears that title should follow suit. Karma, a Vietnamese mutant with the power to mentally possess people, would make for a great addition to Fox’s cinematic X-Men universe. As a slightly older member of the original team, her personality and temperament were often much more gathered and thought out than her teammates; she needed to be, as Karma was also tasked with caring for her younger siblings when not out saving the world. Superhero movies don’t just need more female characters, they need more female characters that fulfill different roles. Having a compassionate caregiver like Xi’an Coy Manh on the team would provide a refreshing contrast for the other women on this list.
Female characters in superhero movies tend to either be portrayed as flawless geniuses or stone cold bad asses. Because of her otherworldly upbringing and demonic powers, Magik immediately avoids both of those tropes by being something darker and much more tragic. Like Wolverine, Magik is the result of traumatic events beyond her control; she was stranded in the hellish Limbo dimension as a child and spent her adolescent years fighting for her soul and mastering the dark arts. This makes her return to Earth a bumpy one; her shame keeps her from revealing her dark inclinations but her upbringing causes her to be detached and calculating — two traits she tries to replace with her long ignored humanity. There’s never been a movie X-Man like Magik, and the Fox films have never journeyed to Limbo before; hopefully all that will soon change.
WARLOCK & CYPHER
Not that “New Mutants” should copy “Big Hero 6,” per se, but Fox would be wise to use the successful Baymax/Hiro relationship as the foundation for Warlock and Cypher. One’s a good-natured mutant with the totally non-combative power of understanding all language, the other is a techno-organic alien that was exiled from his homeworld for being too nice: together they are the most delightful duo in X-Men history! Their inclusion would also allow for “New Mutants” to go where Fox’s X-movies have never gone before. Through Cypher, the X-Men franchise could really explore what life is like for mutants who don’t have lasers or claws shooting out of their hands. Having Warlock in the cast would allow for the X-Men films to look to the stars for the first time. Also, audiences would fall in love with the robot-ish Warlock after watching him ask household appliances about their day.
With his earthquake-causing power, the Mexican mutant called Rictor would be a powerful addition to the young hero team. The inclusion of both Rictor and Karma would also dramatically increase the number of visible queer heroes on the big screen. Rictor didn’t come out as gay until decades into his life as a comic book character, so readers never got to see the teen version of the character address his sexuality. Instead, Rictor was presented as a hyper-macho skater/metal kid with awesome hair. The film could rectify this missed opportunity by including Rictor and address his sexuality head-on. The mutant metaphor doesn’t have to just be a metaphor; these characters can tell many different types of stories that directly address actual real world prejudices. If “New Mutants” does that by including characters like Rictor, Karma and Moonstar, it would really take the franchise to another level.
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