Along with the ill-fated Dark Phoenix, The New Mutants was one of the final X-Men films to be produced by 20th Century Fox before the studio merged with Disney. As such, it was tied to the continuity of the other X-Men films that had been previously released by the studio. While the film was originally scheduled to be released on April 13, 2018, the movie's release has been pushed back several times, and its currently scheduled for release on April 3, 2020.
Although those delays were reportedly meant to accommodate changes to its horror-centric tone, the Fox-Disney deal and the impending arrival of the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have put it in an awkward position. Now, recent reports suggest the film is cutting as many references to Fox's X-Men films as possible, which could allow it to the eventually tie into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. As surprising as it may be, New Mutants could actually be a great addition to the MCU, and could even be the perfect way to introduce mutants.
The Next Generation
The biggest question about tying The New Mutants to the greater MCU has always been establishing how the film addresses the previous lack of mutants in the universe. But thanks the previously released synopsis and trailers, it's easy to deduce how Marvel could make that work. The New Mutants doesn't follow any of the established characters from prior X-Men films. Instead, it centers around a group of young mutants who can be defined by their appearances in the film.
They've been held within a secret facility that's running tests on them, meaning mutants might not be a well-defined as they were in Fox's former X-Men cinematic universe. By making a point how strange and secretive all testing on mutants has been, a few simple tweaks could convincingly make New Mutants one of the first examples of mutants appearing within the MCU. If anything, the film could play up just how secret mutantslike this are, and how much the scientists are trying to learn about mutation from these teenagers. Being a new evolutionary secret that's just on the verge of exploding into the public knowledge could be the most practical (and easiest) ways to introduce mutants into the continuity.
Another potential means of adding mutants to the MCU could end up involving the recently defeated villain, Thanos. One widely-circulated fan theory asked whether the use of the Infinity Gauntlet might have led to a change in reality, where an outpouring of radiation from the various snaps would lead to some members of humanity having their X-Gene activated.
This could also work well with the ages of the characters in New Mutants, who are all teenagers and would be among the first generation to get their powers from this kind of boost. The dark and dour tone of the film could even perfectly put New Mutants during the five-year gap that was somewhat glossed over in Avengers: Endgame, with one of the effects of Thanos' using the gauntlet being the development of mutants.
While some fan theories have theorized that the creation of mutants will be tied to Wanda Maximoff or the Celestials, the writers of Avengers: Endgame have outright spoken about this idea and whether Thanos had an unwitting hand in the birth of mutants. They claimed that they don't believe this will be the case for the MCU, and that mutants will be introduced another way. However, as the Hulk established in Avengers: Endgmae, the Infinity Gauntlet emits gamma radiation when used, which could very well be the spark that lights the mutant genome.
The biggest reason New Mutants might make the transition to the MCU is because of the changing tonal landscape of the franchise. Upcoming films like Blade and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness will reportedly push the Marvel Cinematic Universe into darker new directions. The films seem more willing to explore the kind of more frightening material that the promotional material for New Mutants highlights.
When New Mutants was first announced, it was hinted to be at least in some part an adaptation of the frightening "Demon Bear Saga." Between that and along with the more demonic aspects of Illyana Rasputin's powers, New Mutants could have a similar tone and sense of style as those movies. It would be an easy transition to make from one of those movies into the haunted house aesthetic The New Mutants seems to employ.
That's ultimately the biggest reason The New Mutants, which has been reportedly testing well with audiences accustomed to the MCU, could end up becoming a part of the continuity. It would help expand mutants into more pieces of the Marvel Universe, and make their eventual evolution into the X-Men feel more natural in the universe. In the end, the forgotten X-Men movie might end up being the one that brings the rest into the universe.
The New Mutants stars Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as Wolfsbane, Anya Taylor-Joy (Atlantis) as Magik, Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) as Cannonball, Blu Hunt (The Originals) as Dani Moonstar and Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) as Sunspot. The film is scheduled to be released on April 3, 2020.