One of the many question marks hanging over Disney's acquisition of Fox was the ultimate fate of The New Mutants, the repeatedly delayed X-Men spinoff. Not even the producers and stars seemed to know what to expect, amid speculation that the film could skip theatrical release and instead premiered on the Disney-controlled Hulu.
However, the studio confirmed on Tuesday that director Josh Boone's horror-tinged feature will open on April 3, 2020, a full two years after its original targeted release. Needless to say, The New Mutants' path to theaters as been a troubled one, and it isn't complete just yet.
Tracking The New Mutants
The New Mutants was announced in 2015, with Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars) attached to direct and co-write the film. Producer Simon Kinberg compared the film to Netflix's Stranger Things, hinting that the X-Men spinoff would lean more heavily into horror than traditional superheroics. Inspired in large part by "The Demon Bear Saga," the seminal 1984 Marvel Comics storyline by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, the film assembled a familiar cast: Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as Wolfsbane, Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) as Sunspot, Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) as Cannonball, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) as Magik and Blu Hunt (The Originals) as Danielle Moonstar, with Alice Braga (Queen of the South) playing longtime X-Men supporting character Dr. Cecilia Reyes.
With The New Mutants initially targeted for release on April 13, 2018, Fox released the tense first trailer in October 2017, promising a haunted-house story, with the teens inmates in a mental institution or aging hospital. However, any excitement the trailer might have built with its stark departure in tone and influence from the rest of Fox's X-Men franchise was soon deadened with a reshuffling of the studio's film slate that bumped back the release of The New Mutants by 10 months, a decision attributed to reshoots intended to ratchet up the horror elements.
Although star Maisie Williams was optimistic that additional photography would benefit the film, speculation swirled that roughly half of The New Mutants would be re-shot, even as Fox delayed its release again, this time to Aug. 2, 2019.
The New "New Mutants"
By then The New Mutants was poised to premiere some 16 months after its originally announced date, leading to questions about whether it would ever receive theatrical release. Those questions only intensified with Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's key assets, which brings with it the rights to the X-Men, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner, longtime steward of the X-Men franchise, said in February that she was "hopeful" The New Mutants would be screened in theaters, rather than shelved or relegated to streaming on Hulu.
The most surprising announcement came in March, when it was revealed the film hadn't even begun reshoots. With the Disney/Fox deal closing at about the same time, the film's status was an open question. While the other X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, cemented a June 7 release, The New Mutants had yet to cement of a date on the Disney slate. Even the film's stars openly questioned whether the film would see release.
However, Disney confirmed on Tuesday that it intends to bring The New Mutants to theaters, albeit two years later.
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 April 3, 2020.