Is Fox's New Mutants Sequenced Right in the 2018 Lineup?
I have not been a ginormous fan of how Fox has handled various super-hero properties. I don't automatically diss everything they put their hands on either. I was fine with the first Fantastic Four; I'm a fan of Ioan Gruffudd and Chris Evans. Michael Chiklis was a nice touch and Alba was ok. I liked the very first X-men movie (except for the costumes), and I thought X2 was even better. First Class was passable, Days of Future Past was remarkable. The Last Stand and Apocalypse were horrific. And it is those last two indicators that cause me the most worry for Fox's 2018 lineup, especially when it comes to one of my favorite properties, The New Mutants.
The Last Stand and Apocalypse leave a particularly bad taste because at least the former was kind of the wrap-up of that first trilogy. It left a stink on the whole franchise, despite the decent output that the first two movies produced. It is a movie filled with a list of broken or at least unfulfilled promises that literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I kind of wish the first one ended with X2 and the second trilogy ended with Days of Future Past. Recent News concerning the New Mutants makes me feel worried that Fox is prepping to straight-up X-Men Origins this one again.
Over on Reddit, a link was posted concerning Fox's rumored announcement of its 2018 comic book movie release dates. Twitter account @BoxOffice put out that New Mutants arrives on 4/13, Deadpool 2 shows up on 6/1, and Dark Phoenix rounds things out on 11/2. Some people are complaining that having Deadpool 2 drop in the summer is a misstep, as the February, non-blockbuster window release of the first one was part of what put it over the top. I personally think that Reynolds and 'Pool will be fine almost any time of the year. I am more concerned about the release date for The New Mutants. This is one of the first properties that I read every issue of back when I first got into comics, and so I feel a bit like a parent when it comes to how that team and its individual characters are handled. One of my proudest moments has been watching how Bobby da Costa and Sam Guthrie have grown up to become Avengers and leaders, and even relaxed their once toxic competitiveness into one of the most wonderful friendships in the Marvel Universe.
An April release might be the plan because, arguably, given the comparative youth of the New Mutants and their role as students of a theoretically older set of X-Men, they should be more relatable to high-schoolers and college students. So dropping the film in a window that will be near to spring break or at least Easter Vacations for some, might not be a bad idea. But it also feels like Fox is dropping it at a time that is popular for rom-coms and less actiony fare, and quickly following it six weeks later with Deadpool 2 in case the New Mutants flops; ya know, so they can wash the bad taste out with an almost guaranteed hit.
I would prefer it if Fox led with Deadpool, and linked in a cameo or other early reveal directly leading into the New Mutants. If they swapped those release dates, placing the New Mutants after the Memorial Day chicken-fight of 800-lb gorilla releases, but before the summer blockbuster really picks up heat, they could platform off the momentum that Deadpool is sure to gain them. This would make sense a bit because Deadpool was introduced in the New Mutants in the comics. Since they already have 'Pool out of the bag, they could utilize the legacy synergy in reverse and still provide a bit of fan-service in the process. Putting The New Mutants first seems like a sacrifice fly.
I am also hugely concerned about the script and timeline. We've heard nothing about the former; the movie's overall plot and direction is still shrouded in mystery. There have been a couple of casting rumors, but to this day, Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams (rumored to be Magik and Wolfsbane in the film) have yet to make firm confirmations of their casting, nor has Fox released official PR to the same. James McAvoy and Alexandra Shipp are rumored to reprise their roles as Professor X and Storm; still, those are both just rumors. There is confirmation that the film has started pre-production in and around Boston this month, with filming set to start in May. And yet we know nothing of the script or confirmed cast? And Josh Boone, co-writer and director of The Fault in Our Stars, and The New Mutants (confirmed) director, now has less than a full calendar year to execute?
The whole affair does not inspire me to confidence. As it is, I basically do not go see Fox Marvel movies in the theater; I wait for them to hit digital distro and streaming. If one of my favorite teams is going to be given the movie treatment, I, obviously, really want them to be handled with care. I am not getting that warm fuzzy from how this is unfolding. I also sharply disagree with CBR's recommended casting list and character roster. We need only look at last year's Suicide Squad (or X3 or the Raimi Spider-Man 3) to be reminded of what happens when you junk nearly a dozen super-heroes into a single movie, especially when it is the debut movie in an intended trilogy or franchise. There is simply no need for as many as ten New Mutants in the first movie. The original New Mutants roster was just five gifted youngsters; many of CBR's wishful casting are actors who are just too old for the parts. These characters are supposed to be a noticeable generation behind the current X-men. Starting the movie trilogy off with just Cannonball, Danielle Moonstar, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, and Mystik would be plenty. And you could score super-major-epic fan-service if you put Sophie Turner's Jean Grey on-screen at the same time as Maisie Williams’ Wolfsbane. Warlock would be a good add, and I would not hate Magma being there, but neither are necessary, and even more obscure characters would just be useless.
I will, of course, always reserve final judgement until I see the actual film. But the truth is that you always feel either positive or negative about the chances for a film in the lead-up and you often fret and worry about the films you want to love when they appear to be going sideways. It is what it is in the pipeline. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these signs are not the negative indicators I feel they may be. This is one flick where I actually DO want to see a few solid trailers to re-instill my confidence and hopes.