Please, Disney, Just Let Me Watch "The New Mutants"

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    I love comic books, and there’s not a single comic book property I enjoy more than the X-Men. There are so many wonderful characters, and so many crazy storylines over the years, that I just don’t think you can beat ‘em. I was extremely excited when Disney regained the film rights (I mean, you know, setting aside the ‘how-long-before-Disney-owns-everything’ aspect of the Fox acquisition) because I would love for my favorite mutants to officially join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    However, that deal had something of an unintended consequence: it sidelined Josh Boone’s X-film, The New Mutants. Again.
    The New Mutants is an adaptation of the comic series of the same name, which debuted in the early ‘80s and holds a special place in my heart. See, the comic was originated by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont. Claremont’s X-Men book was selling like hotcakes at the time (his run is still considered one of, if not the, definitive takes on the characters), so Marvel higher-ups demanded a spinoff book to capitalize on the group’s popularity, and thus the New Mutants were born.
    I adore Claremont’s X-Men, and his work on New Mutants was equally excellent. Focusing on a group of teens who are just coming into their mutant powers (as opposed to the adult X-Men), New Mutants felt smaller, more personal, and more relatable. It was also goofy as heck--one of the lead characters frequently shouts, “I’m nigh-invulnerable when I’m blastin’!” and the entire cast holds a deep reverence for Magnum, P.I. It’s fun and weird, but it also deals with some extremely dark subject matter: parental abuse, bullying, suicide, dealing with the death of a friend--all of these issues are touched on within New Mutants pages.
    One of the best story arcs in Claremont’s New Mutants run was the Demon Bear Saga, which focused heavily on the backstory of Danielle Moonstar, one of the book’s central characters--a Native American teen who struggles to control her power to manifest illusions. It’s an intense, frightening story elevated by mind-blowing visuals from artist Bill Sienkiewicz. It is this story that Josh Boone adapted into the New Mutants film.
   Originally slated for an August 2018 release, New Mutants was pushed back to early 2019. Why? Well, as I said, the Demon Bear Saga is a scary story, and that’s the direction Boone wanted to go with it… but the studio wanted to focus on the ‘teen’ aspect, pushing for a YA superhero flick. However, after Boone’s ‘YA’ cut was turned in, IT made big box office bucks, proving that a horror movie focused on kids could work. So the studio changed its mind and said, “Alright, give us that horror movie cut you wanted from the start!” Thus, the release date was moved to February 2019.
   This would’ve been fine, except that X-Men: Dark Phoenix ended up getting a February 2019 release, too. The studio didn’t want the two X-films to compete with each other, and it’s probably no surprise that they cared a lot more about the mainline X-Men title than the spooky teen spinoff; New Mutants was pushed to August.
  You might remember what happened next: Disney bought out Fox, and in the acquisition shuffle, surprise surprise--New Mutants ended up getting moved again, this time to April 2020.
   Obviously, that couldn’t happen, and after spending months in Limbo (ha! That’s, uh, that’s a New Mutants joke), it received its new release date: August 28, 2020. According to the San Diego Comic Con panel the cast and crew held last week, that’s still the plan, but...
   Well, considering that Disney also announced last week that Mulan (which was set to open on August 21, a week before New Mutants) has been delayed indefinitely, I don’t think the outlook is particularly good.
  So, what can we expect? A real release at long last? Another delay? A streaming release onto Disney+? Honestly, I’m not sure. Despite statements last year that Disney didn’t consider New Mutants a big box office draw, they seem determined to give it a proper theatrical run; there may also be some sticky legal concerns preventing them from releasing it digitally, depending on what kinds of agreements Fox made with the film before Disney’s acquisition.
  Honestly? While I’d love for this movie to hit Disney+, I’m not holding my breath. At this point, I’m just hoping it doesn’t get delayed again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to see it in theaters--we’ve still got a pandemic going on--but it will at least move it a step closer to a physical or digital release, and man, I’m sick of waiting for this movie.
   I love these characters. I love this story. It seems like Boone does, too, and I really want to see his take on it, so please… just get it out there, Disney!
More articles and reviews by Ethan McIntyre can be found at rollwithit.blog.