Pre-production has finally begun on writer/director Josh Boone’s New Mutants — one of the many upcoming films in 20th Century Fox’s growing X-Men universe. Logan may have been the closing chapter for one era of X-Men films, but New Mutants, X-Force, and of course, the next core X-Men installment are the start of another.
New Mutants is expected to release early next year, and there’s much that will be unveiled between now and then. Before filming can commence, the line-up of mutants needs to be finalized and cast, then officially announced. Many of the rumors surrounding the production will be either confirmed or denied — like whether or not James McAvoy is returning as Xavier and if Demon Bear will in fact be the film’s big bad. And, perhaps most importantly for any X-Men film, it will be revealed just where in the confusing timeline New Mutants falls (or, alternatively, if it exists in a completely different continuity).
In the lead-up to learning more of these key details about New Mutants, let’s take a closer look at the team as it has existed in the comics and those from its roster most likely to appear in Boone’s adaptation.
The New Mutants
Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod in 1982, The New Mutants were imagined in the same vein as the original X-Men team — a group of teenagers learning to control their emerging mutant powers, guided by Professor Charles Xavier, and trained to become the next generation of X-Men. Their adventures were a mixture of drama and superheroics, with a heavier focus on mysticism, alternate dimensions, and other bizarre elements not normally found in X-Men comics of the time. The New Mutants were an angsty team, and their personal conflicts would often influence what happened in the field, making The New Mutants a slightly edgier title than the traditional X-Men comic.
During its almost decade-long run, The New Mutants featured a large, rotating cast of characters — including the first ever appearance of Deadpool! In fact, when the New Mutants disbanded, many of its members followed their then-leader, Cable, in forming a new team of mutant mercenaries — X-Force. An X-Force film is already in the works at 20th Century Fox, which suggests one of two possibilities: either Fox intends the New Mutants to evolve in to X-Force, or they’re establishing the two properties as separate teams. Either way, given the shared history between the teams and Fox’s movie plans, it’d be foolish to count out a future crossover between the two.
Though no official roster has been confirmed, we’ve been led to believe Boone’s New Mutants will adhere most closely to Claremont’s original run (in particular those issues accompanied by artwork from Bill Sienkiewicz). If that is indeed the case, then it’s assumed the initial team roster will include original members Cannonball, Mirage, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane, along with later recruits Magick and Warlock.
Wolfsbane A.K.A. Rahne Sinclair
Rahne is a young Scottish girl raised as an orphan in a strict religious village by the cruel and fanatical, Reverend Craig (who’s revealed later to actually be her biological father). When her mutant, shape-shifting powers began to manifest — powers which allow her to transform into a wolf and wolf-like humanoid, not so dissimilar from a werewolf — her village was afraid she had become possessed by the devil and drove her out of town.
Rahne was later found and rescued by Moira McTaggert, who brought her to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in order to help her understand and learn to control her powers. It’s there that Rahne joined the New Mutants, taking on the code name: Wolfsbane. Rahne became especially close with her teammate, Mirage, with the two learning they share a psychic link when Rahne is in her wolf form. However, her strict religious upbringing has occasionally put her at odds with her more magical teammates and has led to some serious self-loathing for her own monstrous manifestation.
Wolfsbane has appeared on more teams than any other New Mutant (among them X-Factor, Excalibur, and X-Force) and it’s almost certain she’ll have a role to play in Boone’s New Mutants. Already, there’s strong speculation spurred on by Boone himself that Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams will be cast in the role, though as of yet there’s been no official word.
Mirage A.K.A. Dani Moonstar
Another original member of the New Mutants is Dani Moonstar, a young Cheyenne girl with the ability to create psychic manifestations of people’s greatest fears and see visions of the future. Similarly to Rahne, Dani’s powers made her a pariah in her community and she was shunned by everyone except her parents. Sadly, she would later have a vision of her parents being murdered by a large, demonic bear and, after they mysteriously disappear, Dani is sent to live with her tribe’s chief and shaman (also her grandfather). He then contacts Professor X, seeking his help in understanding his granddaughter’s mutant abilities. In yet another bit of misfortune, however, the Hellfire Club (a longstanding enemy of the X-Men) learn of Dani and try to capture her, killing her grandfather during the ensuing fight.
After all that tragedy, Dani finally arrives as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and begins her training, later joining with some of her fellow students to form the New Mutants (eventually becoming co-leader alongside Cannonball). Still, Dani is plagued by visions, particular those involving a demonic bear — making it seem all the more likely that both Mirage and Demon Bear have major roles to play in Boone’s New Mutants.
Cannonball A.K.A. Samuel Guthrie
Sam comes from a large, Kentuckian, coal-mining family and is the oldest of nine children (some who later join their own X-Men spinoff teams). Sam’s powers enable him to generate thermo-chemical energy, releasing it through his skin, which then creates the incredible thrust he uses to fly through the air; hence the name, Cannonball. When his father dies from a life spent working in poisonous coal mines, Sam picks up the family trade. It’s during one of these stints underground that his mutant powers manifest when Sam saves himself and another miner, propelling them out of a collapsing mine shaft.
And if that mutant ability sounds incredibly familiar, it’s because these are the same powers given to Deadpool‘s Negasonic Teenage Warhead. It’s unclear if this will at all affect Cannonball’s powers for New Mutants or not, but Fox’s X-Men universe is surely large enough for two mutants with the ability to propel their bodies like human cannonballs. Besides, if they stick with the comics, Sam is also a member of a some immortal sub-race of mutants, so it isn’t like he doesn’t have own quirks.
Before joining with the New Mutants, Sam took part in a small stint with the Hellfire Club, but it didn’t take long for Xavier to recognize Sam’s better nature and invite him to join the good guys. Cannonball eventually becomes a co-leader (alongside Mirage) and mentor to his younger teammates, like Wolfsbane, Magick, and Warlock. Currently, The Fault in Our Stars (also directed by Boone) lead Nat Wolff is the front runner for Cannonball, but there’s been no official confirmation as of yet.
Sunspot A.K.A. Roberto da Costa
Sam’s best friend and only remaining original New Mutant expected to appear in Boone’s film is the Brazilian hothead, Roberto. Son of a billionaire and star of his school’s soccer team, Roberto’s powers came to life during a match in where after being assaulted by an opposing player, Roberto transformed into a being of solid black, solar energy and proceeded to beat his opponent nearly to death. The crowd and fellow players were horrified, fleeing the stadium, leaving only Roberta’s girlfriend, Juliana to help calm him down.
Roberto, like so many of his fellow New Mutants, was quickly sought out by the Hellfire Club, with them kidnapping Juliana in order to trap him. Sadly, she is killed in the conflict, at one point taking a bullet for Roberto. He manages to escape and, along with Cannonball, finds himself joining the New Mutants at the invitation of Professor X. Now dubbed Sunspot, his solar absorption powers come in two distinct forms: one is the all black, super strong manifestation first seen on the soccer pitch, and the other sees his body enveloped in a field of solar energy, reminiscent of a corona effect.
Sunspot has also previously appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, where he was portrayed by Adan Canto during the Sentinel-threatened future sequences. But again, don’t count on this factoring in with New Mutants because Sunspot will almost certainly be recast. (Just chalk it up to another of Fox’s X-Men universe’s many incongruities.)
Magick A.K.A. Illyana Rasputin
After establishing the team, it didn’t take long for the New Mutants to begin recruiting new members — one of whom is Illyana, the younger sister of Colossus. Her origin, however, is a weird one. At the age of six she was kidnapped and taken away to the Limbo dimension where she was trained and (partially) corrupted by the evil sorcerer, Belasco. During her time in Limbo, Illyana is also trained in white magic by that dimension’s Storm, and in combat by Limbo’s version of Shadowcat, eventually forging her iconic weapon, the Soulsword. In the end, Belasco’s plan to raise the Elder Gods by using Illyana fails, and after briefly ruling Limbo herself, Illyana escapes.
A skilled sorceress (though her magic is more powerful in Limbo than on Earth), Illyana’s mutant powers are actually rooted in teleportation, allowing her to open portals between places as well as planes of existence. Her use of the Soulsword also has a weird side effect, and with each use it encases more and more of her body in a strange armor. We’ll have to wait and see if Boone’s New Mutants decides to include that particular detail, but there is an actress already rumored for the role of Magick — The Witch‘s Anya Taylor-Joy.
Last but certainly not least is the New Mutants’ resident alien. A member of the Technarchy race, Warlock is a techno-organic being, possessing both mechanical and biological traits. Technarchs all have the ability to shape-shift and they survive by infecting other biological creatures with a virus, draining their life-force in the process. Warlock chooses not to drain the life-force of other sentient creatures, making him quite different from other Technarchs. It’s that unusual compassion that has him considered a “mutant” among his species — though it is also later revealed Warlock actually is a mutant Technarch, yet not further abilities ever manifested.
Not an original member, Warlock’s shape-shifting has made him invaluable to the New Mutants. There’s also a learning curve with him being an alien and therefor unaware of basically all Earth-customs, but he still manages to make life-long friends of his teammates (or “selffriends” as he calls them).