20th Century Fox is going hard or going home, with three X-Men movies set for release in 2018, and we’ve just had a brand new look at what’s in store with the midnight release of the very first trailer for Josh Boone’s The New Mutants.

Promising a dark and brooding take on Marvel’s teen terrors, The New Mutants will combine two of the best-loved genres to give audiences one of the first superhero-horror movies to ever hit cinemas. In stark contrast to the comedy of Deadpool, and far away from the big-budget action of the main X-Men movies, The New Mutants is steeped in horror influences. In the same vein as James Mangold’s gritty Logan, don’t expect the mutants to be running around in colorful spandex and calling each other by their superhero aliases.

Reframing the familiar X-Men mythos within a haunted house movie, complete with A Nightmare on Elm Street-esque faces protruding from walls, it isn’t hard to see how The New Mutants is trying to break the mold of the classic comic book movie. With a worrying shot of numbered gravestones to remember those who didn’t survive their time at this asylum, The New Mutants gets off to a grim start. To make matters worse, the team of mutants aren’t battle-hardened adults but teenagers who are still struggling to get to grips with their powers. Blu Hunt’s Dani Moonstar is taking the lead, and her mutant abilities are going to be crucial to providing the scares in New Mutants; as Moonstar, Dani can project everyone’s worst fears, causing terrifying hallucinations.

Maisie Williams in The New Mutants New Mutants Trailer Breakdown: The X Men Universe Gets Scary

The trailer also focuses on Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin, who goes by the mutant alias Magik. Rasputin is a demonic sorceress who can teleport and conjure visions, and if her surname sounds familiar, it’s because Illyana is the sister of other X-verse hero Colossus. Elsewhere, Henry Zaga is taking over from Adan Canto in Days of Future Past to play the fiery Sunspot, and there is a great shot of him using his powers in front of Charlie Heaton’s Cannonball while trapped in a washing machine. Finally, although her powers aren’t showcased in the trailer, Game of Thrones alumni Maisie Williams is seen sporting shorter hair to play the feral Wolfsbane. The trailer may feature the entire cast, but there is no doubt that Hunt’s Moonstar is the focus of the first look.

Away from the cast of kids, the trailer also gives a glimpse of Alice Braga, as Dr. Cecelia Reyes. Pulled directly from the Marvel comic books, Reyes developed her mutant powers after witnessing the death of her father. After rejecting Charles Xavier’s offer to join the classic X-Men, Reyes continued her medical research, which presumably brought her to the events of The New Mutants. Although Reyes is supposed to be the guardian of the group, the trailer does a pretty good job of setting her up as a villain of the piece. It remains to be seen whether Reyes’ intentions are actually for the good of the young mutants or whether she has a more sinister motive.

This leads us neatly onto the actual villain of The New Mutants  the foreshadowed Demon Bear. Boone had already told fans that the movie would be based off Chris Claremont’s “Demon Bear Saga” from the early ’80s, and although the actual beast doesn’t appear in the trailer, there are signs that it has been there. In one shot from the trailer it looks like Reyes has been mauled, and it is safe to assume that it was either Wolfsbane or the Demon Bear itself. With the Demon Bear being a manifestation of Moonstar’s powers, the trailer again comes back to Hunt’s character struggling with her powers.

Anya Taylor Joy in The New Mutants New Mutants Trailer Breakdown: The X Men Universe Gets Scary

Equally troubled, Magik’s visions seem to come into play during the film. You can see Cannonball hallucinating a group of vengeful miners, and there is also Magik seeing visions of her younger self. Reyes tries to subdue Magik’s powers, but it looks like all of the young mutants are seriously out of control in the movie – let’s not forget that baby rattlesnake analogy.

Taking a step back from world-destroying supervillains and the troubled relationship between humans and mutants, The New Mutants looks to offer an interesting take on how having superpowers can damage the psyche, especially in young people. With a wholly new story away from the likes of Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, The New Mutants is clearly setting up a larger X-Men universe. Set to a chilling cover of Pink Floyd’sAnother Brick in the Wall,” the first trailer may only be a brief look at what to expect next year, but there is no denying that The New Mutants is taking Fox’s X-Men on a path into territories unknown.

Next: X-Men Movie Producer Talks Franchise Challenges & Bold Future

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