Lauren Shuler Donner, one of the original foundational pieces in the X-Men franchise, makes it clear that she was not involved with Dark Phoenix, or X-Men: Apocalypse before that, or the eventual release of New Mutants. When Fox launched their now 19-year long X-Men franchise in 2000, she was part of a producing group on the franchise that included her husband Richard Donner, Avi Arad, Ralph Winter, and writer Ralph DeSanto. As the franchise continued to find new ways to proceed, Lauren was the only left when the soft reboot came with 2011's X-Men: First Class.
This relaunch of the property reintroduced many mutants that audiences already knew, but with younger actors in the roles. Unintentionally, this franchise is now wrapping up Dark Phoenix. The movie has not been well-received in any metric, as it is bombing at the box office after getting franchise-worst reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes' algorithms.
Due to this negative response, it appears Lauren Shuler Donner wanted everyone to know that she was not involved with this movie, or the last one, or the upcoming one. Yesterday, she tweeted - and has since deleted - the following statement (via CBM), "Save your condolences. I had zero, nothing to do with Dark Phoenix. Or Apocalypse, or New Mutants." Even though Shuler deleted this initial tweet, she has left up replies to other users asking her if this clear separation from the property is an indication New Mutants is not good. Her responses include, "It might be really good! I don’t know," and the optimistic outlook, "Hoping New Mutants is wonderful. Looking forward to seeing it one day."
Even though Donner has remained a credited producer on every single X-Men related film to come from Fox, she has not been involved with the cinematic side of the IP in a while. She still operated in a hands-on way for X-Men: Days of Future Past, but largely stepped away from the movies following Deadpool. Instead, she has turned her focus to the small screen, serving as an executive producer on Legion and The Gifted starting in 2017 for FX, while Dark Phoenix writer/director Simon Kinberg reportedly took on a larger role with the films.
Since her name is still attached to mostly disliked installments in Dark Phoenix and X-Men: Apocalypse, it is no surprise that she would want to distance herself from them. But, it is a bit strange to see the dismissal of these projects come on social media where her words were immortalized the second it was posted. She may have deleted the tweet, but not before screenshots happened. This is just another sad story to go Dark Phoenix's way, and it unfortunately may not be the last.
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020