New Mutants Delays Explained: Why Fox (& Disney) Haven’t Released The Last X-Men Movie

New Mutants Maisie Williams Delays

The future is filled with uncertainty for Fox's The New Mutants after numerous delays in the film's release date. Originally intended to debut on April 13, 2018, the film has seen its release pushed back several times. Coupled with Disney's recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox, New Mutants is now scheduled to arrive on April 3, 2020, nearly two full years after its originally intended debut in theaters.

What makes The New Mutants situation especially unique is how much the film seemed to be on schedule from the outset. Fox released New Mutants' first (only) trailer in October 2017, which distanced itself from the superhero genre and leaned far more heavily into the tone of a supernatural horror film. There was even some early chatter of The New Mutants, true to its title, being the first in a new trilogy in Fox's X-Men franchise. All indications, at the time, signaled The New Mutants not only making its release date, but offering audiences a fresh take on its source material as well, not unlike the R-rated, Western-esque Logan.

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Related: Which Will Release First: Justice League's Snyder Cut Or New Mutants?

All of that was before The New Mutants entered its ongoing purgatory of release date shifts, a situation seemingly made even more inescapable following the Fox-Disney merger. While the film is currently slated to release in April of next year, the constant delays have left fans dubious about The New Mutants actually being released in the foreseeable future, or of the film possibly forgoing a theatrical release for a streaming debut. Here's a breakdown of the numerous delays in release that have plagued The New Mutants.

New Mutants' Original Delay & Reshoot Rumors

Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy New Mutants

The New Mutants saw its first delay in January 2018, with the film being pushed back to February 22, 2019. While a postponement of 10 months is admittedly a little on the long side, it's hardly unusual for a major tentpole movie to be moved to another time frame. The reasoning offered was that the delay was intended to accommodate New Mutants' reshoots, which were meant to make the film even scarier. To be sure, the trailer had already made clear that The New Mutants was going to take a radically different approach from the average superhero film. However, Maisie Williams shot down the reshoot rumors, directly contradicting trade reports.

What was a little surprising was that the shift also resulted in The New Mutants swapping places on the calendar with Fox's Dark Phoenix. Once the Disney-Fox deal began to gain traction, this decision looked particularly odd, as the two films would effectively bring Fox's X-Men franchise to a close. From the perspective of many fans, using the popular "Dark Phoenix Saga" (following its earlier use in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand) would seemingly make for a more fitting closing chapter on the series. The New Mutants made no effort to hide its horror movie feel, and in another similarity with Logan, it was seemingly open to interpretation where - and, indeed, even if - the film fit within the larger X-Men timeline. Nevertheless, while the conflicting reports on reshoots were a bit puzzling, a single bump in scheduling is nothing to raise eyebrows over, and The New Mutants delay was no different. At least, not at the time.

Related: How Fox’s X-Men Series Slowly Died

Fox Delayed New Mutants A Second Time

New Mutants Maisie Williams

Fans got their first real sign that something was amiss when The New Mutants was delayed to August 2, 2019. In a vacuum, the delay would have appeared to make sense, as by that point, Fox had also rescheduled Dark Phoenix for February 14. Two films in the same franchise opening within a week of each other would obviously be unworkable, but it was clear by this point that there was far more to the story than was being made public. One thing that was also clear was that both films were indeed slated to undergo significant reshoots.

However, despite multiple delays, The New Mutants' reshoots have yet to happen (or be planned). With Disney's acquisition and the film's August release date looming, the first whispers began to emerge that Fox was considering pulling New Mutants from theaters and releasing it on Hulu. Given the significant expenses that doubtlessly went into production and intended for marketing beyond the first trailer, the prospect of The New Mutants being jettisoned to a streaming release would seem hyperbolic at best, and ridiculous at worst.

That perception would change, however, after longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner expressed the "hope" that The New Mutants would maintain its theatrical release. The doubt and confusion surrounding The New Mutants was only exacerbated further when Maisie Williams seemed uncertain of its future. At that point, it had become very clear to anyone observing the situation that the delays The New Mutants was experiencing were far from normal.

Related: Marvel Theory: MCU’s Mutants Won’t Be Called X-Men

Disney Delayed The New Mutants A Third Time To 2020

Dark Phoenix and New Mutants

Following the finalization of the Disney-Fox deal, there was some reassurance for the future release of The New Mutants at CinemaCon 2019, with Disney listing both it and Dark Phoenix on their release slate. By this point, Dark Phoenix had seen its own second delay to June 7, only for the film to become the X-Men franchise's worst box office flop. Additionally, with the Disney-Fox acquisition now a done deal and the integration of the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe an inevitability, that left all eyes on what Disney would ultimately do with The New Mutants now that it's effectively under their ownership.

Sure enough, The New Mutants was delayed once again to April 3, 2020, almost two full years from its original release date. However, more concerning news was to come for moviegoers eager to see the film finally released. A report had described Disney as being "unimpressed" with New Mutants, with the studio wary of its financial prospects. The failure of Dark Phoenix is likely to have something to do with their trepidation, especially since Disney's major third quarter write-down being pinned to a significant degree on the film's poor performance. Additionally, the intended reshoots for The New Mutants have still neither taken place nor been scheduled, continuing to leave the film's future up in the air.

At present, The New Mutants remains slated to be released in theaters on April 3, 2020. However, after the past year-and-a-half of delays, uncertainty, rumors of executive dissatisfaction, and only a single trailer having seen the light of day, fans could certainly be forgiven for feeling pessimistic that the film will manage to release at all. Furthermore, a delay of two years is quite shocking, particularly for a major comic book film, and certainly for one set within a franchise that's spanned nearly two decades. Furthermore, New Mutants' clear tonal distinction from that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes it highly unlikely that it will be used as the bridge to incorporate the X-Men into the franchise. With a constant aura of uncertainty hovering over the film, and the omnipresent chatter that it may be pulled from its slated theatrical release and dropped on Hulu, at this point, it's truly anyone's guess what the future holds for The New Mutants.

Next: Everything We Know About The X-Men's Movie Future After Dark Phoenix

Key Release Dates
  • New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
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