Twentieth Century Fox is keeping it simple with their next X-Men spinoff by setting The New Mutants in the present day. Since the very beginning of their X-Men universe, Fox has not been afraid to mess with and jump around the timeline. Their first trilogy was set in the not too distant future, which was followed by a trilogy spanning the 1960s-1980s, and eventually jumping to the future again with Logan. Throughout it all, the constant time jumps have routinely made the franchise's entire timeline a bit messy.
More recently however, the studio has started to make it clear when each film takes place and how it connects to the rest of the universe. New Mutants will be no different as it has connections to the X-Men universe too, but also appears to be taking a page from Deadpool by letting the time period be natural.
Related: New Mutants Teaser Trailer Breakdown
IGN spoke with director Josh Boone about his X-Men spinoff following the launch of The New Mutants teaser trailer and made sure to ask him when it takes place in relation to the other films. Boone's answer is simple and sweet saying, "It takes place present day." This immediately puts it in the same time period as Deadpool, thus separating it from the main story for the time being, but not dictating future events.
The decision to set New Mutants in the present day is a simple solution to Fox's timeline, and one that could continue to be implemented in their following films. The main series of films is quickly getting closer to the modern day with X-Men: Dark Phoenix jumping to 1991, so a few more sequels with decade jumps should get the X-Men films all on the same page. Even though Gambit's place in time has not yet been revealed, that could also be set in present day, along with potentially X-Force, Deadpool 3, and any other spinoffs.
If this is Fox's strategy, it could eventually allow them to have an interconnected cinematic universe that many studios are trying to build in some way. While this shouldn't be a clear signifier that Deadpool or even someone like Negasonic Teenage Warhead will appear in New Mutants, it opens up the possibility at the very least. Since New Mutants is only the beginning of a new franchise for the studio, it would not be out of the question to see some level of crossover in a sequel or for these characters to pop up in other films. Clearly, a present day setting makes the entire timeline easier to follow and will allow for these characters and the universe to progress naturally moving forward.
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