Post-merger Fox and Disney have taken to the CinemaCon stage to reveal their upcoming slate of films, and one surprise listing is for The New Mutants, an X-Men spinoff that Fox began working on before a possible Disney buyout was a twinkle in anyone’s eye but quickly fell between the cracks as it underwent delays and possible re-shoots, until the merger seemed to swallow the project whole.
The only movie that seemed more doomed was poor Channing Tatum’s Gambit sex comedy, but neither seemed to jive with Disney’s values, especially when it came to their superhero offerings. The New Mutants‘ only saving grace is that it was basically finished before the merger, so chances were good that it would sneak out in one form or another.
Most recently, rumor had it that The New Mutants was going to be delayed and then dumped directly onto Hulu (which is a great service that could actually use a heavy-hitter like this to remind people it carries movies) with little to no fanfare. That doesn’t seem to be the case as Disney’s CinemaCon presentation indicates The New Mutants will release theatrically on August 2, 2019. That feels shockingly soon for a movie that should have come out two years ago.
That still leaves a ton of questions for what Josh Boon’s film will look like. Hell, we don’t even know what rating it will have. Will this be the exact same vision we would have gotten if big papa Disney hadn’t opened its wallet to just up and buy another insanely massive corporation? Chances are no, and I’m skeptical that we’ll see it R-rated if it’s indeed going to theaters. Deadpool‘s future outings might get away with it, because it’s a proven money-maker. An X-Men horror movie is a much dicier proposition. Although, now with all these delays it actually won’t even be the first superhero horror movie to hit theaters.
Whatever we get, though, this will be our final glimpse into a Fox that could have been, one that was just gearing up to experiment with superhero formulas and blaze their own trail. After huge successes with lower-budget offerings Deadpool and Logan, which skewed comic book conventions as a foul-mouthed comedy and harrowing western respectively, Fox was poised to change the game and give audiences something Disney wasn’t willing to produce. What the future held will never be known, but The New Mutants can at least provide some closure.
And who knows? That trailer for The Joker shows off a grim character-study in the trappings of your average comic book villain origin story, so maybe Warner Brothers will find a niche picking up where Fox left off–not that I’d expect them to bring anything R-rated to theaters.
Warner Brothers has shown a willingness to at least release some tentpole films in R-rated extended versions, so maybe that can strike a decent balance between wide-audience crowd pleasing and putting out something with more bite and interest. I just really want someone, anyone to keep making weird superhero movies.