Now that long-delayed X-Men spin-off The New Mutants is sticking to a release date, it’s time to reorient ourselves around this cast of horror-warped Rat Pack teens.
The newly owned and newly renamed 20th Century Studios released a series of images highlighting the main cast of five: The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin, Game of Thrones vet Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair, Strangers Things‘ Charlie Heaton as Sam Guthrie, Looking For Alaska‘s Henry Zaga as Roberto “Bobby” da Costa, and Another Life‘s Blu Hunt as Danielle Moonstar.
With a concept inspired by the “Demon Bear” New Mutants saga from comic book creators Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, Stephen King-obsessed director Josh Boone (CBS All Access’ The Stand) gives the superhero movie genre a haunted house twist. Five teen mutants are brought to a mysterious facility against their will so that Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga) can test what powers they will manifest. Things take a darker turn as the kids realize they’re trapped there and all are haunted by horrifying visions, each forced to face the sins of their past.
Illyana is a fan favorite of X-Men comics, generally. On the page, she’s a sorceress (hence the code name Magik) who wields a sword as her signature weapon (something we already know will pop up in the film) and is sometimes accompanied by a small purple dragon named Lockheed (someone we’re pretty sure will pop up in the film). In the film, Taylor-Joy sports hair buns (possibly a nod to those horns the character sometimes sports in the comics) and is seen scribbling drawings of her native Russia on the wall. Or maybe it’s a scene of Limbo. After all, she does rule Limbo as queen in the comics.
In the photos, Williams’ Rahne is seen clutching a set of rosary beads, hinting to her character’s harsh religious upbringing. Her name in the comics is Wolfsbane, due to her lycanthrope shape-shifting abilities. In the most recent trailer for The New Mutants, she recalls a moment when she was 13: “I thought it was a dream. I just lost control.”
Heaton’s Sam is plagued by memories of that traumatic day working in mines. It’s a story seemingly pulled from the comics, which tell of how Sam put on the hard hat after his father’s death and faced a tunnel collapse that he was only able to escape with help from his mutant powers. Sam is able to release thermochemical energy that he can use to propel his body forward — kind of like a cannonball. As the new images from the movie tease, Sam keeps a piece of the mines as a reminder.
Based on his clothes alone, it seems Zaga’s Bobby has a more affluent life, but one just as scarring as his fellow facility inmates. With the nickname Sunspot, he’s able to conduct solar energy and convert it into sheer strength. It also happens to turn his skin molten black and allow his body to give off intense heat. We’ve seen how this works out for his girlfriend through a flashback in the trailer. The photos also include a shot of Bobby sitting next to a washing machine. Past previews for The New Mutants depicted Sam approaching the same one, only to jolt back when he sees a hand engulfed in flame pressing on the glass from within.
As the fifth member, Hunt’s Danielle is a Native American from the Cheyenne Nation. In the comics, she’s called Mirage for the telepathic illusions she’s able to conjure up. In the film, a necklace of a bear dangles from her neck as a symbol of the creature stalking her. The source material for The New Mutants is, after all, “Demon Bear. It’s an entity that also plagues these characters in the film, and it’ll no doubt take all five of them to defeat.
“We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe,” Boone previously teased to EW. “There are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.”
The film was initially scheduled for a 2018 release in theaters, but it suffered multiple delays amid rumblings of reshoots that ultimately never happened. Disney’s purchase of Fox properties further pushed the release. Now, it will officially debut on April 3 and Boone promises it will maintain his original vision.