Any film franchise that goes on as long as Fox’s X-Men movies is going to encounter some speed bumps. And perhaps some giant, vehicle-consuming holes in the road. While X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t a financial disaster (it made a solid half a billion dollars worldwide), the film was a creative flop of the highest order, earning scorn from critics and casual audiences alike. The film’s mind-numbing tone and generic plot were especially jarring considering what Logan and Deadpool were doing with the franchise at that same point.
And it turns out that the reaction to Apocalypse had ramifications for The New Mutants, forcing co-writer and director Josh Boone to make some significant changes to the story.
Speaking with us in a recent interview, Boone told us that 20th Century Fox encouraged him to make a film that felt different from the rest of the X-Men pack…even though they were forced to make some sweeping changes. Originally, the film was set in the 1980s and featured characters from Apocalypse and other key X-Men characters. But the studio decided that it was time to cut ties to that era of the X-Men universe. According to Boone:
We were lucky. They really did want it to be different than other stuff. They really pushed us to keep it separate from X-Men stuff, even though it’s set in the X-Men universe. We had early drafts that were supposed to be in the same timeline as [X-Men:] Apocalypse, so it was originally going to be set in the ’80s. Originally, Professor X and Storm were in it, and Storm very much played the Alice Braga role. Over the course of months, a new studio head came in, they said they didn’t want any X-Men movies to take place in the past anymore, as if that was the reason that Apocalypse was bad. [laughs] So we were put in the position where we kind of rewrote it to be set now in a nebulous [point in time], because nobody knew how the movies had turned out. Dark Phoenix wasn’t out yet. Yeah, it’s there – they talk about Professor X and those things, but it doesn’t have cameos from anyone or anything like that.
While the ’80s setting may have added to New Mutants‘ horror tone, this sounds like it could’ve been a blessing in disguise. Rather than have any connection to the baggage of past X-Men movies, New Mutants is allowed to stand alone and let its new characters shine.
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