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New Mutants Canceled?; Fox Leaker Backtracks on X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Matt McGloin Posted: 07/30/2018 - 17:02 COMMENT
New Mutants Cancellation; Backtracks on X-Men: Dark Phoenix

With Disney purchasing Fox Studios, last week saw a big rumor hit that both the New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix movies would be canceled and not released.

The rumor offered that Disney already had a hand in Fox Studios previous to the sale and wanted to start their X-Men universe with a clean slate as New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix were said to be awful, which means those two movies wouldn't get released in addition to Channing Tatum's Gambit, and that Deadpool 3 and X-Force would be released as one film.

The rumor quickly went viral on our site and social media, which was picked up by lots of outlets; however, numerous news sites have since reported, according to their own sources, that New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix are not canceled.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

The origin of the rumor came from a user at the SHH forums, Slugzilla, who claims to be a low-level Fox employee that has worked on New Mutants. Now the user's latest post from yesterday backtracks on some of the statements including X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but it is still said that New Mutants will not be released in theaters:

For purposes of clarity in what has become a clouded mess of misinformation, confusion, and chaotic arguments, I would like to concede the fact that the rumors I heard and reported on from various individuals regarding Dark Phoenix, Externals, and Gambit may not be accurate.

If I recall correctly I believe I made it clear when posting these rumors that they were not coming directly from me, but that I was relaying information that I had been told. As I was simply told these things, it is certainly possible I may have been mislead regarding the films I had nothing to do with.

I have only posted information that I have believed to be accurate as it came to me from individuals that I believed I could trust, but with all of the reports to the contrary coming out about those movies I myself have begun to question the validity of what these people have been telling me.

For whatever it is worth, if the information regarding the films aside from New Mutants does turn out to be false, I would like to apologize to everyone on these forums and those involved in the creation of those movies. In retrospect I believe it was irresponsible of me to speak of things I did not know to be completely accurate, and I apologize for reporting these things that were not personally witnessed by me as it seems to have caused an eruption of various emotions and been the source of a lot of controversy and verbal disagreements.

However with all that said, I actually was/am directly involved in the production of New Mutants & have personally witnessed/ been involved in everything I've said regarding that film, thus I stand behind that information 100%, as I actually lived it. And as I have stated before, I can personally confirm it will not see theatrical release. From here on out I will not be sharing anything that I am told or hear about regarding the films I am not actively involved in. I believe this to be the appropriate course of action at this time.

New Mutants

New Mutants

Regarding what was said about New Mutants, a Reddit user wrote up the following based on Slugzilla's posts:

For the past seven months, this SlugZilla guy (who was apparently a low-level Fox employee involved with The New Mutants and has been involved with the project before Josh Boone was hired to direct the movie) has stated that the movie was originally meant to be an R-rated adventure movie that focused on the exploits of a couple of characters as they adjusted to lives as Mutants in a mansion, along with plenty of teenage shenanigans driving the plot forward along the way. Tonally, it was meant to be something along the lines of Deadpool-lite, and the pitch was meant to be more of an introduction of these characters than a huge franchise-building affair. Apparently, the sequel's pitch was meant to be much darker, however, and that the movie would have started with the characters trying to escape a military bunker after they were kidnapped.

Naturally, this pitch (more faithful to the original comics and featured more comic-accurate Sentinels in a major setpiece) was deemed too expensive, so some cuts were made. And that's when Boone stepped in and offered a completely different pitch inspired by the idea for the movie's proposed sequel: retool the concept as a horror movie set almost entirely with an abandoned medical facility. Boone apparently had next-to-no love for the comics and was really just interested in making a horror movie with superheroes, and Fox liked his pitch. Several low-level employees, including SlugZilla, warned the Fox executives that this pitch wasn't going to work with what The New Mutants franchise was. Many were fired, and those who stayed on hoped that they could convince Boone to keep elements of what made the franchise what it was in the film adaptation.

Boone didn't listen, and progressively the movie became less and less tied to The New Mutants as a concept and more "generic horror movie with a superhero gimmick" as time progressed and the script repeatedly changed. Demon Bear, which was intended to be the antagonist of the entire film, was cut down to be part of an action sequence. Boone was nice on several days but on others, for whatever reason, he was described as being incredibly hostile to the crew. (In general, it sounds like he had a much cooler head on the project than, say, Josh Trank, as he didn't go completely insane mid-filming.) He was pretty confident in the film he was working on... Until the executives actually test-screened it. And apparently, the rough cut was abysmal, hence the movie's initial delay (which coincided with a generally tepid response to the teaser, aside from horror enthusiasts). The only bright spots: the cast, who gave strong performances with what they were given, and everyone got equal screentime.

In spite of initial reports about the reshoots suggested, the movie was not being reshot to be more scary. It was being reshot to add bits of actual heart (something missing in the original film) and humor to a lesser extent - not enough to, say, "save" the movie, but at least to keep the film from being an unwatchable slog. (Worth noting: the whole "it got good test screenings" things from Fox was pure spin according to SlugZilla, which makes complete sense with the 10-month delay in mind.) But later, Fox apparently decided that the best course of action would be to work with what they had and make The New Mutants into a more faithful adaptation without completely refilming the entire movie.

Boone was set to become the director in name only as the film would be retooled. No costumes, of course, but it seemed like Fox were working to make the film work within the confines they had set for themselves and make the adaptation more recognizably represent the franchise it was adapting. X-23 (the new major character added in reshoots) and Colossus (a supporting role in a subplot where he's looking for his little sister) were apparently going to be added to the movie to help sell the project, but Colossus was ultimately cut. Things were looking up and it seemed like they could salvage the project.

And then Disney stepped in, unofficially. Apparently, the deal with Fox is apparently far enough along that certain figures serving as representatives for the Mouse are actually influencing certain policies at the company, at least as far as the Marvel films go... And right now, they're not particularly happy with the state of either The New Mutants or Dark Phoenix, just as Fox aren't too keen on them either. The latter is more of a mixed situation - some people at Fox liked what they had so far, others, like SlugZilla, decidedly didn't. SlugZilla described The New Mutants with a statement saying "it isn't even as good as Fant4stic (yikes) and he outright called Dark Phoenix the worst X-Men spin-off ever, noting that the cast of the latter seemed to phone their performances in.

There are factions within Disney and Fox who would like there to be a clean slate before Marvel Studios inevitably reboots the IP and some feel that it'd be easier for Fox to write these two movies off instead of doing tons of post-production work in attempts to salvage them. Reshoots will still happen per contractual obligations, but the chances that either of these movies will be officially released to a streaming platform before Uncanny X-Men from Marvel Studios are nil. Let's just say that there's a reason that Marilyn Manson's "Cry Little Sister" cover popped up well over a year before The New Mutants is intended to release.

X-Men canceled

Obviously the validity of the rumors is currently unknown, but next year does see the Disney and Fox Studios deal go through officially, which is when both X-Men: Dark Phoenix (February 2019) and New Mutants (August 2019) are to be released. Interestingly enough, the February 2019 release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix looks to come prior to the deal going official, which has been said to happen late Spring/early Summer--before the August 2019 release of New Mutants. My own opinion is that if Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios want to reboot the X-Men ASAP within the MCU (especially Wolverine), it does make sense to cancel both those movies as it would be at least three years since the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, and it would avoid any confusion regarding use of the same actors and storyline, particularly with X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

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