'The New Mutants': A Complete Timeline of Its Long Road to Finally Being Released
By John Boone
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The unintended irony of The New Mutants is that by the time any of us see it, it will undoubtedly be the oldest release on the marquee, the result of a series of delays and new release dates that has made the beleaguered teen X-Men spinoff feel like an urban legend of superhero movies.
Though it was beginning to feel like Professor X couldn't even provide an answer to whether or not The New Mutants would ever come out, it has opened in theaters, at long last. As moviegoers are finally able to see it to believe it, let's look back The New Mutants' long, looong journey to the big screen.
May 13, 2015: Fox hires The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone to co-write and direct The New Mutants, intended to be part of the studio's growing X-Men cinematic universe. (At the time, X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool are still on the horizon, Hugh Jackman has yet to take his final bow as Wolverine and Channing Tatum is still set to play Gambit.)
"We're so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe," producer Simon Kinberg says, "and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters."
April 15, 2016: One year later, Boone shares an update on the project via Instagram: "Cover of a certain script Knate Lee and I turned in last night to Simon Kinberg #newmutants second draft."
April 22, 2017: The New Mutants gets its very first release date: April 13, 2018.
May 11, 2017: Maisie Williams, an Emmy nominee for Game of Thrones season 6, and newly anointed horror It girl Anya Taylor-Joy are tapped to play shapeshifter Rahne Sinclair (aka Wolfsbane) and sorceress Illyana Rasputin (aka Magik), respectively.
May 25, 2017: Rosario Dawson (mid-run on Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron First in Netflix's Marvel universe) "is in negotiations" to play mutant doctor Cecilia Reyes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
May 31 - June 2, 2017: The remaining New Mutants are found in Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton, who is cast as Sam Guthrie (aka Cannonball), 13 Reasons Why actor Henry Zaga, cast as Robert da Costa (aka Sunspot) and newcomer Blu Hunt, cast as Danielle Moonstar.
June 29, 2017: Dawson is out and Alice Braga is in as Dr. Cecilia Reyes.
Sept. 16, 2017: The New Mutants completes filming, which Zaga marks with an Instagram post saying he is "so proud of our New Mutants family and what we've achieved. It's been one of the best experiences of my life."
Oct. 13, 2017: Less than a month after wrapping, Fox releases the first teaser trailer, which leans into the film's spooky ooky atmosphere and is relatively light on superhero super powers. (The visual effects, after all, are still unfinished.)
Dec. 5, 2017: The New Mutants gets its first poster, promoting its April 13, 2018 release:
Jan. 11, 2018: The New Mutants gets its first delay: Fox pushes the film's release back 10 months to Feb. 22, 2019. This first redating is a result of Deadpool 2 moving to May 18 and the studio not wanting their theatrical runs to overlap.
March 26, 2018: The New Mutants is bumped six more months to Aug. 2, 2019, ostensibly to avoid crowding the planned release of Dark Phoenix.
Mid-2018: With the release date more than a year out, word is The New Mutants will undergo reshoots, the significance of which vary based on the source: The Hollywood Reporter claims a new character is being added in after the fact while Williams says the reshoots are to "make it scarier." (Kinberg reiterates the latter, saying, "Audiences really embraced the notion of a superhero movie or a comic book movie that was, in its core, a horror film.")
March 20, 2019: Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox is made official, which, among other implications, means that screen rights to the X-Men have returned to Marvel Studios. Now that mutants are part of the MCU sandbox, fans immediately begin speculating what this might mean for Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants, the last remaining Marvel films made at Fox: Will they be scrapped entirely? Will they be offloaded to the studio's upcoming streamer, Disney+?
May 7, 2019: The Walt Disney Studios unveils an updated slate to include its recently acquired titles, with The New Mutants getting its fourth release date: April 3, 2020.
Jan. 6, 2020: More than two years after a teaser trailer was released, the now Disney-owned 20th Century Studios releases an official trailer for The New Mutants, teasing a demonic bear, revealing new powers and plugging the April 3, 2020 release date.
Jan. 24, 2020: "Screening New Mutants for the cast!" Boone shared on Instagram, confirming that by the year 2020, someone in the world has actually seen The New Mutants.
March 6, 2020: Nearly five years after he was hired, Boone confirms that his work on The New Mutants is finally finished. "We just locked the sound mix!" he writes on Instagram. "It was a long road but this roaring beast is done and we can’t wait for you to see it!"
March 9, 2020: Boone breaks his silence on rumors around the movie's delays: "Everybody said we did reshoots! We've never done reshoots," he tells Entertainment Weekly. "And I'll tell you this: if there hadn't been a merger, I'm sure we would've done reshoots the same way every movie does pickups. We didn't even do that. Because by the time the merger was done and everything was settled, everybody's older."
March 12, 2020: As movie theaters close their doors due to the global coronavirus pandemic, The New Mutants -- and every other theatrical release planned for summer 2020 -- is delayed indefinitely.
April 3, 2020: Disney announces the first wave of rescheduled dates for some of its biggest titles -- including Mulan and Black Widow -- but leaves The New Mutants "to be dated."
May 13, 2020:The New Mutants gets its fifth release date: Aug. 28, 2020.
July 23, 2020: Though the future of theatrical releases remains in flux, Boone and his cast -- including Williams, Taylor-Joy, Heaton, Braga, Hunt and Zaga -- assemble for a virtual panel during ComicCon@Home. A special look promo plugs The New Mutants panel date in lieu of its release date.
During the panel, Bill Sienkiewicz, the comic-book artist whose Demon Bear Saga was adapated for the film, said "People have talked about this being a 'cursed' film because it's taking forever. But I think in some respects the lockdown has actually just amped up the level of interest. People are really rabid for this."
Meanwhile, Boone told ET, "I'd be happy with whatever medium gets everybody who wants to see it the chance to finally be able to see it."
Aug. 12, 2020: Disney is apparently holding to its latest release date, dropping a technicolor IMAX poster and confirming the film "will be opening in cinemas and IMAX theaters nationwide on Aug. 28" -- one week after theaters in certain markets are scheduled to reopen their doors.
Aug. 18, 2020: With 10 days to go, it's looking more and more like fans will finally see The New Mutants. (If theaters are open in their city and they're ready to go back, that is.) Advance tickets have officially gone on sale, with two new theater-specific posters and a special look hyping its Aug. 28 release.
Aug. 19, 2020: During the movie's (virtual) press junket, Heaton tells ET, "I have a friend who thinks it's not even real," going on to admit that there was a moment when he thought the movie wouldn't make it to our screens: "There was so much uncertainty, I thought, 'There's a good chance that maybe this never comes out.'"
"It nearly feels like a marketing stunt," Zaga weighs in. "You get people that weren't interested to begin with, now curious like, 'What's this movie that's been delayed [so many] times?'"
Aug. 23, 2020: Boone marks the week of release with a reminder from everyone's favorite purple dragon sidekick, Lockheed, to wear a mask and practice other precautions required amid the pandemic. "Safety first!" he added.
Aug. 28, 2020: Two years and five release dates later, The New Mutants opens in theaters (where theaters are open) and drive-ins. Williams marks the occasion by replying to a review calling it "the worst X-Men movie ever," writing, "Sounds like a must see! 🧚🏼♀️ Get your tickets now ✨"
Aug. 31, 2020: As movie theaters across the country continue the process of reopening amid the ongoing pandemic, The New Mutants takes in $7 million over its opening weekend, according to Variety. Though the box office haul is lower than projected, it is also the biggest debut for a new release since COVID-19-related shutdowns. Maybe the true feat is that The New Mutants was released at all.