Fox’s unexpected decision to delay both X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants from 2018 to 2019 raised a couple of eyebrows this week. Many have concluded (me among them) that it’s a rather ominous sign that the studio simply isn’t happy with both projects. While Dark Phoenix might be in trouble because it’s being shot by first time director Simon Kinberg (who’s more experienced as a writer/producer), what’s going on with Josh Boone’s New Mutants is a little trickier to parse.
Word is that despite testing extremely well with audiences, Fox are eager to make the film much more horror-focused than it currently is. To this end, they’ve re-written the script to include a ‘top secret’ new character, which will result in reshooting 50% of the movie to accommodate them into the plot. This means we’re likely to get a very different film to what Boone originally envisaged, with one of the biggest changes being that the planned post-credits scene has been completely scrapped.
The rumor comes courtesy of the Tracking Board, who claim that the sequence would have introduced Mr. Sinister to the X-Men movies. If you don’t know who he is, you can probably tell by the name that he’s not a very nice man: a telepath genius who’s virtually immune to injury. The Tracking Board claims he was to have been played by Jon Hamm, who’d already shot his scene for the upcoming spinoff. Said scene has now been junked, though, to be replaced by Antonio Banderas as an unspecified villain (not Mr. Sinister, apparently).
As a dedicated Hammerhead (this is what we devoted Jon Hamm fans call ourselves), it’s incredibly annoying to find out that he’s being snatched from us as a result of studio interference. Maybe Fox should take a glance over at the cautionary tale of Warner Bros. and Justice League before deciding to mandate enormous reshoots on a practically complete movie (and one which test audiences apparently liked)? Will we be crying out for the ‘Boone-cut’ of New Mutants in the same way we crave the Snyder-cut of Justice League? It’s looking likely.
Beyond all that is the simple fact that if these two films flop, Disney and Marvel Studios will presumably be chomping at the bit to bring the X-Universe into their MCU. Whatever the status of these delayed X-Men movies, it looks like we have interesting times ahead.