The New Mutants originally featured a misogynistic mutant character who repeatedly drew his penis on walls.
The beleaguered X-Men spin-off was announced in 2015 and began filming in 2017, but experienced repeated release delays amid rumours of creative disagreements behind the scenes. It is finally being released in cinemas in the US and UK this month.
Some of the early turmoil revolved around the film’s tone, with its earliest incarnations crude enough to concern executives at 20th Century Fox. The first draft of the script, written by director Josh Boone and his co-writer Knate Lee, allegedly included a sexist character with a penchant for X-rated graffiti.
“Punk-rock-y, rebellious teens are already baked into the X-Men, but here, one of the characters was a misogynist and graffiti-ing his penis on stuff,” a source close to the production told Vulture. “There were head scratchers. Like, that’s not going to work.”
There were also concerns about the inclusion of the X-Men character Storm, who was depicted as a “sadistic jailer” keeping the film’s teenage mutant heroes locked in an institution.
“It felt like the kids were being tortured,” the source said. “If the X-Men are holding [the young mutants] there, it can’t feel different from the mental furniture that audiences bring into the theatre knowing that the X-Men are good guys. Storm like that made no sense.”
Storm, who has been played by Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp in previous X-Men movies, is no longer in the film.
Many US film critics have refused to review the film, with Disney declining to screen it in advance of its release.
Boone this week (26 August) condemned the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it queer representation in the recent Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, boasting that The New Mutants features a far more prominent queer relationship at its centre.
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