The New Mutants, overcoming both coronavirus pandemic and corporate merger, has actually opened at the box office. Well, some of it, anyways, as many large markets still deem theaters too dangerous to reopen. The point is that the film has come a long way since its series of delays. In fact, recent reports have noted the massive structural and story changes that have impacted the film over the course of its development — with details like a Storm that acted like the teen mutants’ “sadistic jailer.” Now a conflicting report — with much more detail and some hands-on time with the original script — has come out to clarify the heroine’s original role in the film…and what exactly changed between now and then.
EW got its hands on a copy of a first draft of the script, from writer/director Josh Boone and co-writer Knate Lee, dated November 2015. That’s about six months before X-Men: Apocalypse hit theaters. Simpler times. That version of the story was much more connected to the rest of the X-universe, not just pulling from writer Chris Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz’s 1980s Demon Bear arc, but implementing plenty of details from Claremont and Barry Windsor-Smith’s 1984 X-Men: Lifedeath comics. It featured a Storm that wasn’t quite as “sadistic” as earlier reports led fans to believe, but was in her “punk rock” regalia with mohawk and leathers — and no powers.
The plan was to have Alexandra Shipp, the Storm from Apocalypse, reprise her role three years after the events of the prior film. No weather powers, PTSD from serving as a Horseman for big bad Apocalypse, and a new mutant — Dani (Blu Hunt) — needing her help. So Professor Charles Xavier sets her up with a new school (that just so happens to be a creepy old hospital) for mutants that can’t quite handle their abilities yet. It’s got its own ragtag Danger Room and the main cast that made it to the final film…plus Warlock.
This Warlock (initially planned for Sacha Baron Cohen) was set to be sentient alien technology given to Xavier by the NSA. Obviously, this got cut when Fox sliced the film’s budget in half. Warlock was dropped, as was Storm, and plenty of set pieces. Enter Cecilia Reyes, taking over for a tweaked role that once was set for one of the most famous X-Men.
With no hope for a sequel in sight — especially since it’s been so long since the movie was actually filmed that its young cast has grown up significantly — The New Mutants‘ grand ambitions and comic touchstones will remain as unrealized plans on early drafts. But fans can still check out what came of the compromises, as The New Mutants is out now…though it’ll likely end up on a more safe streaming destination sooner rather than later.