The New Mutants Illustrator Explains Why The Movie Didn't Need To Be Rated R

Anya Taylor-Joy as Magik in The New Mutants

Against all odds, The New Mutants seems as if it is finally going to see the light of day and on theater screens no less, not relegated to a streaming service. The final Fox X-Men film is set to release in April and despite the horror movie vibes and previous indications an R rating might be on the table, it will carry with it a PG-13 rating. While some might be disappointed by this news, The New Mutants illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz explains why the movie didn’t need to be rated R. Take a look:

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Artist Bill Sienkiewicz illustrated Marvel’s The New Mutants in the 1980s during the run of writer and X-Men luminary Chris Claremont, so he knows a thing or two about the characters. According to Bill Sienkiewicz, The New Mutants film didn’t need to be rated R because director Josh Boone was able to make the film work and be what it needed to be, under the restrictions of a PG-13 rating.

The artist says that The New Mutants works as a PG-13 movie because of director Josh Boone and what he was able to do with it. Bill Sienkiewicz calls The New Mutants a scary film even though it has a PG-13 rating. It’s not scary ‘for a PG-13 movie’, it’s a scary movie that just happens to be rated-PG-13.

Bill Sienkiewicz attributes that scariness to the mystery, atmosphere and tone of Josh Boone’s direction. Basically it sounds like Josh Boone was able to get The New Mutants to be scary and be what he wanted it to be without needing the extra tools an R rating provides. Josh Boone made The New Mutants scary at PG-13 so there was no sense in making it rated-R just for the sake of it.

And while The New Mutants seems like it will be in many ways a horror film, Bill Sienkiewicz also made a point of noting that some of that genre’s weaknesses are not present in the X-Men movie. Characters will not make stupid decisions to split up just to facilitate their own demise. The New Mutants are a team and the scares do not come at the expense of logic in the film.

By leaning away from well-worn horror tropes, Bill Sienkiewicz sees The New Mutants as a new take on a horror movie and since The New Mutants seems poised to be one of the first true superhero horror films, it will be a new take on that genre as well.

Bill Sienkiewicz is certainly right that you can make a scary PG-13 movie. A Quiet Place, The Sixth Sense, Lights Out, What Lies Beneath and The Ring were all plenty scary without an R rating. Although Josh Boone has said that The New Mutants was never going to be R-rated, it seemed like the door was open to that possibility given the film’s horror bent and the success of other R-rated Fox mutant movies like Logan and Deadpool.

A trailer is just a trailer and it’s impossible to completely ignore all the trouble and delays this film has had, but judging by the new trailer, The New Mutants doesn’t look like it’s holding anything back and looks just as scary if not more so than other recent horror films that did carry an R rating. Hopefully that and Bill Sienkiewicz’s sentiments bode well for the film itself and that the long wait for The New Mutants will have been worth it.

The New Mutants opens in theaters on April 3. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies coming out this year.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.