Fox’s X-Men series ended with 2019’s Dark Phoenix, right? Not quite. Although, The New Mutants has seen a slew of setbacks and delays for the past two years, especially with Disney’s acquisition of Fox and the X-Men franchise in between it all. But, it’s finally coming this April! The comic book adaptation from director Josh Boone is a PG-13 horror take on the comic title. But, most notably for Game of Thrones fans, Maisie Williams is one of the film’s stars! The Arya Stark actress is playing a mutant known as Wolfsbane.
If you’re unfamiliar with The New Mutants comics and curious about the roots of Maisie Williams’ latest role, you’ve come to the right place! Although it certainly seems like the movie will be taking quite a few creative liberties with its material, it doesn’t hurt to be knowledgable about the character from the perspective of where it all began: Marvel Comics. Time to rip right in. Here’s what to know about Maisie Williams’ New Mutants character:
Rahne Sinclair’s Religious Upbringing In Scotland
As you know, the mutants of X-Men are found throughout the world before they often find themselves within Charles Xavier’s organization for gifted individuals. Wolfsbane’s home is Scotland. Her given name is Rahne Sinclair and she’s the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and prostitute. Those don’t usually go together, do they? Rahne’s father, Reverend Craig was not true to his sworn celibacy and the local prostitute he sleeps with becomes pregnant too.
Rahne's mother dies whilst giving birth to her and Reverend Craig spends the greater part of his daughter's upbringing not only hiding this fact from her but instilling a strict religious code on her to compensate for himself. Rahne is therefore one of the most religious characters in Marvel history, with her upbringing often bringing judgment on mutants she meets later in life.
Rahne Sinclair Is Adopted By Dr. Moira MacTaggert
One day, Rahne discovers her mutant powers are the ability to transform herself into a wolf. When it first happens, she is mistaken by her Scottish village as a werewolf. Locals suspected she was possessed by the devil, including her father, who even attempted to perform an exorcism on her to cast out “the devil” within her. This aspect of Rahne’s origins certainly leans into the horror elements Josh Boone is going with for The New Mutants.
Her father and the locals orchestrate a hunt and chase her all across the Scottish Highlands, but thankfully Dr. Moira MacTaggert finds Rahne as she starts to transform back to human form and decides to take her in and protect her from the ignorance of humans. You’ve seen Moira before in the X-Men prequels, played by Rose Bryne. She legally adopts Rahne and convinces close co-worker and romantic flame, Charles Xavier, to enroll her in the New Mutants training program. Now, we don't expect The New Mutants to connect a ton to the X-Men prequels, but who knows?
Wolfsbane Is A Founding Member Of The New Mutants
Let’s take a step back and talk about what the New Mutants actually are in the comic books. They are the third team created under Charles Xavier and it’s especially made for adolescents too young to be X-Men but old enough to begin working through their powers in order to control them and use them gracefully. The first members include Cannonball, Karma, Moonstar, Wolfsbane and Sunspot – all to be portrayed in the upcoming movie, except for Karma, being replaced by Anya Taylor-Joy’s Magik, who joins the team later in the comics.
Wolfsbane has a special fondness for Cannonball/Sam Guthrie, who will be played by Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton in the film. He is her first crush, but due to her strict upbringing, she never acts on her feelings for him in the comics. She finds friendship with him along with Roberto da Costa / Sunspot (played by Henry Zaga) and Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt). Since Dani had a rapport with animals in her powers, Wolfsbane has a psychic link with Dani when she transforms!
The Many Forms And Powers of Wolfsbane
Maisie Williams’ The New Mutants role has an exciting skillset as Wolfsbane. Although she doesn’t quite have the instincts of a wolf, she has the speed and power of one. Unlike a werewolf, she can turn into the form of a wolf at her own will and even into a middle form – kind of in the vein of Bruce Banner’s “Professor Hulk” or “Smart Hulk” recently seen in Avengers: Endgame. This middle form is the best of both worlds for her character, since she has some extra abilities as a hybrid of both forms. She can see in ultraviolet, infrared spectrums, lift a ton of weight and heal regeneratively.
In the comics, Wolfsbane also reaches an “absolute” form at one point in her mutation where she can split into multiple wolves. Rahne’s wolf form is slightly larger than a regular wolf and she’s not invulnerable to bullet wounds and such. She’s also prone to folding into the animalistic characteristics of her mutation. The character has been trained by Wolverine in the comics and is especially great at hand-to-hand combat.
Again, if The New Mutants had embedded connections to Fox’s X-Men world it would be a strange choice, especially considering the franchise has ended and the MCU is planning its own reboot of the concept of “mutants” somewhere in its vast world. Even so, The New Mutants was filmed back in 2017, so there could be remnants of X-Men’s past. With that in mind (and really more as a fun fact) is is how much Wolfsbane dislikes Mystique. The character was played by Jennifer Lawrence, of course, and she’s no longer interested in donning the blue makeup.
But in the comics, Mystique is responsible for the death of her foster mother Dr. Moira MacTaggert. Wolfsbane swears her revenge on the shapeshifter… that is until she joins the X-Men as an ally and she must resist her urge to exact her revenge. Pretty crazy, huh? Too bad The New Mutants is after the time of Fox’s X-Men.
Wolfsbane is certainly an interesting character and it should be exciting to see what Maisie Williams brings to her! The New Mutants is hitting theaters on April 3, 2020.