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Maisie Williams in counseling in The New Mutants

The last time we saw her onscreen, she was setting out to find out what’s west of Westeros (answer: the islands of Aegon, Rhaenys and Visenya, then probably nothing until you get to Asshai), but in April, Maisie Williams is heading to the big screen for the long-delayed Marvel movie, The New Mutants. The actress plays the mutant Rahne Sinclair, a.k.a. Wolfsbane, in Josh Boone’s film. Maisie Williams recently teased the ‘progressive’ story we can expect in The New Mutants, saying:

There’s so many things about it that are progressive and new for a story of this kind … We’ve seen so many superhero films and I think New Mutants really prides itself on being more of a thriller… we’re not heroes, we’re kids that are trying to figure it all out and I think that’s really relatable to the young people of today.

Maisie Williams sees The New Mutants as a film that stands out in the crowded superhero genre with a story that is relevant. Speaking at Sky’s Next Up Event, as reported by Radio Times, the Game of Thrones actress notes that The New Mutants is not a superhero film in the traditional mold. As the tone of the trailers has certainly indicated, Maisie Williams asserts that Josh Boone’s film is more of a thriller, fully embracing that identity.

We haven’t seen the movie yet to know for sure, but if there was any belief that The New Mutants would chicken out of getting intense and scary, Maisie Williams’ comments indicate that won’t be the case. The New Mutants will be a thriller.

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So The New Mutants represents something new in the superhero genre by leaning into thriller elements that we don’t traditionally see, but it is also progressive for the kind of story it is telling and the relevance of those themes. According to Maisie Williams, the New Mutants are not heroes; they’re kids that are just trying to get by and figuring things out as they go along, and that’s a story we haven’t really seen before in this genre.

Marvel characters, and I would argue Spider-Man and the X-Men in particular, have always been especially relatable because of the parallels you can draw between their struggles and those in the real world. The manifestation of powers due to the X-gene could be a metaphor for going through puberty, and more so than the other X-Men movies, The New Mutants looks to be really honing in on the struggles of these young mutants.

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The powers may be fantasy, but a group of kids who don’t have it all figured out and are just doing the best they can as they go through an emotional time in a world that doesn’t seem to make any sense is universal. In that way, The New Mutants story could feel relatable to young audiences in a way not dissimilar to something like The Breakfast Club.

That all sounds great and reflects well upon The New Mutants, but fairly or unfairly, it’s difficult to talk about this film without addressing its multiple delays and the myriad reports indicating it is of suspect quality. Maisie Williams believes in the film though and offered her own take on the delays, saying:

It’s been a long time coming, we shot it many years ago, but I’m really proud of it finally coming out. It was a lot to do with the merger, I think it [the film] had a really bad rep and people thought there was going to be something wrong with it, but I honestly think it was just really badly affected by something that was out of our control.

The New Mutants was supposed to come out back in April of 2018 before a series of delays. The merger of Disney and 21st Century Fox was a huge deal, and it definitely impacted many things as we saw release dates get shifted around and other Fox projects get cancelled as a result. So while that merger may not account for all of the delays to The New Mutants, it does seem that the chaos and restructuring contributed to the can getting kicked further down the road for the former 20th Century Fox film.

As to the questions of The New Mutants’ quality, Maisie Williams thinks the bad rep was unjustified. She seems to believe that the merger was the primary reason for the delays and not any problem with the film itself. We’ll have to wait until April to see how accurate that is, but hopefully she's right.

Over the long road to this film’s release there have been indications that the studio (20th Century Fox) was meddling with director Josh Boone’s vision, and there were also reports of new owner Disney being unimpressed with the movie. But now it seems that The New Mutants will end Fox’s X-Men era with a movie that at least adheres to the director’s original vision.

The New Mutants opens in theaters on April 3. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what other movies you can look forward to this year.