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Ilyana and Lockheed face off against the Demon Bear The New Mutants

If you’re an X-Men fan who watched the special Comic-Con trailer for New Mutants that was released last month, you may have recognized a familiar silhouette fluttering around in one particular scene. At the 55 second mark, which features a showdown between Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) and the villainous Demon Bear, the footage reveals what is the first ever look at a live-action version of Lockheed – a fan-favorite alien dragon from the comics.

As one would expect, the tiny creature’s surprise appearance in the clip has inspired a whole lot of questions, but now director Josh Boone has provided some exciting answers about his role in the upcoming movie.

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of interviewing the New Mutants director during the film’s virtual press day, and while our conversation touched on all five of the titular characters in the film, it was specifically while discussing Magik that Boone provided a bit more explanation for the presence of Lockheed. Discussing the need to simplify certain origin stories that are immensely complex in the source material, the filmmaker used the dragon as an example and explained how his backstory is going to be slightly different in the live-action take:

All the mythology from the comic book has been honored, but not the stuff that's really difficult to explain without a lot of crazy X-Men backstory. Like for example, Lockheed came from outer space and he belonged to Kitty Pride first. Then he eventually was sort of adopted by Illyana in the New Mutants comics. And it's like, we simplified that in ways just to make it more grounded, like the movie, and less connected to that sort of stuff.

For those not familiar with the comics (and to expand on Josh Boone's brief summary), Lockheed was first introduced in 1983's Uncanny X-Men #166 during a story where the mutant team travels to an alien world that has been infested by a parasitic race called the Brood. While part of a what is a communal race, he possess a more individualistic attitude and after saving Kitty Pryde from a Brood attack, he stows away with her when the X-Men travel back to Earth. As noted by Boone, he then becomes Kitty’s sidekick – although the tiny dragon does also have some shared history with Magik is well. (In fact, Lockheed’s true first appearance is as a character in a bedtime story that Kitty makes up for Magik in Uncanny X-Men #153.)

Clearly The New Mutants is going to be primarily leaning into that, and hard. While apparently staying true to the spirit of Lockheed’s origins, the alien backstory is going to be altered to tie in with Illyana’s history and abilities – which involves a connection she has to an alternate dimension referred to as Limbo and her power to create portals that allow her to enter and exit (which appears as a form of teleportation to observers). Boone explained,

You still get Lockheed in a very similar way that you do in the comic, but we've tied him much more into [Illyana’s] powers and into Limbo.

It won’t be long now until fans actually get to see this live-action version of Lockheed, as after multiple delays The New Mutants is finally almost here. Starring Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga in addition to the aforementioned Anya Taylor-Joy, the new film finally will be hitting theaters on August 28th. Between now and then, be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, as we’ll have a lot more stories for you from my interview with Josh Boone!

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