The New Mutants Director Explains Why The Rise Of Skywalker’s Same-Sex Kiss Was ‘Embarrassing’ For Representation

Dani and Rahne in The New Mutants

The X-Men franchise ran for nearly two decades before the main franchise ended with Simon Kinberg's Dark Phoenix. But there's one mutant-centric story that is just now arriving in theaters: Josh Boone's The New Mutants. The genre bending spinoff has been delayed countless times over the years, with fans eager for the horror-infused superhero flick to finally be released. The movie has a same-sex love story at its center, and now Boone has spoken out against the "embarrassing" representation in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The past few years have seen the entertainment world engage conversations about representation both behind and in front of the camera. There have been calls for diversity, with plenty of franchises taking significant steps forward. While the Star Wars franchise featured more women and people of color, some fans took umbrage with an obligatory blink-and-you'll-miss-it kiss in The Rise of Skywalker between two same-sex background characters. The New Mutants director Josh Boone recently spoke to this subtle nod in Episode IX, calling it the "most embarrassing" version of representation. As he explained,

It was just somebody in the background and [the filmmakers] were like, 'We'll put out articles as if this is something you should pay attention to’.

Well, that was honest. It looks like Josh Boone isn't a fan of the very brief moments of LGBT representation in projects like the Star Wars franchise. Because while The New Mutants will feature a same-sex love story and organically explore two characters' connection, The Rise of Skywalker instead made it a very brief cameo.

Josh Boone's comments to TooFab show how strongly the filmmaker feels about LGBT representation in the media. Comic book movies are particular popular, and therefore making sure that audiences (especially young people) see themselves on screen in this matter is all the more powerful. The New Mutants will feature a love story between Maisie Williams' Rahne and Blu Hunt's Dani, as the two young characters bond in isolation.

Of course, that quick moment in The Rise of Skywalker still got plenty of press, as well as a fair amount of backlash. Avengers: Endgame had a similarly brief moment of LGBT representation, with Joe Russo's cameo as a gay man living in a post-snap world. While these were steps forward, The New Mutants will break new ground with its love story.

The New Mutants has been a long time coming, and we've seen a variety of delays across the years. Principal photography ended back in 2017, with the first teaser capturing the attention of the general public. Unfortunately, the movie's release date was pushed back four separate times. The first two were to ensure it wouldn't conflict with Deadpool 2 and Dark Phoenix respectively, while Fox's merger with Disney Fox and the COVID-19 pandemic brought two more delays.

But the movie is finally hitting theaters, marking one of the first projects to arrive in months. Russell Crowe's Unhinged had that honor, but The New Mutants and Tenet will offer more projects to the newly reopened theaters. Of course, availability is limited depending on your location.

The New Mutants is in theaters today. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.