The first cut of The New Mutants was reportedly so displeasing to 20th Century Fox that the studio considered binning the whole thing and starting again.
In an in-depth look at the movie’s tangled path to the big screen, Vulture wrote that “Fox was so displeased with the initial cut the studio discussed throwing the entire movie out to ‘start over’ with a total reshoot”.
New Mutants, with its horror-inflected story set mostly within a single location, was relatively inexpensive for an X-Men film and, as a result, simply starting again was more viable than usual.
One source in the article claimed a high-ranking exec said: “You could throw the movie out, start over, and it would still be the least expensive X-Men movie so far.”
Reshoots were scheduled for the movie, particularly after the strong response to the horror film tone of the first teaser trailer, but these were never able to happen.
The project got caught up within the Disney-Fox merger and also struggled to work around the busy schedules of stars like Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Glass).
In March, director Josh Boone told EW: “If there hadn’t been a merger, I’m sure we would’ve done reshoots the same way every movie does pickups.
“We didn’t even do that because by the time the merger was done and everything was settled, everybody’s older.”
The Vulture piece also mentions elements of the original script that Boone was asked to tone down or change, such as the depiction of X-Men stalwart Storm as a “sadistic jailer”.
One source claimed that “one of the characters was a misogynist and graffiti-ing his penis on stuff”, which is a strange fit for even a darker corner of the X-Men universe.
Read more: 20 years of X-Men
The New Mutants is now finally due for a theatrical release, arriving in the US this weekend and in the UK from 4 September — with preview screenings this weekend.
First reviews have started to appear, with the first from a US outlet declaring it to be a “generic” movie that looks as if it was made in a different era.