The long, long, long-awaited New Mutants has been so deeply entrenched in mystery that its road to the box office might actually be more interesting than the film itself. Of course, that could be speculation of the highest order: As you may already know, Disney didn’t allow critics to screen the movie prior to its inexplicable theatrical release (hence why The A.V. Club won’t be reviewing it), so we have no idea what the final product looks like. But based on a reported piece from Vulture, it might have taken some real work to save the horror-laced X-Men film from being a total mess.
In a report by Vulture’s Chris Lee titled “What Happened to The New Mutants?”, the writer traces the famously tumultuous path of the much-delayed film. Some details conform with the roadblocks you’d naturally expect from a Disney film that could have earned an R-rating, including dissatisfaction from the studio, rewrites, and a near-call to scrap the film altogether and start from the beginning. Some of the more perplexing revelations include ideas that thankfully didn’t come into fruition, like the version of Storm that director and co-writer Josh Boone and his co-writer, Knate Lee, had envisioned in the first script. Vulture writes:
...some outside observers felt Boone and Lee’s initial script violated viewers’ expectations for beloved X-Men characters such as Storm, a powerful mutant capable of psychically controlling the weather, who turned up as a kind of prison warden in early versions of Mutants. “She was their sadistic jailer,” says one source. “It felt like the kids were being tortured. If the X-Men are holding [the young mutants] there, it can’t feel different from the mental furniture that audiences bring into the theater knowing that the X-Men are good guys. Storm like that made no sense.”
Sources also told Vulture that number of uncredited screenwriters were allegedly called in to “punch up” the characters and increase the scare factor, including Boone’s fellow Fault In Our Stars alumni Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Conjuring’s Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, Robocop’s Joshua Zetumer, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s Seth Grahame-Smith. While that’s not exactly an unheard of phenomenon—plenty of creators like Patton Oswalt and the late Carrie Fisher have assisted with punching up or doctoring scripts—sources note that changes were met with notable push-back from Boone which, again, could account for the major delays.
The New Mutants is now in theaters, if you truly feel like risking it.