Late last night, a false rumor hit the internet regarding ‘Game of Thrones’’s pint-sized heroine Maisie Williams joining the cast of a 20th Century Fox X-Men spin-off film. People went absolutely nuts, lighting up Reddit with follow-up rumors that Anya Taylor-Joy, the angel-faced lead in this year’s horror hit The Witch had been cast as teen mutant Magik. Nerdist responded early this morning by contacting the studio and confirming that all of the exciting rumors flying around were, devastatingly, unfounded.
What sets this false rumor apart from others? Well, it made clear that consumers are still enthused about younger, more lively mutants. Now that the X-Men franchise is coming to a close with Apocalypse and Wolverine 3, audiences are hungry for an extended mutant universe. Casting Hollywood’s It-Kids seems a deft way to cash in on that frenzy, and fewer teens have generated more buzz than Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy. Let’s take a look at who the “new mutants” are, according to the comics — you know, just in case someone in Hollywood notices the internet’s overnight bonanza and decides to throw cash at a film adaptation after all. A film is reportedly in development, though it hasn’t actually cast any big names yet.
The first team of superheroes called The New Mutants debuted in 1982, in appearance written and designed by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod. From 1983 to 1991, The New Mutants had a successful solo comic book run, in which Deadpool appeared frequently. In 2003, and again in 2009, Marvel rebooted the franchise with new characters. Here are some of our favorites, each of whom being most likely to appear in an upcoming film adaptation.
Abilities: Wolfsbane can transform herself into a wolf-like humanoid while maintaining all of her human intellect and consciousness. She has a wolf’s heightened sense of smell, taste and sound, and she can turn herself, under duress, into a convincing red wolf. While in her wolf forms, she has regenerative abilities.
Background: Rahne (pronounced Rain) is a young Scottish girl who allies herself with several mutant groups after discovering she is a quasi-werewolf.
Dream casting: Maisie Williams, obviously! This young mutant has a fiery temper, and we’ve already seen Williams emote emotional and physical stress in Game of Thrones. She could also easily pull off the accent.
Abilities: Magik can teleport through time and space by tapping into an alternate dimension the comics call “Limbo”. Later in her career as a superhero, she gained the ability to make otherworldly creatures appear
Background: Illyana Rasputin is the younger sister of Russian mutant Colossus, who appeared in this year’s Deadpool film. In the comics, she was kidnapped and transported to the United States as a child, and her powers were used as a weapon until she was rescued by the X-Men.
Dream casting: Yes, Anya Taylor-Joy would do very well in the role, but only in the alive, frenetic form we saw her in, at the end of The Witch. The role could also go to Maika Monroe or Elle Fanning.
Abilities: Storm controls the weather, man. You all know this. She’s markedly one of the most powerful mutants in the universe, and is sometimes entwined with magic, depending on the comics in which she appears. The Storm we’ll meet in X-Men: Apocalypse is a gifted pickpocket and thief, as well.
Background: Ororo Munroe has a plethora of backstories. Sometimes she ends up marrying Black Panther, and in other comics she’s kidnapped at Asgard by a horny Loki. When associated with the New Mutants, she appears in their comics in order to aid them against the Shadow King, Amahl Farouk.
Dream casting: Halle Berry did a fine job as the electric mutant lady, but we’re optimistic about Alexandra Shipp. That silver mohawk is bomb, right?
Abilities: Cannonball can generate and conduct thermo-chemical energy from his body, which means he’s a rare mutant who possesses the ability to fly. He can also create fiery blast shields and absorb blows and redirect them at enemies.
Background: Sam Guthrie is a blond boy from Kentucky, the son of a coal miner and an earnest fan of science fiction comics. I mean, aren’t we all? Sam is one of the natural leaders in the New Mutants, and he considers Sunspot (more on him next) his best friend.
Dream casting: Innocent, aw shucks attitude? All-American look and worldview? Might we suggest one of Me, Earl and the Dying Girl’s break-out stars: Thomas Mann?
Abilities: Sunspot can manipulate and focus solar energy. His powered up mutant form, which he can summon at will, makes him look like a human-shaped black hole, devoid of all light. In some comics, he’s also telepathic.
Background: Roberto “Bobby” da Costa is an impulsive Brazilian teenager who actually appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past. He has a long history of being injected with drugs against his will, abandoned by his wealthy family and kidnapped. When he allies himself with The New Mutants, Bobby is one of the characters who combats Legion, another mutant whose show is in development now.
Dream casting: Mexican dreamboat Adan Canto was good and all, but a New Mutants film would require the Brazilian actor to be played by a teenager. Might we suggest Ryan Guzman from the Step Up films?
Mirage, aka Psyche
Abilities: In addition to being telepathic, Mirage is a gifted archer, equestrian, swimmer and sharp-shooter.
Background: Dani Moonstar is a Cheyenne mutant from Boulder, CO who spend her childhood plagued by horrific nightmares. After she realizes her mutant powers gave her the ability to control them, she grows up to join the New Mutants and develop both her telepathy and ability to talk to animals.
Dream casting: What’s Tanaya Beatty from Twilight: New Moon up to?
Abilities: Karma can control the minds of humans and animals. She is familiar with tactical warfare, emergency first aid, and in some comics is trained in medieval weaponry due to time she spends on Asgard.
Background: Xi’an Coy Manh is a Vietnamese teenager whose father exposed her to Viet Cong warfare when she was only a child. After moving to New York City, Xi’an was manipulated for her abilities until the Fantastic Four stepped in. Because of her abilities and unfortunate understanding of war, Karma is a natural leader for the young mutants.
Dream casting: Maggie Q from Live Free or Die Hard, Divergent and Nikita could pull this one off.
Abilities: Cypher can read and comprehend any language, whether written, verbal or dead/ancient. He’s also a gifted hacker, programmer and prolific code-writer.
Background: Doug Ramsey is an American teenage gamer, a nerd and a childhood friend of mutant Kitty Pryde’s. He’s super close with Warlock, who we’ll describe in a bit.
Casting: We know from Bates Motel that Freddie Highmore can do manic and unnerving as well as earnest and likable.
Abilities: Magma has geothermal powers which allows her to absorb and control liquid magma. More powerfully, she can manipulate tectonic plates and cause earthquakes.
Background: Alison Crestmere is a blonde, beautiful teenager from the fictional country of Nova. She’s an ancient, ageless being who joins the New Mutants at Professor Xavier’s urging.
Casting: Now this is a job for either Maika Monroe or Saoirse Ronan.
Abilities: Warlock is arguably the most well-designed superhero in comic book history. The guy is fascinating; he’s a cybernetic alien capable of shifting his shape, and is constantly in awe of human society.
Background: A young member of the Technarchy, a race of mechanical organisms, is considered a mutant among his people for sympathizing with the living creatures he needs to feed upon, or drain the “lifeglow” out of.
Dream casting: Since his human form doesn’t need to be teenage, we believe David Wain’s characteristicly wild and intelligent voice could bring Warlock to life.