It's been a long road from the end of filming to the premiere of The New Mutants. Production wrapped way back in 2017, when Charlie Heaton was still a fresh face from the first season of Stranger Things and Maisie Williams' Game of Thrones was still 10 episodes a season. Much has changed since then. For instance, Anya Taylor-Joy is now a marquee name in the cast, having rocked Emma, one of the last films to hit theaters pre-pandemic. But with so much talent, fans are curious, will there be a New Mutants sequel? Oh, my sweet summer child, let me sit you down and explain why that's extremely unlikely.
Warning: Spoilers for The New Mutants follow. New Mutants opens with the arrival of Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) at a hospital run by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga). There, she meets four other mutant teens whose gifts manifested recently: Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton), Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), and Bobby da Costa (Henry Zaga). The five believe Reyes is working with Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, helping them gain control of their powers to become X-Men.
But Dani discovers they have been duped. The Essex Corporation, who hired Reyes, has deemed all five kids too dangerous to live. Dani, who can make someone relive their greatest fear over and over until they die from shock, is first on the list for disposal. Dani's own "greatest fear" manifests as a "demon bear," and when she realizes the truth, the bear kills Dr. Reyes.
Dani then falls into a coma, leaving the other mutants to take down the bear, each in turn proving them can control their abilities. But the bear will not be defeated. That's when Rahne realizes only Dani can conquer her greatest fear. They awaken Dani, and she puts the bear to sleep, symbolizing she too has taken control of her gift. As the sun rises, the five young mutants decide they no longer need to join the X-Men, forming their own team to fight evil. They call themselves "The New Mutants."
With an ending like that, fans might think this was the beginning of the story. Unfortunately, it is not. The film doesn't even have a mid- or post-credits scene, since the one planned would have introduced Mr. Sinister, the team's next nemesis.
The New Mutants was initially supposed to represent the beginning of a new, younger franchise, made up of up-and-coming teen actors. But before it could be released, Fox was bought out by Disney. This merger transferred ownership of the X-Men franchise from Fox to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that change, the MCU will likely want to recast and reboot the X-Men to bring the characters in line with the current Avengers franchise universe. (Deadpool is the only character who may transfer unscathed simply because no one could imagine replacing Ryan Reynolds in the role.)
That means an end to the Fox big-screen films, turning The New Mutants from the beginning of something new to "the final chapter." Some fans are glad of it; many of the Fox X-Men films have been plagued by bad reviews and an inability to think beyond well-known characters.
But New Mutants, like Logan before it, was proof the studio was improving. Hunt, Taylor-Joy, and Williams notably all give performances that prove Fox's decision to lock them into X-Men contracts was a savvy move. Hopefully, Disney will be smart and find ways to keep these three young actors — if not the whole cast — as part of the MCU, even if it means recasting them in new roles.