Josh Boone, the director of The New Mutants, has confirmed that his long-delayed X-Men spin-off features a “beautiful love story” between two of its female characters.
The same-sex relationship is between Maisie Williams’ Rahne Sinclair and Blu Hunt’s Danielle Moonstar, Boone told Entertainment Weekly, saying "it’s sort of the spine and focus of some of the character-driven stuff in the film."
Game of Thrones star Williams adds that it’s understated and doesn’t feel like “a gimmick”.
“It's not really a story about these two characters understanding their sexuality," she explains. "It’s not centred around that and they don’t really necessarily label it. No one else does either and no one really questions it."
The film, originally slated for release in April 2018, sees a group of young mutants being held at a secret facility against their will as they come to term with their superhuman abilities. It’s loosely inspired by a New Mutants comic arc from the mid-1980s known as “Demon Bear”, which saw the dreams of Danielle Moonstar being haunted by a demonic bear.
Moonstar formed a closed bond with Rahne Sinclair while receiving treatment in a hospital in the popular Marvel Comics run, and Maisie Williams says The New Mutants builds upon that storyline.
"Rahne and Dani have a telepathic connection in the comics, and so we just wanted to extend that in the film and put that within reality," Williams explained to EW.
"If they really could understand each other on that level, then you’d probably end up falling in love with that person."
Marvel Studios’ upcoming superhero film The Eternals will mark the first same-sex relationship in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but other recent nods towards LGBTQ+ representation in blockbuster cinema has largely fallen short of being anything meaningful.
The much-hyped “exclusively gay moment” in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast remake ended up being a ‘blink and you’ll miss it moment’, as did similar scenes in Star Trek Beyond and The Rise of Skywalker.
Initially pushed from its 2018 release date to February 2019, the film got caught up in the middle of Disney’s protracted acquisition of 20th Century Fox which finally completed in 2019. There were reports that there had been extensive reshoots on the film, but director Boone recently clarified that no reshoots had taken place since the merger, and would be released as initially intended.
Released under Disney’s Twentieth Century Studios banner, The New Mutants will finally arrive in UK cinemas on 8 April. Watch a trailer below.