By now, several months into a pandemic that has shut down production and pushed back the release of more movies and TV shows than any of us can or should be able to remember off the tops of our heads, we’ve all become a little numb to the concept of delays. They’ve gone from being a once-in-a-blue-moon oddity to a normal part of pop culture. It no longer feels weird or ominous or even like a punchline.
But that wasn’t always the case. In the distant, halcyon past a movie getting bumped to a new release date could spark all sorts of speculation, even elevate the movie itself to a sort of meme status amongst fans–and no movie did that better or with more panache than Fox’s New Mutants, a movie that is still not out yet, here in 2020, some three years after it’s intended premiere. To make matters even more hilarious, Fox (or, well, Disney now, who, in the intervening years, acquired the 20th Century studio) has stubbornly refused to even acknowledge the possibility that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong for the New Mutants. There’s even going to be a Comic-Con At Home panel for the movie where, if there’s any justice in the world, we’ll finally be able to stop pretending it’s ever going to hit theaters and get a date for its streaming debut.
Though it’s probably best not to get our hopes up, all things considered. After all, the long and horrible journey New Mutants has been on since that first trailer released is arguably more memorable than the trailer itself at this point. So, with that in mind, let’s chart out the New Mutants timeline from beginning to (probable) end.
July 17, 2017 – Principal photography began on the project, most of which taking place in Boston’s historic, and historically haunted, Medfield State Hospital. Spooky! Maybe the process of filming at that location cursed production from the start and we’re just seeing the fallout, Poltergeist-style. Who knows?
September 16, 2017 – Filming wraps, according to director Josh Boone on instagram.
October 13, 2017 – The first trailer for the movie is released, touting an April 13, 2018 release date..
January 11, 2018 – The movie is officially pushed back from its original release date (April 13, 2018) to February 22, 2019. The stated reason for the move was to avoid conflict with Deadpool 2.
April 13, 2018 – The first release date comes and goes with no movie to show for it.
January, 2019 – The second delay shifts release to a third date, from February 22 to August 2, 2019.
February 22, 2019 – A second release date is missed.
March, 2019 – Disney acquires 20th Century Fox. The status of any planned reshoots remains completely unknown or speculatory at best. A fourth release date is set: April 3, 2020. Cast members get frustrated.
August 2, 2019 – The third try isn’t the charm as yet another release date is missed.
January, 2020 – A second trailer is released. The April release date appears to be holding firm.
March, 2020 – Boone comes forward to set the record straight, claiming no reshoots ever happened. Meanwhile, the Coronavirus pandemic forces Disney to completely shift its 2020 release schedule.
April 3, 2020 – Nope, it didn’t show up here either. That’s a fourth release date gone by and still no movie.
May, 2020 – The fifth release date is set for August 28, 2020.
July 16, 2020 – The Comic-Con At Home panel for the movie is announced along with a new trailer. The panel is scheduled for July 23 at 2PM PST/5PM EST.
August 28, 2020 – Will it actually release this time? Will it be a streaming exclusive? Does this movie even exist?
The biggest question now is whether or not Disney will try and continue to push for an actual theatrical release, or if the movie will drop as a streaming exclusive, similar to other long-delayed projects like Artemis Fowl, which skipped theaters for Disney+ earlier this year. All things considered, the pandemic-related shutdowns offer the perfect excuse for Disney to put this shambling mess out of its misery on something like Hulu (it’s probably too scary to fit with the Disney+ brand, after all) but the likelihood of that happening is impossible to determine. If a global pandemic isn’t enough to force The New Mutants from out of the shadows and onto our TVs, we should probably start to accept that nothing is or will be.
Maybe The New Mutants will go down in history as a series of ever shifting release dates and hastily recut trailers that continue to be trodden out Weekend At Bernies style whenever Disney needs to drum up conversation. Honestly, that might be kind of fun.
You can tune into the New Mutants Comic-Con At Home panel on July 23 at 5PM EST, 2PM PST.