New Mutants Co-Creator Bob McLeod Wasn't A Huge Fan Of The Movie's Horror Approach [Exclusive]

For years, director Josh Boone's "The New Mutants" was the Schrödinger's cat of comic book movies. It finished shooting in September 2017 and was originally going to come out in April 2018. Then it got delayed to undergo heavy reshoots. Then Disney acquired 20th Century Fox's media assets, and the reshoots were canceled. Then "The New Mutants" got delayed again. Then the pandemic happened, and it got pushed back once more. (If you think it's tedious to read about, it was even worse to live through.)

Finally, Disney dumped the film in theaters in August 2020, more or less dooming it to fail financially at a time when many venues were still on lockdown. Reactions were fairly tepid, too. As our critic wrote in his review for /Film, "The New Mutants" plays out like a cross between "The Breakfast Club" and "Girl, Interrupted," only with superheroes and more fantasy-horror elements, and "works far better as a plucky film with significantly lowered expectations."

Our own Ryan Scott recently got a chance to pick "The New Mutants" comic book co-creator Bob McLeod's brain about the film adaptation at Phoenix Fan Fusion, and he was similarly lukewarm on the movie's treatment of its source material:

"I mean, outside of the comic fans, the general public didn't know who the New Mutants were. So I really think they should have done an origin story of... Like, the beginning of the graphic novel, I thought was great, the way [New Mutants co-creator] Chris [Claremont] introduced each one of the characters. I think that could have been a good movie, starting the same way we did. But just some kind of more of an origin, introducing them to the public."

Horror wasn't 'the best way to go'

The horror aspect was a key part of the marketing for "The New Mutants." Its trailers and posters played up the film's classic horror influences, most notably the iconography of "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Yet, the actual movie has far more success channeling "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the way it blends supernatural horror with coming-of-age themes and teen drama. The film's heroes even watch an episode of "Buffy" at one point, lest anyone assume the parallels were accidental (call it the "Stranger Things" approach to wearing your inspirations on your sleeve).

Bob McLeod didn't hesitate to criticize the film upon its theatrical release, either, including its horror aspects. He repeated the horror critique to Ryan, saying:

"I mean, the horror slant is interesting. Because maybe some horror fans would watch it that wouldn't normally otherwise, maybe bring some new fans in. That's fine. I wasn't totally against that. I didn't think it was the best way to go, but I was just happy that they were making a movie of something I had something to do with, and maybe I would see a little money.

"But you can look. I don't see anything that I contributed to the book in the movie, except maybe more girls on the team. I mean, none of the characters look the way I designed them to look. And then again, Magik, who I had nothing to do with, looks spot on, like she does in the comics. You know? So that's basically what I had against the movie."

"The New Mutants" (now with McLeod's name spelled correctly in the end credits) is available for streaming on multiple platforms.