Josh Boone, director of the latest X-Men superhero spinoff The New Mutants, highlighted the film’s same-sex relationship between two young superheroes: Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane (played by Game of Thrones Maisie Williams) and Danielle Moonstar/Psyche (TV actress Blu Hunt).
The relationship will mark the second explicit same-sex relationship to be shown in a Marvel film, the first being the relationship between Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio in the 2018 action comedy Deadpool 2.
The New Mutants, which came out on Thursday, August 26, has a young adult “vibe” different from the other X-Men films. It combines horror elements with subplots about young adults overcoming their deepest fears to realize their hidden “mutant” superpowers. The film has been called a “Stephen King meets John Hughes”-style film and its setting compared to “a Breakfast Club detention crossed with a Once Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest institution.”
In the film, Moonstar wakes up in a strange, deserted institution with vague memories of her Native American reservation being destroyed by a tornado and roaring flames. At the institution, a kind but questionable Dr. Cecilia Reyes introduces Moonstar to several other teens with dark powers including Sinclair.
Sinclair was raised in a strict religious community. The community members branded her, and her resulting fear and anger manifested into a dark alter ego. While at the institution, Moonstar and Sinclair develop a relationship as they begin to realize the building’s sinister purpose.
“People ask me what are you excited to see, and yes, [there’s] all the cool visual effects and the big fights at the end and all that,” Bonne said in a recent interview. “But just seeing these two girls under the dome looking up is really cool to see in a movie. So I’m just excited to see it as much as the action.”
Interestingly, the two female characters aren’t actually girlfriends in the comic books — they just have a deep friendship. But Williams said in a Comic Con panel that it’s important for viewers to see a female same-sex relationship onscreen anyway.
“In the typically quite masculine world of superheroes, it was just lovely to see these two fragile women who just protect one another and bring light out in each other,” Williams said. “At the heart of it, it’s just this really lovely love story. It just brings it back to reality… I’m glad that the fans are so excited for it.”
Fox chairman and CEO Stacey Snider said of the film, “[It’s] a haunted-house movie with a bunch of hormonal teenagers. We haven’t seen a superhero movie whose genre is more like The Shining than ‘we’re teenagers let’s save the world.'”