Newly surfaced photos from X-Men spinoff The New Mutants reveal the super-powered Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt) coming face to face with the nightmarish Demon Bear. In the Marvel Comics created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, the Demon Bear haunted the dreams of Moonstar, a.k.a. the illusion-casting mutant known as Mirage. Dani is one of five teenaged mutants — along with Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Sunspot (Henry Zaga), Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), and Illyana, a.k.a. Magik — grappling with their newly discovered powers while held in a secret facility, where they're under the watchful eye of Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga).
In 2016, director Josh Boone revealed he pitched New Mutants to 20th Century Fox — since acquired by Disney — with The Demon Bear Saga, a key storyline from Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz. Signaling a shift into darker and more mature storytelling, the storyline launched with 1984's New Mutants #18, titled "Death-Hunt," where the group of teens were menaced by the demonic creature amid a snowstorm.
"After I made The Fault in Our Stars, we made Fox a comic book. It walked them through a trilogy of New Mutant films that would build on each other," Boone told Creative Screenwriting. "We used this program called Comic Life, and took all the images we had loved from the series and strung them together to show them the movie we wanted to do."
Boone brought the pitch to X-Men franchise producer Simon Kinberg, who "really liked it." In a January interview, Boone said he and co-writer Knate Lee "just knew we always wanted to do the Demon Bear story."
"We've changed stuff, we've really taken the characters we love from the comics and put them into our version of the movie," Boone noted, adding, "If you just did it, it'd just be another X-Men movie."
The New Mutants was once set for an April 13, 2018 release, before being shifted to February 2019 to avoid Fox's own Deadpool 2. The horror-tinged New Mutants was delayed again to August 2019 before being bumped back to April 3, 2020, following Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox, who produced the long-running X-Men franchise. In March, the film was pulled from Disney's schedule and was left without a release date as theaters around the globe began to shutter amid the coronavirus crisis.