Much buzz has been made over “The Eternals” featuring the first openly gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but “The New Mutants” director and co-writer Josh Boone says his upcoming tentpole will be the first to feature groundbreaking queer representation in a comic book movie. Boone tells Entertainment Weekly that “The New Mutants” includes a gay love story between the characters Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams) and Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt). These characters are two of the five mutants that make up the film’s title, which means “New Mutants” is set to be the rare comic book that prioritizes an LGBTQ+ narrative. Boone says the gay love story is “sort of the spine and focus of some of the character-driven stuff in the film.”
Maisie Williams tells Entertainment Weekly the gay love story is an extension of the comic book, where Rahne and Danielle are linked by a telepathic connection. The “Game of Thrones” veteran explains, “We just wanted to extend that in the film and put that within reality. If they really could understand each other on that level, then you’d probably end up falling in love with that person.” Williams adds references to the love story are “not something that is spoken about too much in the film,” which the actress views as a positive since the storyline is not a “gimmick.”
“It’s not really a story about these two characters understanding their sexuality,” Williams says. “It’s not centered around that and they don’t really necessarily label it. No one else does either and no one really questions it.”
Should “The New Mutants” feature a prominent gay love story without drawing attention much attention to it, the film will be a welcome reprieve from the likes of Disney releases “Beauty and the Beast,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” all of which featured gay characters and/or moments on the periphery of the narrative. Even the most recent Pixar release “Onward” features the animated studio’s first openly gay character but only in one scene.
Boone says he was inspired to centralize a gay love story in “The New Mutants” because of his love of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (he says the show handled gay character Willow “spectacularly”) and his own upbringing. Boone wrote the film with childhood friend Knate Lee. The two grew up in the ultra-conservative Bible Belt of Virginia. Boone says, “I remember watching ‘My Own Private Idaho’ when I was 11 or 12 and being like, ‘Maybe the people at church are wrong about gay people.’ I always felt a bit like an outsider. I’ve certainly had my head put in the toilet when I was a kid at school, had bullies chase us around, had oppressive things that I guess just made me more sensitive to things like that. So, we like to try to push anything [like Rahne and Dani] forward as much as possible.”
“The New Mutants” is opening in theaters nationwide April 3 from Disney.