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Audiences have been waiting a long time to see The New Mutants, and it’s finally here! (Not everywhere but it’s playing in actual theaters, I swear!) It's been a long road for the X-Men spinoff, most often characterized by its wild amount of delays and behind-the-scenes changes amidst the Fox franchise handing the mutant keys over to Disney. Paired with the release of the film Friday, the comic’s co-creator shared his thoughts about Josh Boone’s superhero film, and he was majorly disappointed.
Bob McLeod initially took to his Facebook account to share his perspective on The New Mutants, a title he created with Chris Claremont in the ‘80s. The artist shared that he was at first “excited” to hear about the movie and loved the horror aspect being brought to the film. But once Josh Boone started to make changes to character’s looks, including ditching Dani Moonstar’s braids, Rahne Sinclair’s spiky red hair and the “white-washing” of Roberto da Costa. He went on to say director Josh Boone “erased” everything he contributed to his character designs. And to further put salt on his wounds, he learned his name is spelled incorrectly in the credits.
One day after his comments, Bob McLeod is pulling back a little bit after they quickly went viral. In his words on Twitter:
I'm a bit overwhelmed by the explosive news coverage my comments yesterday about The New Mutants movie received. For the record, I did not say it was a bad film. I haven't even seen it, and I think it looks like great fun, actually. I was merely expressing my disappointment that the characters didn't have the signature attributes I gave them when I created their images. Is it so surprising that would bother me? Particularly when the one character I didn't create, Magik, looks so spot on like the comics?
McLeod is clearing the air, admitting he has not yet seen the movie and cannot judge the quality. However, he did want to express his dissatisfaction with how the characters were adapted to the screen. Josh Boone has been under fire for white-washing a number of characters in the film, including Henry Zaga’s Sunspot, who is played by a Brazilian actor. However, in the comics he is a biracial character of Afro-Brazilian descent and dark-skinned. McLeod expanded on this point too:
And Henry Zaga not being dark-skinned like my Sunspot had already been an issue all over the news, so that wasn't anything new, although it is a very troubling issue. I have nothing against Henry Zaga as a person or an actor. I've never seen him act. I feel sorry for Zaga that he's been hurt by something that is not at all his fault.
For context, here is Sunspot’s look in the comics next to The New Mutants actor, Henry Zaga:
It’s certainly an important issue to discuss, but Bob McLeod hopes it won’t be at the expense of Henry Zaga. The New Mutants co-creator closed out his comments by getting to the root of his disappointment here:
I also totally understand that Josh Boone is a fan of Bill Sienkiewicz's art on the comic, not mine, and the movie is based on his Demon Bear storyline, and that's great. I'm also a big fan of Bill's art. The main thing that upset me was the misspelling of my name in the credits, which I've since learned has happened many times to many creators. I'll get over it. Everyone needs to calm down.
It certainly doesn’t help that Josh Boone has been sitting on this movie since it wrapped in 2017, giving the filmmakers ample time to spell-check its names. The new release certainly has roots in Bob McLeod’s work, though as he notes the movie is based on the 1990 Demon Bear Saga, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz. Overall, he has gripes with the movie but asks “explosive” fans to calm down.