‘Fault In Our Stars’ director set to expand Fox’s universe with ‘New Mutants’

So confession time: of all of the books Marvel has ever published about any of the characters in the X-Men universe, “The New Mutants” remains my very favorite.

Part of that was timing. I was 13 when the series began publication, and I was already a fan of the X-Men. My best friend at the time was a comic nerd the way I was a movie nerd, and he knew my tastes well enough that when the book was about to launch, he urged me to make sure it was on my pull list. It blows my mind that Chris Claremont was basically forced to create the series under duress. From the moment the book launched, I was all aboard for the story of a group of kids who were recruited to attend Xavier's school. At that point, the original X-Men were all adults, and this was a chance for Marvel to prep the next generation of characters.

Bob McLeod was the first artist on the book, and then Sal Buscema replaced him for a stretch, with Bill Sienkiewicz arriving not long after that. It was the Claremont/Sienkiewicz run of issues where “New Mutants” became one of my favorite comics of all time. Warlock, an extraterrestrial who ended up as part of the team, was one of my favorite characters, and the Sienkiewicz art made it feel like something completely different than any other comic at the time.

Josh Boone made a lot of money for Fox with “The Fault In Our Stars,” so it makes perfect sense that the studio wants to keep him close. He's a busy filmmaker these days, and his version of “The Stand” sounds like a hugely ambitious project in its own right. Right now, according to Deadline, Boone is set to write the script with Knate Gwaltney, and Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler-Donner will produce. One of the things that makes Boone the right fit for this is because he's very comfortable directing young actors in big emotional material. At its best, “The New Mutants” pulls off that mix of teen melodrama and superhero action, and Boone seems like he'd be able to make it feel like a natural mix.

He's certainly using his clout to attach himself to some promising material. Universal wants to try to wrangle Anne Rice's “The Vampire Chronicles” onto the screen in a more focused and franchise-minded way, and he's the man in charge, and that's at least as ambitious as “The Stand.” He's not shy about taking on big challenges, evidently, and “The New Mutants” is an interesting opportunity, a chance to define what the next era of mutantdom will look like at Fox.

Whatever Boone does next, it's clear that studios see him as someone they can trust with these big properties. Let's see if he can justify that faith with the actual movies.