EXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal with The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone to co-write and direct The New Mutants, a standalone spinoff that expands its X-Men movie universe. The series, already part of the X-Men Comics universe, introduces a new crop of mutant characters born with special powers. Boone will co-write with Knate Gwaltney. Simon Kinberg will produce with Lauren Shuler Donner.

josh booneIt is not surprising that the studio would want Boone to grow into bigger things. He came out of nowhere to direct The Fault In Our Stars, an adaptation of the John Green novel The Fault In Our Stars. The book had a rabid youthful fan base, but Boone showed a strong feel in bringing youthful pathos to the screen, and while Shailene Woodley was already an emerging star, both Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff broke through as new stars on that film. The result was a $12 million budget Fox 2000 film that grossed $307 million worldwide. Boone became a hot director right away off that success, and among the projects he has been linked to are adaptations of the Stephen King novels The Stand and Lisey’s Story. He’s also been mentioned as one of the directors Marvel and Sony have been sweet on for the live action Spider-Man franchise reboot. Next up for him is The Vampire Chronicles at Universal, a reboot based on the Anne Rice novels that were turned into Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.  The Stand would go after, so The New Mutants is a couple years away.

Said Kinberg of the X-Men expansion with Boone: “We’re so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe, and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters.”

Fox has done well mining its X-Men franchise. Ryan Reynolds is playing Deadpool with Tim Miller directing, and Bryan Singer is directing X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016. James Mangold and Hugh Jackman are also doing another Wolverine installment with Hugh Jackman. Behind those is Gambit, a movie that has Channing Tatum attached to star. Those are the current X-Men priorities but it is proactive of Fox to keep new films in the pipeline and to re-engage Boone, who’s repped by CAA and attorney Gregory Slewett. Gwaltney is also CAA.