Those hoping that The New Mutants would ignore the “Singerverse” of Fox’s X-Men might be disappointed to learn that the movie will still reference those characters. We won’t actually see any cameos, and it’s not said when the movie is set, but it’s still in that same universe. Meaning those hoping for it to be easily added to the MCU might be disappointed.
Director Josh Boone explained to Slashfilm how the movie originally was going to be set in the 80s with X-Men: Apocalypse, but then a new studio head told him they didn’t want anymore X-Men movies set in the past:
…as if that was the reason that Apocalypse was bad. [laughs] So we were put in the position where we kind of rewrote it to be set now in a nebulous [point in time], because nobody knew how the movies had turned out. Dark Phoenix wasn’t out yet. Yeah, it’s there – they talk about Professor X and those things, but it doesn’t have cameos from anyone or anything like that.
A few months ago there was a report circling among bloggers about a test screening for The New Mutants that was held not long after the flop of Dark Phoenix that featured a cut of the movie that was rumored to not reference the Singerverse and that the kids in the movie didn’t even know what Mutants were. Based on Boone’s comments about Professor X, it’s likely the X-Men universe references were restored for the final release.