Coming in summer 2019
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the 11th instalment of the X-Men movie franchise and the fourth in the second generation of films that began with First Class back in 2011.
Ahead of its release in cinemas this summer, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming comic book blockbuster.
When is it out?
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be released in both the UK and US on June 7.
The film was originally scheduled for November 2018, being pushed back to February 2019 before ultimately landing on a summer due date.
Writer/director Simon Kinberg explained that the delay was due to extra work being needed on the movie, specifically reshoots. He told Collider: “Mostly we focused on the third act, both emotionally and in terms of the physical scale and the action of the third act that we adjusted. And then there were certain things in the first two acts of the movie – very few things, but to set up those changes in the third act we had to adjust some things in the first two acts so that that all was fluid and felt consistent.”
“It was a date, February 14th, that we initially liked for the movie but when we realized that we weren’t gonna have the visual effects ready to release it globally the way we wanted to… We looked at that date versus the February 14th date, the studio did and we did, we felt like that June date was a bigger opportunity for us globally.”
Who’s in it?
Dark Phoenix will see many key X-Men cast members returning, including James McAvoy as Professor X, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Sophie Turner as Phoenix (who, as the title suggests, will play a more central role this time), Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, Evan Peters as Quicksilver and Olivia Munn as Psylocke.
There will be some new faces too, with Kota Eberhardt and Andrew Stehlin portraying Selene and Red Lotus respectively. Lamar Johnson and Daniel Cudmore are signed on for yet-unknown roles. Cudmore previously played Colossus in the X-Men franchise, with confusion over whether he will take on a new role or not for Dark Phoenix.
Jessica Chastain has been confirmed for a mystery role too. Exact details of her character are currently being kept under wraps (with fans speculating about her name for months), but we do know that she’ll play a villain who has been described as “an otherworldly shapeshifter who comes into contact with Phoenix.”
Fans initially thought that Chastain would play Lilandra, the Empress of the Shi’ar Empire who is central to the Dark Phoenix Saga, but the star dismissed those claims. Reports have since stated that Chastain will portray a character called Smith, with suggestions that the role could be a gender-swapped version of Mastermind, the telepathic supervillain. There’s also a character in the X-Men comics called Tabitha Smith – perhaps she could be an influence on Chastain’s role as well?
Dark Phoenix will be the directorial debut of British-born, American-raised writer Simon Kinberg.
Having worked as a writer on xXx: State of the Union, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, 2009’s Sherlock Holmes and Fantastic Four, Kinberg has been involved with the X-Men franchise since 2006, serving as a writer for X-Men: The Last Stand, before writing and producing 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
What’s the plot?
Marvel Comic fans will already know a great deal about what to expect in Dark Phoenix, which will use the classic ‘Dark Phoenix Saga’ comic series, published in 1980, as its source material. 2006’s critically-panned X-Men: The Last Stand was also loosely based around the ‘Dark Phoenix Saga’.
An official synopsis reads: “In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain.”
“With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite – not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.”
The film will jump ahead to the 1990s, as confirmed by Kinberg, which makes sense seeing as First Class was set in 1962, Days of Future Past in 1973 and Apocalypse in 1983.
Has a trailer been released?
A trailer was released in September 2018, giving us a first glimpse of Chastain’s character, a look at Phoenix’s childhood and attempts to control her dark impulses, as well as showing the mutants in a spaceship and at a funeral. It also followed through on initial promises that the film would have a much darker tone.
Will there be a sequel?
Back in 2017, Olivia Munn said that the movie was a “two-parter”, although it’s not known whether she meant that Dark Phoenix was split into two parts within it or whether it would spawn a direct sequel.
Speaking to Cinepop in December 2018, Kinberg said that he saw Dark Phoenix as the start of a new chapter.
“I see it as taking the franchise in a different direction tonally,” he said. “And that doesn’t mean that the next one will have the same tone, it just means that the next one can have a different tone. I think for many years, the X-Men, Bryan [Singer] really transformed the superhero genre in 2000 or 2001 when the first one came out. That’s almost 20 years ago. […] But that was 20 years ago and I think, I really felt like it time to really change the look, the feel, the tone, the vibe of these movies. And that doesn’t mean this is the one going forward, it just means that if it’s me or whoever directs the next one, you can make it different, and you have to make it different.”
“I want it to go in a different direction, very much,” she said. “I think we’ve played that out and it needs to evolve. I don’t know. There are lots of stories. There are some great stories to do, especially with Cable and with X-Force. I’d love to see it. I really would. But, I don’t know.”