Finally the phoenix will rise, in a storyline that X-Men fans have been waiting years for.
Simon Kinberg once tried to tell the iconic story of Jean Grey, in his script for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, however, pressure from the studio squashed this storyline into a reduced subplot – and so, in this, his directorial debut, Kinberg felt in his gut that he had to tell the story which once again Bryan Singer, who directed the previous two sequels, had ignored.
“[The film] was so clear in my head, emotionally and visually, that it would have killed me to hand this to somebody else to direct,” Kinberg revealed.
Set roughly ten years after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix opens in 1992 (which means that there’s about seven years between James McAvoy, Professor X and Patrick Stewart) with the X-Men, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) unexpectedly seen as national heroes. Though Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) ego is beginning to put the team at risk, and he’s pushing the X-Men into more extreme situations – and after being dispatched to space for a rescue mission, a solar flare hits the jet and a surge of energy brings a malevolent force forth within Jean (Sophie Turner) – the Phoenix.
Based in part on Chris Claremont’s Phoenix comic, Dark Phoenix is set to be the biggest X-Men film to-date, and is also said to be the most emotional, with a massive twist halfway through which will change the course of the franchise irrevocably.
“This is probably the most emotional X-Men we’ve done and the most pathos-driven,” McAvoy explained. “There’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of suffering.”
The film becomes a fight for Jean’s soul, as the Phoenix threatens to tear her, and the X-Men apart, and Turner has taken the role very seriously, studying schizophrenia and multiple personality disorders in order to properly display the battle between Jean and the Phoenix.
And with all the news of chaos coming from past X-Men films (from Ellen Page’s allegations against Brett Ratner, to Bryan Singer’s reputation for drama on set) it’s not surprising that newcomer Jessica Chastain had some trepidation. “I had heard stories of these sets,” said Chastain, who plays an otherworldly shapeshifter who tries to use Phoenix for her own gain, “But working with Simon and Hutch and Sophie was the most loving, strong, happy set.”
Jennifer Lawrence, a veteran of the X-Men prequels also commented on this, “It was unrecognisable. Everything was on time. Everything was organised. These movies have always been fun amidst chaos, and now they were fun with no chaos.”
Dark Phoenix will be released on November 2nd, 2018.