In X-Men: Apocalypse the entire focus of the franchise shifted to Jean Grey who was portrayed as the most powerful telepathic mutant in the current crop of students at Xavier’s’ special school. So, it’s natural that the makers chose to go down Phoenix route for the next project. The title of the movie is X-Men: Dark Phoenix or X-Men 7 which is creating an enormous amount of buzz in the superhero market. The story revolves around Jean Grey’s transformation into a powerful, cosmic creature. She is played by Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark, Game of Thrones).
X-Men fans were rejoicing as it’s one of the most iconic X-Men storylines ever conceived by Marvel comics. The movie will be directed by Simon Kinberg. He will make his debut in the X-Men universe working on his own script adapted from Dark Phoenix comics by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. The movie is set in the 1990’s following prequel trilogy format of setting each movie a decade apart.
In 1976, an acclaimed X-Men writer Chris Claremont who enjoys strong female characters wrote ‘Phoenix saga’ centered around Jean Grey. He said at the time:
“Our intent was to create an X-Men analog, if you will, to Thor – someone who was essentially the first female cosmic hero. We thought at the time we could integrate her into the book as well as Thor had been integrated into the Avengers.”
The idea was to create a first female cosmic superhero who could be integrated into the mutant universe. In the plot, Jean Grey almost killed by solar energy, transformed into something else, she donned the mantle of fire and defeated the ruthless alien Emperor. She merged with Phoenix force, could hold entire timelines in her hands and destroyed Apocalypse. In a shocking turn of events, she turned on X-Men and then consumed an entire star, committing atrocities by the millions and thus the name Dark Phoenix.
Many other powerful mutants such as Mystique, Prof. Xavier, Magneto, Beast etc. are returning to reprise their roles. In addition to them, Evan Peters who plays Quick Silver is confirmed to join the cast. Olivia Munn recently revealed in her Snapchat post that she is currently in Montreal, which basically means Psylocke (a telepathic and telekinetic mutant) is also coming back. If that was not enough, the new images of actor Tye Sheridan (who played young Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse) have surfaced. He is wearing a new classic visor on the set which was worn by James Marsden in X-Men 2 but with a smaller design. The new visor suggests that he would have better control of his powers as 9 years have passed after the events of Apocalypse.
Just when you thought that the casting of mutants is over, the IMDB page for the sequel has been updated and include the name of an eight-year-old actress Summer Fontana who will be playing a younger version of Jean Grey (who is already a younger version of an older Jean Grey). She is well-known for playing Hope Mikaelson/Hollow on the CW’s The Originals. It’s like X-Men: First Class all over again which is just awesome.
She has a brief but pivotal role in the movie and this could be used as a stepping stone for a Dark Phoenix: Reboot in the future, in the same way X-Men: Days of Future Past removed the original trilogy which ended with X-Men: The Last Stand directed by Brett Ratner based on Dark Phoenix storyline.
For months a rumor was circulating that Jessica Chastain is going to play the villain in the movie. The reports first came in June that she will play Shi’ar Empress Lilandra but Jessica did’nt clarify anything on her social media. But recently she had this to say:
“Hey @jamesmcavoyrealdeal you ready for me up in Montreal? Im gonna make you cry so hard #xmen @simondavidkinberg”
X-Men fans thought that she is in fact playing the evil Empress and has a big part in the upcoming X-Men movie. But guess what, Jessica Chastain revealed the truth and then deleted the comment. It said:
“Hey folks, want a scoop? Im not playing Lilandra…”
This outraged X-Men fans as they felt betrayed and taken for granted. The speculation now is that she may be playing an older version of Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix instead of evil Empress. But she is not clarifying anything now nor is studio making any announcement in this regard. Regardless of what she is playing, she is definitely part of the official cast.
In comics, Lilandra made her first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #97 in 1976. She is the sister of D’ken and Deathbird and an heir to Shi’ar Empire amidst intense family strife. She turned against her brother, fled to Earth, realized she had a powerful bond with Xavier but she wants to imprison Dark Phoenix.
The Jen Law Films Twitter account has posted an image from the sets, which may have confirmed that the franchise is bringing back the danger room. The Danger room was last featured in X-Men: Apocalypse final scene where Mystique and Beast were training young mutants including Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver. Then we saw a host of sentinels emerging through the walls. In 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the danger room was featured although it was very different than it is now. The details are unknown as to how it will be used in Dark Phoenix but it would be great to watch it again.
The movie is slated to release on Nov 2, 2018.