The X-Men franchise has really come a long way from the original cast of Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies to Wolverine bidding adieu to the fans in Logan. He came back with X-Men: First Class where we saw the younger versions of famous mutants comprising a new X-Men core team. It came after Brett Ratner disappointed hardcore X-Men fans with X-Men: The Last Stand as he messed up the timeline which was later fixed in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
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 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.
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.
The idea is to create a first female cosmic superhero who could be integrated into 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.
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 didn’t clarify anything on her social media. 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.
In the recent first feature with EW, the director Simon Kinberg revealed the description of Jessica’s role. Here’s what he said:
“Her character is way way smarter than we are. What she realizes is she can use Jean Grey to manipulate this world, to turn it against itself.”
Another description was that she is “an otherwordly shapeshifter who manipulates Phoenix for her own agenda. Chastain’s villain is quiet but brutal.” The actress revealed that her inspiration for this character is “the vet who tells you need to put your dog down. There’s something very clinical about it.”
According to latest reports from Universo X-Men, they claimed to have witnessed a scene where Prof. Charles and Magneto are meeting at UN discussing mutant rights, all of a sudden they are attacked by an alien force which they believe are “Skrulls”. We can’t rule this out as Universo X-Men is a credible source and their claims do seem to match with the set photos taken by Journal De Montreal.
In the comic-book plot, X-Men were pitted against Shi’ar instead of Skrulls but it’s worth noting that Fox has the shared rights with Marvel to use Skrulls. Well, it is almost certain that Chastain is playing Skrull Queen named Veranke who was a religious zealot banished by Dorrek. Her prophecy about Skrull homeworld’s destruction came true and she became a crowned princess. She then invaded Earth.
Further, the Jen Law Films twitter account 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. So much to look forward to.
The movie is slated to release on Nov 2, 2018.