How much difference a year makes? 20th Century Fox realized that R rated comic book movies can succeed, if done correctly, with Logan and Deadpool. They also saw the need to adjust their team up movies after disappointing box office returns for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Now R rated movies are the studio’s bread & butter, while the long successful team up movies are in need of something new. There’s much riding on the outcome for the next X-Men installment, Dark Phoenix.
Filming for Dark Phoenix is expected to begin before year’s end, this according to Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey. In a surprise move, longtime X-Men producer/writer Simon Kinberg was chosen to helm the picture, making Dark Phoenix his debut. Not much else has been known as far as casting goes, but I’ve assumed since Turner confirmed her involvement that he fellow co-stars from Apocalypse would join her once again. This week its been confirmed.
Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) are all set to reprise their roles alongside Turner. Reports also confirm that Michael Fassbender (Magneto), James McAvoy (Professor X), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) will also return. It’s worth mentioning that fan favorite Evan Peters (Quicksilver) is not mentioned in the reports, making it a real possibility he doesn’t return.
The strength of Apocalypse was undoubtedly its young cast, who demonstrated the kind of chemistry needed for a new generation of X-Men. As a fan, I’m overjoyed to see Fassbender and McAvoy return, however I’m surprised to Lawrence is also coming back. Over the previous two X-Men movies, her stardom has overshadowed the character, so much that the movies have made it a priority to focus on her character. This has undoubtedly turned off fans and, as a fan myself, I hope to see it discontinue. As for Peters’ disappearance from casting reports, the fact this is not an official cast announcement from 20th Century Fox still leaves open the possibility of his return. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to his character not coming back. I mean there’s only so many slow-motion montages with music in the background that one can sit through before it begins to feel, dare I say old.
So we have a director, an unofficial cast, and a 2018 release date (see below). As for the story, as you can probably guess by the subtitle, it’ll focus on the Dark Phoenix story line from the comics. If you saw Apocalypse, then you’re aware of the dark entity within Jean Grey that was heavily teased. Her Dark Phoenix powers were strong enough to give us the kind of ending we got (without getting into spoilers). Reports mention this next film will take the X-Men universe into the cosmic side, with the introduction of the villain known as “Lilandra, the empress of an alien empire called the Shi’ar, who leads the quest to imprison and execute Dark Phoenix, leading her into conflict with the X-Men.” These same reports mention Jessica Chastain (The Zookeeper’s Wife) as the front runner to play the role. Whether or not she accepts, remains to be seen, but in doing so would be a sign of confidence in both the script and its first time director.
Expect more official news on X-Men: Dark Phoenix at this summer’s Comic Con in San Diego. The film is set to release on November 2nd, 2018.
sources: Collider, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter