Jessica Chastain came to Singapore back in 2016. Photo credit: Diana Othman for Geek Crusade.

There’s a whole flurry of news coming out of Fox in the last day or so about the production of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the next installment in the X-Men film franchise. We already knew a Dark Phoenix film was coming, and with it a slew of characters reprising their roles from the previous X-Men movies.

But the biggest news of all comes from Deadline, which is reporting that Jessica Chastain, 40, is currently in talks to play Lilandra Neramani! In the comics, Lilandra is the Empress of the Shi’ar, an alien race that is closely associated with the M’Kraan crystal that gave Jean Grey her Phoenix powers.

The Deadline article refers to Lilandra as a villain, but long time X-Men fans would know her as the one-time paramour of Charles Xavier. With her pedigree – she was Oscar-nominated for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty – Chastain should bring lots of nuance to the character, provided the script doesn’t mess things up for her.

Jessica Chastain
Charles and Lilandra. ©Marvel Comics

Speaking of which, if you’ve been waiting for Fox to confirm the return of some of the franchise’s beloved characters, your prayers have been answered. Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are all returning to reprise their roles as Mystique, Magneto and Professor X respectively.


“Hello again, old friend.” ©20th Century Fox

All of which means that Chastain and McAvoy will be working together again. The duo have previously starred in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2014) as a couple trying to overcome personal tragedy, so I have particularly high hopes that they will work their onscreen chemistry again.

The film is set to be released on November 2, 2018, and will be directed by Simon Kinberg. Rumours had been swirling for a while that Kinberg, previously a producer on many of the X-Men films, would take over the helm from Bryan Singer. It’ll be his first time directing a film of any kind, so colour me cautiously excited for this turn of events.

Hopefully, it’ll be a lot better than X-Men: Apocalypse.

Do you think Jessica Chastain is a good fit as Lilandra? Tell us your thoughts!