The talented and beautiful Oscar-nominated thespian Jessica Chastain and us! Photo credit: Diana Othman for Geek Crusade.

When it was first revealed earlier this year that Golden Globe nominee Jessica Chastain was joining the cast of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, it was widely assumed that she would be playing the Shi’ar Queen Lilandra Neramani

For one, she and pal James McAvoy, who is reprising his role as Charles Xavier, exchanged cheeky social media messages to one another as a fun way of announcing her involvement. And every X-fan knows that Lilandra is the professor’s sometime lover and ally.

And secondly, it’s an adaptation of the Dark Phoenix saga, man! So the Shi’ar Empire, an alien race ruled by Lilandra that crosses path with the Phoenix force, is bound to be featured in the movie, right? But Chastain threw us off by surreptitiously commenting on her Instagram that she is, in fact, not playing the Shi’ar empress.

But it looks like Entertainment Weekly may have just let slip the character she will be playing. In a massive exclusive, EW released several first-look images of the wildly anticipated X-Men sequel including one of Chastain in character below:

Jessica Chastain’s mystery role in X-Men: Dark Phoenix is said to be a manipulative alien shape-shifter. Photo: Entertainment Weekly.

While much of the article touches on new plot details and Sophie Turner’s role as Jean Grey and subsequently, Phoenix, it also states that the movie “introduces an alien shape-shifter, played by Jessica Chastain, who tries to manipulate Phoenix for her own secret agenda.”

An alien shape-shifter from Marvel’s cosmic universe? Is Chastain playing Veranke, the Skrull Queen?! Even though EW didn’t officially mention the character by name, fans are willing to bet their honour that this is indeed Chastain’s role. But I have to say, at this point, there could be a lot more to this than meets the eye.

If Chastain really is playing the Skrull Queen, there are two issues that are keeping us X-fans up at night. Firstly, aren’t Skrulls going to be featured in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie which is being developed at Disney? When have the two separate studios – Disney and 20th Century Fox, which owns the movie rights to the X-Men – ever shared their Marvel assets? Unless, Disney really is close to buying over 20th Century Fox and the studio’s entertainment assets including the X-Men series of films, as we reported earlier.

Secondly, what exactly are Skrulls doing in X-Men: Dark Phoenix? In the original comics series, the only alien race that plays a significant part in the story is the Shi’ar Empire. It has to be said though that the Skrulls’ empire is situated quite close to the Shi’ar Empire. I just hope Bryan Singer and team didn’t just throw in a war between the two races to try and make the movie more “epic” because that would just make it too messy.

What do you think, geeks? Is Chastain going Skrull in X-Men: Dark Phoenix? Or what other role do you think she might be playing?