It’s the storyline that X-Men fans have waited years to be done right on the big screen, and 20th Century Fox is about to take another crack at it. The story of Jean Grey and the Dark Phoenix will be the third X-Men movie of 2018, after New Mutants and Deadpool 2.
To refresh your memory: The “Dark Phoenix Saga” is an extended storyline in the comics that dates back to 1980, about an immensely powerful cosmic being called the Phoenix that comes to Earth. It seemingly possesses the mutant Jean Grey, turning her into a threat to the universe and forcing the X-Men to battle her.
The story was adapted by the animated series of the 90s and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) with decidedly mixed results – the animated series was decent, while X3 was pretty damn awful. But both director Bryan Singer and producer Simon Kinberg clearly feel there is unfinished business when it comes to the story of the Phoenix. As Kinberg, who’s also confirmed that Supernova was merely a codename for the movie, put it:
“I definitely would love to take another stab at the Dark Phoenix story. The seeds of Phoenix definitely are planted in [Apocalypse]. She can’t control her powers unless she either fully stops them or lets them all loose, and that’s kind of Phoenix. I think in future movies to come we’ll definitely see a bit more of that.”
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is now slated for release on November 2, 2018, while New Mutants comes out April 13, 2018, and Deadpool 2 will release June 1, 2018. We got a small glimpse of the Phoenix towards the end of X-Men: Apocalypse (see our review), and the hopes of millions of fanboys now rest on Sophie Turner doing the character justice. For now, we know at least that Kinberg has said the next instalment will be set in the 90s.
Which now begs the question: Just which of the Apocalypse cast will return for the fourth movie of the rebooted franchise. Stars like Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy are now out of contract, while Fox has said that the Charles/Erik relationship will no longer be the central axis of the movies. But we do know from a recent Guardian interview that Nicholas Hoult a.k.a. Beast will be back for the shoot in Montreal later this year, possibly with McAvoy. But no word yet from the rest.
Nevertheless, these are exciting time for the X-Men franchise. Singer and Kinberg haven’t quite let us down yet,