After 17 years of X-Men films (and one franchise reset but not really because they KIND of took it back), we’re going to get more of the Phoenix Saga.

For X-Men: Apocalypse, several of the key former X-Team were recast in the vein of X-Men: First Class, bringing younger actors into already existing roles.  Like James McAvoy stepping into the role of Professor Charles Xavier first played by Sir Patrick Stewart, and Michael Fassbender as Magneto, first played by Sir Ian McKellan.

For Apocalypse, FOX brought in Game Of Thrones actress Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, who in the course of the film tapped into the celestial all powerful life force known as Phoenix. Fans of the comics know the powers came to the character in a much DIFFERENT way, with a space shuttle and other factors.

The fan reaction to the change was pretty good for the most part, and critics (like myself) who have disliked almost all the X-Films (minus First Class) ended up enjoying Apocalypse enough to rebuild a relationship with the movie franchise.  Producer/writer Simon Kinberg picked up on this, and moved ahead with his Phoenix film idea.

It was announced today that Kinberg will be stepping into the director’s chair for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which is already touting a November 2nd 2018 release, even though they haven’t begun shooting yet.  This will probably change, so don’t be surprised if it does.  No one other than probably Bryan Singer himself is more familiar with the material at this point, so Kinberg as director makes pretty good sense on a story he’s been so heavily involved with creating.

Jessica Chastain

The other big news today about the film is the 2 Oscar nominated actress Jessica Chastain being “in talks” for the role of Lilandra, the Shi’ar Empress.  The character first appears in visions of Xavier’s, pleading for Charles’ help to recover the sacred Emcron crystal from her brother DaKen with the power to either destroy or save the universe.  Lilandra being mentioned kind of tells us (maybe) where the story of the script might be heading, and we may be looking at the great galactic trial of Jean Grey and her destruction of planets while being controlled by the power of the phoenix force.

Julie Bells’ iconic Lilandra artwork

While Chastain is indeed a powerful actress, we were kind of hoping for a more….exotic choice?  Not saying she won’t knock the role out of the universe, because she totally will.  But now, knowing we’re getting Dark Phoenix, I was kind of hoping for Hellfire Club stuff, because you can’t have classic Dark Phoenix without Mastermind/Jason Wyndgard.  In which case, Chastain would make the PERFECT Emma Frost/White Queen for the situation.  But also maybe that means we’d also be getting Dazzler, for the X-Men: The Animated Series bent of the tale.

Lilandra and Deathbird from the comics

I digress.  If indeed Jessica is the forerunner for Empress Lilandra, one can only hope that perhaps we’d get Bryce Dallas Howard in the role of Lilandra’s sister, Deathbird. This probably also means we’ll be getting some key members of her Imperial Guard *cough* Gladiator *cough*. And also, this is wonderful news because we can ALL forget and move past that horrible film that was X-Men 3: The Last Stand that COMPLETELY frakked up one of the best Phoenix storylines. Don’t mess it up, Kinberg.

We’ll keep you updated as more information about X-Men: Dark Phoenix becomes available.

ABOUT >> Mary Anne Butler
  • BIO >> Mary Anne Butler (Mab) is a reporter and photographer from San Francisco California. She is a lifelong geek, huge music nerd, occasionally cosplays at conventions, does Renaissance Faires, and in general lives the life of a True Believer. She may be short, but she makes up for it with a loud voice.
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