MCU X-Men: Here’s Exactly How the Marvel Studios Reboot Should Handle the Dark Phoenix Saga

Fans can’t stop speculating about what the X-Men will be up to when they hit the big screen again. Will Fox’s long-running movie series tie into upcoming films? Or will the Marvel Cinematic Universe truly start completely from scratch? Fans are anxious for details on the MCU X-Men.

With few official details out there, all fans can do is wait for confirmation on Marvel’s plans. But one thing we can probably safely bet on: the MCU X-Men will probably steer clear of the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”

The South Korean premiere of 'X-Men: Dark Phoenix'
The South Korean premiere of ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ | Getty Images

Two movies failed to adapt the ‘Dark Phoenix saga’ for the screen

The MCU X-Men must reckon with the team’s big-screen past. The “Dark Phoenix saga” is among the most popular X-Men storylines and a natural choice for Fox to adapt for the big screen. Yet, after 2003’s X2: X-Men United set it up, most fans believe the creative team dropped the ball.

2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand is considered by many to be an extremely poor reflection of the comic book storyline. In particular, the movie is often criticized for failing to fully develop Jean Grey’s (Famke Janssen) arc. The movie’s story also tries to juggle the creation of a mutant cure.

But some fans dared to hope 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix would be the second chance the franchise needed to get the story right. Alas, despite a new cast and a sole focus on Jean (Sophie Turner), the movie proved to be a financial disaster and a creative low point for Fox’s X-Men series.

Instead, the mutants’ debut should acknowledge it’s already happened

So the MCU X-Men will absolutely not be tempting fate again anytime soon. If this incarnation of the team hopes to succeed, it needs to cut ties with the least successful elements of the Fox series. And both versions of the “Dark Phoenix saga” are very much included within that.

Instead of building up to Dark Phoenix or teasing the classic story might happen sometime down the line, the MCU X-Men should take the opposite approach. Acknowledge Jean’s turn to the dark and redemption already happened. As in some comics, she is now simply known as Phoenix.

To differentiate the MCU X-Men from what’s come before, Jean should have already conquered her power. This presents audiences with an even more formidable hero. In true Marvel fashion, Jean could even wryly dismiss any curious questions on Dark Phoenix, saying she “doesn’t like to talk about it.”


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Jean Grey is likely to be included on the MCU X-Men team roster, after all

Another potential solution to avoiding the Dark Phoenix conundrum is not to include Jean Grey at all. However, the likelihood of that is probably slim. After all, the character has connections to too many other key characters — such as Cyclops and Professor X — to be overlooked completely.

Plus, Jean Grey is a central team member in most incarnations of the team. Janssen and Turner played her in the movies, and she’s also a vital part of the 1990s animated series. Then known as Marvel Girl, Jean even appeared in the original comics. So she’s just about a lock for the MCU X-Men too.