The upcoming film X-Men: Dark Phoenix has already received a lot of press, both positive and negative. As we discover more about new characters and casting decisions, there’s also been a lot of speculation as to what the film will actually be about.
Sadly, most who are in the know aren’t feeling optimistic about Dark Phoenix. Here’s everything we know about the film thus far, and why it’s likely to be a disappointment to X-Men fans.
All film universes have their issues, but none have gone through the same ups and downs that the X-Men one has. The last couple of films especially haven’t been well-received, while those without “X-Men” in the name like Logan and Deadpool are held in high regard.
X-Men: Apocalypse, which further muddled the timeline, had a number of issues, and the introduction of younger versions of older characters just added to the confusion. But at least that one sort of followed the appropriate storyline …
Next: The first major problem with Dark Phoenix.
They already did Dark Phoenix
One major issue with the upcoming film? They’ve already covered this territory.
2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand featured a young Jean Grey. It saw the death of the character as well as the rise of Phoenix, her alternate personality. While this isn’t exactly the same as in the comics, it’s enough alike that they’d have to do things completely different in order to distinguish it. Which brings us to our next point …
Next: That human touch may get lost in space.
Embrace the outer space
Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg was recently quoted as saying about the film, “[We must] find a way to ground it so it’s not too intergalactic.” In some ways, he’s right — as he pointed out, the X-Men films have always been very “human.”
But as Scott Mendelson wrote for Forbes, things have changed since the early days of the franchise, and audiences are much more receptive to more “out-there” flicks that take place in space. And as the Dark Phoenix story involves aliens and other worlds, leaning into the “intergalactic” seems like a no-brainer.
Next: Emotions create motion movies.
Lack of emotional connection
This might be another major problem for the film. With a “human” approach, it’s likely the film will lean into the relationship between Jean and Scott Summers aka Cyclops. But as Mendelson points out, this is a weird opportunity to do so.
In The Last Stand, Jean and Scott had been together through two previous movies, making the connection between them strong. But the younger versions of the characters, played by Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan, have only had one film together, during which time they barely interacted and had just one sort of “spark” moment. So there isn’t really enough tying them together to make this storyline hit hard.
Next: These two famous actors are returning.
Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult are back
Speaking of an emotional connection, both Jennifer Lawrence and her off-screen ex, Nicholas Hoult will be back in Dark Phoenix. The pair will return as Mystique and Beast, respectively, who have their own romance. Both actors feel a close tie with their characters and are back to give them closure.
Hoult calls Dark Phoenix “emotional and tonally slightly different to the other X-Men films,” and cites “interesting developments and some good scenes” for his character as his primary reason for signing on.
As for Lawrence, whose star has only risen since the original X-Men movie, she has a similar ideology. “I felt like I owed it to the fans, and I owed it to the character to follow her journey, to be fair to the movie,” she told Digital Spy of her return to the character.
Next: Let’s dig through the rumors of who will actually appear in the film.
Who we know will appear
Among the actors we know are slated to appear, one continues to make headlines. Jessica Chastain was originally rumored to be playing Lilandra. However, information has come to light that Chastain will likely not be playing the alien villain after all — IMDb lists her character as “Smith,” which doesn’t give us much to go off of.
In other casting news, model Kota Eberhardt has joined as a character being called Luna, which is most likely a code name. Additionally, The Young Pope actor Scott Shepherd will make an appearance as Dr. John Grey, the father of a young Jean Grey.
Next: There’s the potential for a new heroine!
Speculation around other characters
Rumors about new and returning characters are also in circulation. We know that Olivia Munn, who recently commented that Dark Phoenix will be “a two parter,” will return as Apocalypse villain Psylocke. Additionally, Evan Jonigkeit and Gregg Lowe may be reprising their roles from X-Men: Days of Future Past as Toad and Ink, respectively.
There’s also a potential new heroine in the mix: Dazzler, a mutant who is also a singer. And though nothing is confirmed, various clues have led several outlets to conclude that Paper Towns actress Halston Sage will be appearing in the role.
Next: This is rarely a good sign for any major movie.
The release date has been delayed
On March 26, 2018, Fox revealed that the film won’t come out until Feb. 14, 2019. It was pushed from Nov. 2, 2018.
While Valentine’s Day may seem like an odd choice, remember: Fox’s mega-hit Deadpool was also a Feb. 14 release — so perhaps they’re trying to recreate lightning in a bottle?
Interestingly, Fox is also pushing its former Feb. 2019 offering, New Mutants, to August 2, 2019. This could be in order to capitalize on summer box office numbers.
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