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The X-Men films recently got a major do-over. When Wolverine stopped the mutant genocide in Days of Future Past, he reset the timeline, allowing previously killed characters to come back and past storylines (like The Last Stand) to be forgotten. While it wasn’t entirely clear what this all meant at the time, Simon Kinberg put things into perspective on the set of X-Men: Apocalypse.
To a small group of press, the writer-producer addressed whether or not stories already tackled in X-Men movies, specifically The Dark Phoenix Saga in X3, could be revamped in future films.
Sure. I think everything that hasn’t been told from First Class and Days of Future Past is up for grabs going forward. So, it would absolutely be a story that we could tell in a different way.
Last week, Fox released a video of Simon Kinberg answering fan questions about the film, and he remarked that this new timeline is now considered "canon" and "law." He further explained on set:
[Apocalypse is] not leading, necessarily, toward exactly where we found Patrick Stewart and the X-Men at the beginning of X1. There are some things obviously that lead in that general direction that was part of sort of the philosophy I guess at the end of Days of Future Past is that you can’t fully change the course or current of the river but you can just divert it a little bit. And that’s what we diverted a little bit.
Though the future of X-Men is a little cloudy beyond the string of standalone films in development, the seeds for a Dark Phoenix retelling will be planted in Apocalypse, regardless if or when it happens. Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones portrays a younger version of Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey and her character will be struggling to control the immense psychic power she wields. Kinberg teased,
We definitely explore how powerful she is in this movie, and that can be something that is empowering and something that is dangerous.
Lana Condor, playing Jean’s energy-blasting best friend Jubilee, said, "Just like all the rest of us, [Jean’s] learning how to control her powers." She continued,
She’s incredibly powerful, but she has no clue. So, it’s almost kind of, like, alienating, I think, at least for her in school, like, when she’s at school with all of us because she doesn’t know her strength sometimes and she can’t control it. I think sometimes she lets loose and it freaks people out and … I feel she might feel she’s alienated. But not by me because I’m a good friend.
X-Men: Apocalypse, Bryan Singer’s fourth time directing an X-Men film, isn’t his first go with precious comic book source material. While X2 reinterpreted elements from God Loves, Man Kills, it was also setting up the sequel to be all about The Dark Phoenix Saga. When he decided to helm Superman Returns instead, Brett Ratner came in for X-Men: The Last Stand.
Simon Kinberg said later how excited he was to include the Jean and Scott story in X-Men: Apocalypse.
I never really got to write — I mean, I wrote X3, but we didn’t really get to focus on those characters the way I would’ve wanted, partly because James Marsden was, ironically, busy doing Superman. And Famke, the Dark Phoenix story the way that Matthew Vaughn, who was originally the X3 director, the way that Matthew Vaughn and Zak Penn, who co-wrote that movie, and I wanted to tell the Dark Phoenix stories a little different than the way they’re being told. So we really didn’t get to dig into those characters, and they’re such huge, iconic characters in the franchise, and we didn’t do it in Days of Future Past, for obvious reasons, until the end.
As to whether Bryan Singer is interested in finally getting to execute his vision for the Phoenix, he was ambivalent to answer. "You never know, but as far as the idea of that brewing within her, I could, without giving anything away, say absolutely, you may find a piece of that in this film."
X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters on May 27.