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While it may not seem like it from their previous big screen adventures, the X-Men of the printed page have had quite a few intergalactic experiences in their decades of stories. It's because of this that as production on X-Men: Dark Phoenix moves forward, with longtime franchise producer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg taking the helm, fans are left wondering exactly how cosmic a tale 20th Century Fox intends to tell. Now, the director has offered an update that suggests the 2019 release will be a bit more grounded than fans might expect:
[We must] find a way to ground it so it's not too intergalactic.
Simon Kinberg's comments to Total Film (via X-MenFilms) may seem immediately disappointing to some fans. After all, the essential beats of the original Dark Phoenix storyline from the comics take place in space - both aboard an alien ship and on Earth's moon. Is there anyone out there that doesn't want to see a big screen X-Men film be as intergalactic as possible?
There are, thankfully, a few cosmic elements already confirmed for X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Jessica Chastain is set to play Lilandra Neramani, Empress of an advanced alien civilization called the Shi'ar. In the comics, the Shi'ar have had previous dealings with the Phoenix Force, an immense power unrivaled anywhere in the cosmos. When the Phoenix Force manifests itself in Jean Grey, the young mutant becomes so powerful that the Shi'ar seek to put Jean Grey to death in order to stop the Phoenix's devastating abilities.
The original Dark Phoenix saga ran in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #129 to 138, and while the story becomes immensely cosmic by the end, there are several issues that take place entirely on Earth. It's here, for example, that we're introduced to the pop star mutant Dazzler while the X-Men deal with the Hellfire Club as Jean's powers begin to flare up. It has already been confirmed that we'll see Dazzler in some capacity in Dark Phoenix, so it could be that the film will follow the pacing of the comics quite closely.
Giving the director's comments the benefit of the doubt, it may very well be that Simon Kinberg is talking more about making sure the X-Men characters don't get lost against the story's science fiction spectacle. After all, Star Trek has always been a touchstone for the X-Men movies. Jean Grey's sacrifice and subsequent narration at the end of X2 was directly inspired by Spock's sacrifice at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Meanwhile, footage from the original Star Trek was included in both X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. Any Star Trek fan can even tell you which classic episode Kinberg is likely looking to for inspiration this time around: Star Trek's second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," sees a mysterious cosmic energy imbue an Enterprise crewmember with a growing omnipotence. Just like Lilandra in Dark Phoenix, Captain Kirk realizes that the only way to stop the power is by killing his friend.
Whatever route X-Men: Dark Phoenix ends up taking, make sure to check back for updates between now and the film's release November 2, 2018.