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X-Men: Dark Phoenix has stayed thoroughly shrouded in mystery throughout its development, and one of the most unclear aspects of its story is the role Jessica Chastain will play. I recently talked to Chastain about the nature of her Dark Phoenix character during the press junket for Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game, and while she wouldn't give a definite answer on that, she explained that director Simon Kinberg and the film's handling of its female characters were her two biggest draws to the project. Chastain elaborated:
I'm not gonna say that. What I will say is, I just finished. What I'm really excited about is that there are such incredible female characters in this script, which is a major reason why I wanted to be a part of it. Another major reason is Simon Kinberg, who's a friend of mine and a great writer. It was his directorial debut. We met on The Martian and I was excited to be in his film for that, and I think you'll all be surprised. It's not a typical comic book film, especially in terms of gender.
Partnerships are a big deal in Hollywood, so it seems fairly evident that Jessica Chastain's work with Simon Kinberg on Ridley Scott's The Martian played a role in her decision to sign on for her undisclosed part in Dark Phoenix. The film marks Kinberg's first time behind the camera (which is also the case with Aaron Sorkin on Molly's Game), and it looks like Chastain has nothing but good things to say about their collaboration.
Then there's Jessica Chastain's remarks about the treatment of X-Men: Dark Phoenix's female characters, which seem to promise something new for the comic book genre. Though she's incredibly vague in her description of the film, she seems to promise an emphasis on the female side of the X-Men mythos that we haven't necessarily seen before. That idea makes sense when we consider the fact that Sophie Turner's Jean Grey is arguably the main character in Dark Phoenix (or at least the driving force behind the story).
Not only does that line up with the core thesis of the story, but it shows a willingness to acknowledge changes that are taking place in the world of comic book movies. Wonder Woman crushed at the box office this summer, and other franchises have started to take notice. Between Marvel's development of a Captain Marvel movie, the possibility of an all-female Marvel team-up movie, and Chastain's suggestion that Dark Phoenix will defy the genre's gender conventions, it seems that we can look forward to a nice change of pace in the next few years.
Of course, even with Jessica Chastain's excitement about X-Men: Dark Phoenix, it still doesn't change the fact that we know very little about the overarching plot of this long-awaited adaptation. Early reports related to the film had suggested that she would step into the role of Lilandra, but the actress recently took to social media to debunk those rumors. Dark Phoenix will remain under wraps for the foreseeable future, so we will just have to wait and see what 20th Century Fox is willing to show us over the next year.
Jessica Chastain will join the X-Men franchise when X-Men: Dark Phoenix debuts in theaters next year on November 2, 2018 -- following the April 13, 2018 release of New Mutants, and the June 1, 2018 release of Deadpool 2. Until then, you can catch Chastain in Molly's Game, which opens in theaters on Christmas Day.