The X-Men film franchise hasn't been shy about killing major characters off, even if those deaths don't always remain permanent. X-Men: Dark Phoenix will keep the body count rising later this year, but it sounds like someone especially important will be biting the dust in this installment. Back in November, it was reported that a character who's been part of the X-Men series since 2011's X-Men: First Class will meet their demise, and then last month, one of the first official X-Men: Dark Phoenix photos showed Professor X and some of his students gathered together at a funeral. So who's the unlucky character who will be taken away from us?
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is still 10 months away from hitting theaters, but we've decided to go over the movie's main lineup of protagonists and determine which of those players are most likely to die during the story. Also keep in mind that for this feature, we're working off the assumption that both X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Dark Phoenix are still moving towards the revised future seen at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Meaning that by the early 2020s, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Storm and Professor X are all still alive. Of course, in Jean Grey's case, we shouldn't discount the possibility that she'll temporarily die in X-Men: Dark Phoenix before being revived as the eponymous, fiery entity, but I digress.
Despite not originally planning to play Mystique again after X-Men: Apocalypse due to her contact ending and not enjoying having to wear blue body paint, Jennifer Lawrence had a change of heart and signed onto X-Men: Dark Phoenix because she felt she owed it to the fans to keep the shapeshifter's journey going rather than just have her abruptly disappear. It's a reasonable explanation, but that doesn't ruled out Mystique being killed. She's been one of the four principal players of the "First Class" series since the beginning, and since she became one of the X-Men's instructors at the end of Apocalypse, that means she's spent nearly 10 years working with these younger superheroes by the time Dark Phoenix begins. Mystique may have been a villain in the X-Men comics and early X-Men movies, but the "First Class" series has charted her growing into a her. So the corrupted Jean Grey killing her would be a tragic and emotionally-wrenching end for her since she's likely formed a bond with Jean by that point. But this also means that Mystique's story can properly conclude, allowing Lawrence to leave the world of mutants and continue along with her Hollywood career elsewhere.
Like Mystique, Magneto has been one of the principal players in the "First Class" series since the beginning, and since the revised X-Men universe timeline still evidently hit many of the same beats depicted in the original X-Men trilogy, one could surmise that this means Magneto will still be around for those events and ultimately lives to the early 2020s. However, at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, Michael Fassbender's Magneto looked like he was now on a different path than where Ian McKellen's version of the Master of Magnetism ends up, as he no longer wanted to destroy the world and wipe out humanity (so one could look at him as an honorary X-Man). It's been revealed that at the start of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Magneto is living on the island of Genosha, where he's formed a safe haven for mutants. Whether this is where Jean Grey ends up after she's turned into Dark Phoenix or Magneto sees what she's become elsewhere, one would imagine that he would come to Professor X's aid if things got bad enough. Magneto's abilities also make him significantly more qualified to engage with Dark Phoenix in a direct conflict, but alas, even his talents with metal wouldn't be enough and him dying in battle would be a crushing blow to Professor X and Mystique (assuming the latter's still alive).
Although Quicksilver hasn't been part of the "First Class" series since the beginning, he has been a fan favorite since he debuted in X-Men: Days of Future Past and got into shenanigans with his super speed. Although he aided Wolverine, Professor X and Beast with breaking Magneto out of prison in Days of Future Past, Peter Maximoff didn't officially become a superhero until X-Men: Apocalypse, as he decided to stay at the X-Mansion to hone his talents. So when we reunite with him in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, no doubt he'll have greatly matured and be able to move at even faster speeds. That being said, even being gifted with super speed isn't a guarantee that Quicksilver will survive Dark Phoenix's rampage. Much like how Apocalypse turned the tables on Quicksilver, perhaps Jean's darker self will do the same, only this time, she'll end Peter's race permanently. If that happens, one can only hope that sometime before then, Magneto has learned that he's Quicksilver's father.
Kodi Smit-McPhee's Nightcrawler debuted in X-Men: Apocalypse, so he can still be classified as one of the newcomers. However, his presence also exemplifies how reality is different following X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the original X-Men timeline, Kurt Wagner didn't cross paths with the X-Men until he was well into adulthood, whereas in the new version of events, he met them as a teenager and became a founding member of this version of the team. So that begs the question of if this Nightcrawler will live on for more decades or if he'll meet his end during X-Men: Dark Phoenix. After all, even though Nightcrawler is seen in that official photo of the funeral, if that's just the X-Men mourning Jean Grey's death before she comes back to life, then we can't rule out that Nightcrawler could be eliminated when his teammate loses control of her powers. We know that X-Men will go on to protect the world after Dark Phoenix concludes, but there's no guarantee that Nightcrawler will still be around as one of the team's senior members.