"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." It's this old maxim, but one very much applicable to 20th Century Fox's developments with the X-Men franchise. Audiences previously saw a not-so-great adaptation of Chris Claremont's classic Dark Phoenix Saga in 2006 with Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand, but that was before the Days of Future Past reboot. Now the movies are ready to take a second whack at the story, specifically with Simon Kinberg's X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
We know that the series will see another decade jump for the narrative after X-Men: Apocalypse, with the action set in the early 1990s, but who should fans expect to see in the upcoming blockbuster? In hopes of answering that pressing question, we've put together this feature to keep track. Below and on the next few pages we've cataloged all of the confirmed heroes and villains set to appear in the movie, so read on and learn a bit about the 2019 film.
Jean Grey a.k.a. Phoenix
One could argue that the greatest mistake made by X-Men: The Last Stand was not telling the story through the eyes of Jean Grey -- instead opting to make Hugh Jackman's Wolverine the protagonist. Thankfully, this will not happen with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, as it's been confirmed that Sophie Turner's version of the telepathic telekinetic will be the central character in the movie.
Developing as a much more faithful adaptation of the comics, Jean Grey will be on a space mission at the start of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but everything will start to go wrong when they encounter a mysterious cosmic force. It's a serious disaster, but, more importantly, the incident awakens something within the young mutant, as she starts to see her powers grow stronger and stronger -- to the point where she becomes seriously dangerous. This is the emergence of the Phoenix, who in the comics is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, with the ability to open stargates, destroy matter at the subatomic level, and generate cosmic fire amongst other things. Despite Jean's moral heart, she becomes an incredible threat that Professor X and his team must deal with.
Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops
As a member of the X-Men, Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) will obviously be very much tied up in all of the action discussed -- but, as fans know, there is an important emotional factor in the whole thing for him. Scott Summers is not just a key member of Professor X's team, but the true love of Jean Grey. We only witnessed the characters first meeting and starting to get to know one another in X-Men: Apocalypse, but X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be set a full 10 years after those events, and that's a lot of time to develop a deeper relationship.
Of course, being in love with Jean Grey as she turns into Phoenix should ultimately provide some serious moral conundrums for Cyclops, especially as she becomes too powerful and dangerous. If the film addresses the idea of killing her before she gets too out of control, Scott might be a serious roadblock in terms of getting the horrible deed done. If not, the other possibility is that we see him make a terribly sad sacrifice.
Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm
Played by Alexandra Shipp in X-Men: Apocalypse, Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm had a complex re-introduction to the franchise post-Days of Future Past. Rather than being introduced as a hero, her first scene in the film instead saw her bend the knee for the titular villain and agree to serve as one of his Four Horsemen. The good news is that by the end of the film she had a serious change of heart, deciding to join the X-Men in battle, and presumably that's what she has been doing for the last 10 years when we catch up with her in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
While there isn't a great deal known about her specific role in the narrative of the film, it will be interesting to see how her powers have developed. In the comics Storm is one of the most powerful mutants alive (being able to control the weather is kind of a big deal), but we have not yet seen this fully explored on the big screen yet. Going up against some scary threats in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the Goddess of the Plains may find her moment to demonstrate the full scale of what she can do.
Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will presumably be the first full X-Men movie where James McAvoy sports the chrome dome playing Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X -- but that's not really the standout element of what he'll be going through in the film. Instead, audiences will get to see the brilliant professor regress a little bit, once again showing the swagger and confidence that was on display in X-Men: First Class.
What do we mean? Well, it's all tied into the fact that the X-Men under Professor X's leadership are global celebrities in the early 1990s, known around the world for their impressive heroics and bravery. It's been said that all of this success goes to Charles' head a little bit, and leads him to start making some rash decisions. For example, he doesn't take enough consideration when he decides to send his young team of mutants into outer space, and the consequences of that move wind up being very severe.
Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto
As portrayed by Michael Fassbender in the last three X-Men movies, Erik Lehnsherr is a man constantly haunted by his past, having experienced the horrors of the holocaust first hand growing up in Germany as a child. In the name of helping mutants he has done some horrible things, including almost starting World War III via the Cuban Missile Crisis, nearly assassinating the president, and almost destroying the world with Apocalypse -- but X-Men: Dark Phoenix will find him in a very different place.
Not only will Magneto be at peace at the start of the Simon Kinberg film, he will introduce audiences to an incredibly important location from the comics: the island of Genosha. Admittedly the place has seen some sketchy history, but in the big screen world it will be a haven for mutants who can't find homes anywhere else. In her search for answers, Jean Grey will be heading to Genosha in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and seeking Magneto's council.
Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique
Mystique may have started off as a minion character serving Magneto in 2000's X-Men, but the last seven years have seen her become much more than that. The star power of Jennifer Lawrence has led to the shapeshifting mutant not only playing a lead role in the franchise, but being one of the good guys. The last we left her in X-Men: Apocalypse, she was actually serving as the leader in the field for Professor X's students, training them in the danger room against a Sentinel attack.
From what's been reported, it sounds like Mystique will be picking up right where she left off in the last movie, and still working with the X-Men and training them to be heroes. According to Jennifer Lawrence, she has maternal feelings towards her students at the start of X-Men: Dark Phoenix -- which leads to some clashing with her adoptive brother, Professor X. Given the way things go with the incident in space, one can predict that she ends up with the upper hand in the argument.
Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast
While Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast was sadly not a central member of the original X-Men trilogy until X-Men: The Last Stand, Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class did a nice job righting that wrong. Since then the character has been a key player in all of the series films, brought to life by the talented Nicholas Hoult. His abilities have changed over the years, but the last we saw him he looked human most of the time, but turned blue and fuzzy when ready to dive into action.
Like Mystique, Hank was shown to be in a leadership position with the X-Men when we last saw him in X-Men: Apocalypse, and the expectation is that he will be in the same place at the start of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. One thing to look out for will be his relationship with Professor X, as the two men have been friends for years, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see Hank get worried about his pal's ego.
Peter Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver
While Scarlet Witch has grown to become a popular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe played by Elizabeth Olsen, the X-Men franchise has been electrified by her twin brother. Evan Peters quickly became a fan favorite when he made his big screen debut in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and between that film and X-Men: Apocalypse has been a part of two of the franchise's best sequences. Hopefully we'll get to see him make it a hat trick when Quicksilver returns in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Not only are we excited to see what kind of high speed sequence Simon Kinberg puts together, but we are also very interested in seeing one of X-Men: Apocalypse's loose threads tied up. That film confirmed that Peter Maximoff is legitimately Magneto's son, but he chickened out when presented the opportunity to drop the truth bomb. We don't know for certain if X-Men: Dark Phoenix will address the issue, but one can hope.
Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler
Everyone's favorite teleporting mutant came back to the big screen in X-Men: Apocalypse, but Kodi Smit-McFee's Nightcrawler now exists in a very different world than the one inhabited by Alan Cumming's version of the character from X2: X-Men United. While we are used to seeing him as an outcast because of his blue skin, the last X-Men movie found society not only accepting mutants, but appreciating them. Presumably this will continue into the next chapter of the series.
As mentioned, X-Men: Dark Phoenix will begin with the eponymous team being regarded as heroes, and this should include Nightcrawler. Like the other young mutants discussed here, the expectation is that he'll have much better control over his teleporting powers than previously seen, having had a decade to practice under the tutelage of Professor X. As a result, he may be willing to make some much bolder moves than previously seen in X-Men: Apocalypse -- such as confidently but blindly teleporting into more locations he can't directly see.
Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke
Unlike all of the characters mentioned so far, Olivia Munn's Psylocke is a bit of a question mark when it comes to X-Men: Dark Phoenix. That being said, it does sound like she is involved with the movie in some capacity. In summer 2017 there was a rumor circulating that Munn was in Montreal during the production of the blockbuster, and in an interview she suggested that she was a part of the larger story being told (suggesting that the narrative is big enough to span two films).
But what will Psylocke be up to? That's a very good question to which we have no answer. Having been a very late addition to the script, Psylocke didn't have very much to do in X-Men: Apocalypse, even as one of the Four Horsemen, and at the end of the story just kind of walked away at the end of the battle with no meaningful conclusion. At the very least we know she hasn't been serving as a member of the X-Men, but that's not really too meaningful in the grand scope of things.
Jessica Chastain's Mystery Character
We know for a fact that Jessica Chastain is in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and we know that she will present a very real danger for the titular mutants -- but she mostly remained a curious mystery. As seen in the picture above, we know what she looks like, the actress sporting bleach blonde locks for the role instead of her normal ginger hair, and she has been described as an otherworldly shape-shifter who is out to control the Phoenix force. Could she possibly be a member of the alien race the Shi'ar? Is it possible that she is Cassandra Nova, Professor X's fraternal twin who was powerful enough to survive being stillborn? We may not know for sure until the film actually comes out, depending on how much the trailers wind up showing.