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While the first details about the new X-Men movie, Dark Phoenix, were originally released all the way back in December 2017 that was when the film was still scheduled for release in 2018. A few months later the project was bumped to next year, and it's been silent ever since - but after a long wait we finally got the first trailer earlier tonight. All together it's an interesting bit of footage, confirming the presence of key characters, showing off new uniforms, and offering first looks at the power of the titular villain, but it has also left us asking a number of questions that don't have a clear answer just yet.
After watching the trailer several times, we've singled out five major head-scratchers that we are now left to ponder - including material that we didn't see, connections to previous stories in the franchise, mysterious characters, and more. So let's dive in, shall we?
Where's All The Space Stuff?
Dark Phoenix is the second adaptation of the classic X-Men story arc that we've seen in the last 12 years, but there's a very specific reason why fans have been willing to accept it. Unlike what was seen in Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand, writer/director Simon Kinberg's vision for the new film promised that audiences would get to see a big screen version of the story with all of the cosmic elements still intact. However, one of the big takeaways from the new movie is the fact that any and all space-related stuff is extremely minimal.
The footage features the screenshot you see above, as well as a few shots of X-Men characters riding in the cockpit of the Blackbird, but that's really it. Instead, just about all of the material is focused on what happens to Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) after she is exposed to the Phoenix Force. Normally I'd throw out the excuse that maybe the CGI for those sequences just isn't ready for marketing yet, but you have to factor in the fact that this movie was originally supposed to be released in October. It's weird that we don't get to see more of it in the Dark Phoenix trailer, and hopefully it doesn't speak to minimal material in the finished product.
Are They Repeating Elements From X-Men: The Last Stand?
Continuing sentiments from above, not only does the trailer de-emphasize the material that will see the heroes travel beyond our atmosphere, but it weirdly even seems to suggest that the film will see material from X-Men: The Last Stand carried over into Dark Phoenix (it's worth mentioning at this point that Simon Kinberg wrote the scripts for both projects). Based on dialogue we hear from Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), it definitely sounds like we will be seeing a repeat of the plot that sees Xavier secretly dampening Jean Grey's powers in order to prevent her from being too dangerous.
What's interesting about this bit from the Dark Phoenix trailer is that it does continue threads from X-Men: Apocalypse - where Jean Grey demonstrated some Phoenix-esque powers - but that again just makes us more confused about the role that the heroine being exposed to the Phoenix Force in outerspace will have on the story. Thanks to the events ofX-Men: Days of Future Past, Dark Phoenix doesn't really have to have any connection to what was previously established in X-Men: The Last Stand, but it appears that the movie is still going that way anyway.
Who/What Is Jessica Chastain's Character?
Admittedly this is a question that we have been asking since long before the arrival of the new Dark Phoenix trailer. That being said, actually seeing the character played by Jessica Chastain walking and talking has reinvigorated discussions and speculation about the role. We know she has long, white hair, and a passionate interest in finding Jean Grey, but beyond that she wholly remains a mystery.
There have been many guesses about the character floating around, including the Shi'ar princess Lilandra, and the evil psychic entity Cassandra Nova, but sadly the Dark Phoenix trailer doesn't get us any closer to an answer. There simply isn't enough material featured to allow us to improve our already established educated guesses. Going forward it will be interesting to see if the marketing team ultimately decides to reveal that information to the audience, or if it will be kept as a big reveal only to be shown on the big screen. I was personally anticipating it as some kind of exciting button at the end of this new footage, but sadly that didn't happen. Maybe next time.
Who Are Magneto's Two New Friends?
Jessica Chastain's mystery character isn't the only fresh face featured in the Dark Phoenix trailer, as there is one shot in the footage that also reveals two new, previously unannounced characters. Based on what we see in the frame above, it definitely looks like they are mutants who identify with the philosophies of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) - and what's more it looks like they may also be joined by Beast (Nicholas Hoult).
It's been previously revealed that Magneto will be living a peaceful life when we next catch up with him in Dark Phoenix, specifically running a mutant commune on the island known as Genosha. He gets thrown back into the world of the X-Men when Jean Grey seeks his advice, and perhaps the two new mutants are followers who come with him as support. It would obviously be a lot easier to identify these mutants if they did literally anything in the footage, but what you see above is all we have right now.
Does Magneto's Jab At Xavier Suggest A New Approach For The Third Act?
"You're always sorry, Charles. And there's always a speech." Of all the dialogue in the Dark Phoenix trailer, this bit from Magneto definitely stands out the most. The reason for this is because we have seen what's described happen many times over the course of the movie franchise's 18 year existence. When it comes right down to it, most of the action in the movies comes down to Charles Xavier doing what he can to excuse the nature of man and reason his way to a peaceful resolution. With Magneto's line in the footage, however, one wonders if it might wind up being a meta signal to fans that things in this one aren't going to wrap up the usual way.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in regards to the future of the X-Men franchise, and Dark Phoenix may be the perfect project to make a sharp left turn when everyone in the world is expecting it to turn right (particularly in light of the developing Disney-Fox merger). We'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out when the film hits theaters on February 14, 2019.