Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought serialized storytelling to the mainstream, there was 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise. Starting with Bryan Singer's 2000 original film, the franchise is a staple of the genre that is still running strong today. The mutant-centric property has recently expanded with movies like Deadpool 2 and the upcoming New Mutants flick, but the main narrative will continue with Dark Phoenix.
Dark Phoenix has been pushed back a number of times, but it seems that 20th Century Fox has landed on its upcoming July release date. There's still quite a long way to go, but Dark Phoenix has been slowly releasing more images from the movie to keep the fandom satiated during the interim. One of those is below, showing Sophie Turner's Jean Grey bursting into flames in space. Check it out.
How cool is this? Ripped straight from the comic books, this quick GIF may just be the moment where the Phoenix Force takes over Jean's body in the film's first act. It's an iconic frame from the source material, so comic enthusiasts are going go be very exciting about the visuals involved.
This new image comes to us from the official X-Men movies Twitter, which is wont to reveal new Dark Phoenix still every so often. Considering how long Dark Phoenix was announced, the fandom is eager for any and all information about the latest X-Men sequel. Unfortunately, its had a set of delays, allowing for extensive reshoots in the process.
While there might not be much known about Dark Phoenix, the early glimpses of the movie tease a potential game changer for the long running franchise. The trailer teased an especially grim story, which will be a deep dive into Jean Grey's psyche, and the intergalactic force that is trying to take hold of her. It's a plot that was teased a few times Sophie Turner debuted in X-Men: Apocalypse
The Dark Phoenix Saga is one of the most beloved storylines from the X-Men comics. Debuting back in 1976, it was an extended story that spanned a total of 16 issues at that time. Somewhat convoluted but emotionally devastating, Jean fell victim to a few evil forces' influence, before eventually become a living form of rage and fire. That possession puts her beloved X-Men members against her, leaving Scott Summers in the middle of an epic conflict with dire consequences.
Considering how complicated the traditional lore of Jean's struggle with the Dark Phoenix is in the comics, it should be interesting to see how director Simon Kinberg decides to adapt the story for the silver screen. A vague synopsis for the film has been released, and it's already clear that it's not going to be a direct version of the comic book story. The Hellfire Club won't be included, with Jessica Chastain playing a mysterious villain of alien origin.
Still, the title alone shows how much Jean will be the focus of the film, allowing the Dark Phoenix Saga to finally get the live-action adaptation it deserves. We just have to wait and see how successful it is.
Cinephiles and hardcore X-Men fans will recall that this isn't the first time the Dark Phoenix Saga has been adapted for the screen. There have been a few small screen version of the iconic plot line, but perhaps the most well-known is X-Men: The Last Stand. The third film in the X-Men franchise went balls to wall, killing off characters liberally and making character changes that aren't in the comics. This includes the handling of dark Jean Grey, who was a secondary antagonist in the threequel.
Rather than Jean being possessed by an intergalactic force, Famke Janssen's version of Jean apparently had the Phoenix Force inside her all along. The Last Stand opened with a flashback, retconning Jean's dark powers into existence when Professor X and Magneto recruited her for Xavier's Institute.
Jean is somehow saved from her presumed death in X-Men 2, and rises from Alkalai Lake for an unknown reason. Rather than the gentle and sweet hero we came to know, a dark force took over the powerful psychic mutant. She ascended when Scott visited the Lake, and instantly killed him when the two kissed. She was eventually taken down by Logan, although the somewhat random nature of the Phoenix's origin was a disservice to the comic book storyline.
It looks like the X-Men franchise is trying to course correct with Dark Phoenix, giving another go at the beloved comic book storyline. Groundwork was laid back in X-Men: Apocalypse, with Sophie Turner's version of Jean revealed to have hidden power deep within her. It finally manifests in the film's climactic third act, as she unleashes her abilities to destroy Apocalypse once and for all.
Now Simon Kinberg will get to reap the harvest of that set up, and allow Jean to become a terrifying and conflicted force in Dark Phoenix. The project is taking the team to space, which is where Jean ultimately falls victim to the Phoenix Force. This will give Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner the chance to lead a movie of her own, after playing a supporting role in the previous film.
The Dark Phoenix Saga has also been adapted in animated form a few times, starting with 90's animated series X-Men. That multi-episode arc was a very faithful adaptation to the comic books, despite being aimed at kids. It was also adapted into a more modern animated series Wolverine and The X-Men, and was going to be a major plot point in X-Men: Evolution before its cancellation.
While anticipation for Dark Phoenix is certainly present, there are some fans who are nervous about the upcoming X-Men blockbuster. Simon Kinberg's directorial debut has been delayed quite a few times, the most recent setback being just days after the first trailer arrived. This, combined with the fandom's triggering response to the mention of reshoots, has X-Men fans worried about Dark Phoenix's quality. Considering the poor reception from Apocalypse, the pressure is on to deliver a critical success.
All will be revealed when Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters on July 7th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.