The superhero genre is in an interesting place right now, as there are a ton of moving parts coming from the myriad studios producing comic book adaptations. The Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it will end with Avengers: Endgame, while Dark Phoenix may be the swan song of the long running X-Men franchise. Because with Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox is official, with the House of Mouse in control of all future X-Men projects.
Comic book fans are eager to see the X-Men join the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, although it's unclear how/when that might happen. Will Disney utilize some of the current cast, or start totally fresh with the iconic mutants? Alexandra Shipp is the current Storm of the X-Men franchise, set to reprise her role in Dark Phoenix. But she's not sure she'd want to join the MCU, believing it would push her character further into the background. As she recently put it:
I would and I wouldn’t, because Storm barely has anything to say as it is. I don’t know about you all (other actors) but like we never talk. So it would be really nice if we weren’t piled into yet another jam packed cast, in which you only see me in the back of the shot like fucking sasquatch.
Well, that's one way of putting it. Sasquatch aside, Storm hasn't typically been the protagonist of the X-Men movies. So Alexandra Shipp may have valid concerns about joining an even bigger pool of iconic heroes.
Alexandra Shipp's comments come from a recent round table discussion at WonderCon (via LRM). While gearing up for her second appearance as Storm in the X-Men franchise, she also took the time to lament the character's fate in the franchise overall. While the Weather Witch is an iconic character that has already appeared an impressive five times in live-action, Ororo Munroe has never really taken the spotlight onscreen. That isn't expected to change in Dark Phoenix either, at least if Shipp's statements are any indication.
The Love, Simon actress does have a point, and highlights the potential problem with bringing the X-Men to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU has grown exponentially over the first decade of filmmaking, and there are a ton of heroes already in play. Just look as the massive ensemble cast of Avengers: Infinity War. And while some OG Avengers are set to depart the franchise after Endgame, there still doesn't seem to be enough room to add a large group of heroes into the mix. Even ones as iconic as the X-Men.
Storm is a beloved X-Man, and one that has had a fascinating life in theaters. While she's been more of a supporting character in the X-Men franchise, perhaps she could become a larger presence once the character is brought into the MCU. Although whether or not Alexandra Shipp will be offered the opportunity to stay on (and whether she'd take it) is another conversation entirely.
Alexandra Shipp's comments about Storm are brutally honest, but she's not wrong. The mutant character may have been in the X-Men franchise since Bryan Singer's original 2000 flick, but that doesn't mean she's gotten nearly as much screen time as Wolverine or Jean Grey. Originally played by Halle Berry, she was a supporting presence in the first two X-Men movies, failing to really progress or develop as a character. And while Scott and Professor X's deaths in X-Men: The Last Stand let Berry get a few more lines, the character still didn't really go anywhere.
X-Men: Apocalypse welcomed Alexandra Shipp's version of the character, as a younger mutant girl trying to survive in Egypt. After being given more power by the titular villain, Storm was one of Apocalypse's four horsemen of death, helping him in his quest to end the world. But she eventually saw the error in her ways, and joined the good guys in the final moments of the battle. She was last seen in the Danger Room with the new team of X-Men as Apocalypse concluded.
Despite having only one movie under her belt, Storm's showing in Apocalypse is arguably the most complex version we've gotten on screen. It should be interesting to see how Ororo Munroe changes during the course of Dark Phoenix. She's been with the team for a decade, so Storm should have specific relationships with each of her fellow mutants. And when the Phoenix Force takes control of Jean Grey, the conflict will split the X-Men.
Alexandra Shipp has teased that Storm will get to really unleash her weather manipulation mutation during Dark Phoenix, so we should expect some pulse pounding action from the upcoming blockbuster. She's been shown flying and firing electric bolts from her hands, and mourning during Mystique's funeral at the X-Mansion. She also has a chilling warning in a recent trailer, teasing she may be against Jean once dark cosmic power consumes her.
It should be fascinating to see what Marvel Studios ends up doing with the X-Men, now that Disney has the rights to the characters. Will they slowly trickle in mutant characters to existing franchises, like the founding Avengers were individually introduced before their crossover movie? Or will the studio go the more classic route, and assemble a new class of X-Men to introduce in an ensemble film? The MCU managed to start a new Spider-Man franchise just years after the Andrew Garfield movies, so anything is possible.
Dark Phoenix is hitting theaters this June, but it's unclear if any other planned X-Men movies will ever make it to theaters. This includes Josh Boone's The New Mutants, which has already been pushed back a number of times. The horror inspired blockbuster has yet to commence reshoots, and not even the cast seems to know what's going on how if/when the movie will be released. With Disney+ starting up shortly, some believe New Mutants may end up on the streaming platform. But hopefully reshoots will occur first, so the film could be actually completed.
Alexandra Shipp will make her sophomore appearance as Storm in Dark Phoenix on June 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.