Back in 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past brought the original X-Men film series and the ‘First Class’ series together in a time travel epic that resulted in the timeline being changed and 2023 now being a peaceful time for mutants as opposed to being hunted by Sentinels in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Since then, the main X-Men movies have kept following with the ‘First Class’ characters in the past, with X-Men: Apocalypse being set in 1983 and the upcoming Dark Phoenix being set in 1992.
It’s been all but confirmed that Dark Phoenix will be the final chapter of the X-Men saga that began in 2000, but lest you think this franchise has forgotten about that brighter future ahead for the mutants, director and writer Simon Kinberg stated that he has an idea about how Dark Phoenix will connect to X-Men: Days of Future Past, saying:
I have some sense of it, yes, because I always feel as though I'm sort of responsible for the architecture of this and making sure that it all lines up. So I do have some sense of it, but I really did imagine this movie, in truth, as the culmination of this cycle of X-Men films and so I wasn't really thinking past this film other than wanting to make sure that the logic was all sound.
Whether this means that Dark Phoenix will allude to or establish a direct connection to X-Men: Days of Future Past remains to be seen. However, Simon Kinberg’s comments confirm that rather than X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix establishing yet another separate continuity, which would muddy the X-Men film series mythos even more, these events are still leading towards the future shown at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, while simultaneously serving as the last chapter of this iteration of the franchise.
Of course, let’s not forget that Logan, which takes place in 2029, revealed that no new mutants had been born in the last 25 years, and the X-Men were no more after Professor X suffered a seizure that unleashed a destructive telepathic wave, killing several mutants. So if you assume that Logan is meant to follow after X-Men: Days of Future Past, then the future still doesn’t look good. However, if you’d rather consider Logan a one-off tale set in a separate universe, then things will eventually become better for mutants, or at least the ones under Professor X’s care.
In any case, Simon Kinberg also mentioned during his interview with ScreenRant that it was working on X-Men: Days of Future Past that helped him conceive the idea for Dark Phoenix. Kinberg recalled:
I actually would say that the Dark Phoenix idea was was set up in the end of Days of Future Past. In changing the timeline of Days of Future Past, part of the reason I did that was I wanted a chance to tell the Dark Phoenix story in a more fulsome way where it's really like the full Dark Phoenix story and focuses on Jean's story different than X-Men: The Last Stand.
X-Men: The Last Stand’s adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga was not well-received among fans, particularly because it had to share screen time with the mutant cure storyline. For Dark Phoenix, Jean’s corruption is the main attraction and like the source material, it involves aliens. We’re only a couple weeks away from learning how Dark Phoenix specifically unfolds, but Jean Grey, Beast, Cyclops, Storm and Professor X (among others) are all still alive in 2023, so we at least know they’ll make it out in one piece.
Dark Phoenix opens in theaters on June 7, and if you’re curious about what movies are hitting the big screen this year, look through our 2019 release schedule.