Jennifer Lawrence Wouldn't Return For Dark Phoenix Unless Simon Kinberg Directed, He Says

Jennifer Lawrence Mystique in plane Dark Phoenix

After writing and producing several of the X-Men movies, Simon Kinberg finally sits in the director's chair for Dark Phoenix, the last film of Fox's superhero franchise. This is Kinberg's feature debut, and while taking on the final film in the saga may seem like a daunting task for a first time director, Kinberg had full support from the cast. In fact, Jennifer Lawrence apparently wouldn't return as Mystique unless he was the director, Kinberg recently said.

Since X-Men: First Class, the X-Men franchise has been led by Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Nicholas Hoult. The actors signed deals for three movies, and it was unclear if any of them would return for Dark Phoenix after X-Men: Apocalypse. Eventually, all of them eventually signed on for one more ride, and while it was unclear to all of us what was going to happen, Kinberg didn't doubt they'd be back.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Simon Kinberg revealed that they had always written drafts of the script expecting the actors to return. Kinberg knew they would be back because they had told him they would as long as he directed.

We presumed the First Class core cast — Fassbender, McAvoy Jennifer, and Nic [Hoult] were coming back for this film. Part of the reason I presumed that was at the end of finishing X-Men: Apocalypse, when it was clear Bryan Singer was not going to direct the next movie, it was the actors that approached me about directing the next of the X-Men movies. Jennifer especially. Jen said she wouldn’t come back for another movie unless I directed it. So, I had a lot of support from them.

With Bryan Singer -- who is the subject of multiple cases of alleged sexual assault on minors -- not returning for Dark Phoenix, Simon Kinberg was the logical choice to take the reins. He likely knows these characters inside and out, and the actors clearly had an admiration for him if he's the whole reason they came back.

Ultimately, everyone is back for one last hurrah. While this will be the last of Fox's X-Men movies, it wasn't always clear that would be the case. The Disney-Fox merger seemed to put an expiration date on the franchise, but according to Simon Kinberg, he went into it knowing that this would likely be the end.

I feel as though the notion of this being the last of this cycle of X-Men movies is tied for a lot of people, at least in the industry, to the Disney-Fox merger. In truth, when I sat down to write this movie, which was three years ago, I thought about it as the culmination of this cycle of X-Men movies.

The X-Men will one day be seen in the MCU, but until then, Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters on June 7.

Matt Wood

Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.