The X-Men are some of Marvel Comics' most popular character. The team of mutants made it to the big screen before superhero movies became commonplace, and had a long tenure in theaters. In fact, the X-Men franchise went so long that the iconic Dark Phoenix plot line was adapted for two different blockbusters, mostly recently in Simon Kinberg's appropriately titled Dark Phoenix. And now the director/producer has explained how that comic book arc could properly be adapted with OG Jean Grey actress Famke Janssen.
The X-Men franchise began with Bryan Singer's original 2000 blockbuster, which also featured Fame Janssen's debut as Jean Grey. She'd go on to play the role in all three installments of the original trilogy, as well as The Wolverine and a brief cameo in Days of Future Past. The role eventually was handed down to Game of Thrones alum Sophie Turner, but Simon Kinberg has an idea to flesh out the Dark Phoenix story and bring back Janssen in the process. As he put it,
It's possible that... in the alternate universe... because it would've been about ten, fifteen years since The Last Stand, you could do Dark Phoenix with Famke. And you could do it with the Hellfire Club, and you could do it I think with the screen time it necessitates because it's such a complex storyline. You'd probably want a two-part movie: you'd want to bring the Hellfire Club in; you'd want it to be truly intergalactic; you'd want to bring in Lilandra; you'd want to really tell it that way. And I think you'd need at least one bridge movie this [Days of Future Past] and the beginning of that [Dark Phoenix]. But the maturity of those actors and the history that goes back would've been 25 years - at this point. 20 years since X1 - could've been really interesting.
Well, that's definitely a big plan for the Dark Phoenix story. And despite two prior attempts at bringing Jean Grey's most iconic comic book plot line to the big screen, it looks like the third time could be the charm. And fans would no doubt be thrilled to see Famke Janssen return as the beloved mutant.
Simon Kinberg's comments come from a recent watch party for X-Men: Days of Future Past over on IGN. Kinberg has a long history with the X-Men franchise, working as a producer on every single installment in the franchise starting with The Last Stand aka the first time the Dark Phoenix story was attempted in movie form. He's worked with every cast of the X-Men throughout the years, and obviously nows the property well.
The Dark Phoenix Saga from the comics is a long and complicated one, involving outer space as well as mutant threats on Earth. Both X-Men The Last Stand and Dark Phoenix attempted to simplify this story, which Simon Kinberg seems to believe was a misstep. Instead, he thinks the story should be split into two movies, both starring Famke Jenssen. This would allow the Hellfire Club to be fleshed out, as well as Lilandra and the Phoenix Force.
Producing a pair of movies to properly adapt the Dark Phoenix story into film makes a great deal of sense, its just a shame that this approach wasn't taken while the X-Men franchise and 20th Century Fox were still independent. Disney's acquisition of Fox seemingly ended the X-Men movies, and there's no indication as to if/when the team will eventually join the MCU.
The final installment in the X-Men franchise as know it is The New Mutants, which is currently set to arrive in theaters on August 28th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.