Simon Kinberg Will Direct ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’

Jessica Chastain is also in talks to play Empress Lilandra of the alien Shi'ar in the latest X-Men sequel.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

The X-Men franchise have finally made it all the way back to where they screwed up the first time.

Simon Kinberg will direct the next sequel to the long-running X-Men movie franchise, which will be called X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The filmmaker has been producing the series since 2011’s X-Men: First Class, and co-wrote X-Men: The Last StandX-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. The new X-Men film will be mark Kinberg’s directorial debut.

Deadline also reports that Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) is in talks to co-star in X-Men: Dark Phoenix as Empress Lilandra, a member of the alien Shi’ar race who plays a prominent role in the “Dark Phoenix Saga” in the comic books. Jessica Chastain was previously in talks to co-star in Iron Man Three, but Rebecca Hall eventually took her place on that project, and now X-Men: Dark Phoenix might mark her debut in the superhero movie genre.

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X-Men: The Dark Phoenix will, in case you hadn’t figured it out from the title, tell the long-awaited “Dark Phoenix” storyline from the comic books. Jean Grey, played in the new films by Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), takes center stage in the original tale, when her powers became so destructive that her very existence threatened the fate of the universe.

Bryan Singer teased this storyline way back in X2: X-Men United, but he was abruptly replaced by filmmaker Brett Ratner, whose X-Men: The Last Stand turned the epic comic book saga into a minor subplot. The film was so unpopular that the X-Men movie franchise stalled out and began producing prequels and spin-offs which completely avoided the dealing with the aftermath of The Last Stand, before ultimately retconning all Brett Ratner’s film out of existence with 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse re-introduced Jean Grey back into the X-Men universe and, in that film’s climax, teased the introduction of the Dark Phoenix storyline once again. This time it appears that the studio seems keen on giving the iconic comic book tale the emphasis that so many fans think it deserves, but although many of the X-Men movies are great, many are also very disappointing. It’s hard to tell how excited we should be about this development, but it’s developing nevertheless, and now we know about it.

 

Top Photo: 20th Century Fox

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.