The latest installment of the X-Men franchise is here, and it’s going to be huge.
One of the great pleasures of this new spate of X-Men movies is the opportunity they give us to delve deep into the backstories of some of our favourite characters.
Thanks to Famke Janssen’s turn in the original Noughties X-Men films, we know what the character of Jean Grey is like as an adult. But how did she get to that point? What are the events that made her who she is today?
In Dark Phoenix, we are going to be given a portrait of the mutant as a young woman, played by Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner. In Turner’s hands, Grey is a superhero struggling to come to terms with her powers of telekinesis. She is both terrified and confident, angry and confused, fierce and fallible.
It’s this duality that has always made Jean Grey such a compelling comic book character, and it’s why the world is eagerly awaiting her standalone movie Dark Phoenix. This is everything we know about the film so far:
Is there a new trailer for Dark Phoenix?
There is, and it looks devastatingly sad. We fear that nothing good is going to come for poor Jean Grey in this movie. You can watch it below.
What is the plot of Dark Phoenix?
Dark Phoenix opens on Jean working as a teacher at Professor Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted. She is content and secure, with great relationships and a sense of purpose. She’s happily ensconced in domestic bliss with her boyfriend Scott (Tye Sheridan). “But everything goes haywire when this cosmic force arises,” star Sophie Turner explained at New York Comic Con in 2018.
These cosmic forces come in the form of an alien played by Jessica Chastain, who wants to use Jean’s powers for her own ends.
As if that isn’t enough, it emerges that Xavier (James McAvoy, back again) has been inside Jean’s mind to control her, for reasons unclear. And at the same time Magneto (Michael Fassbender) wants to encourage Jean to cross over to his dark side. The stage is set for an epic battle between good and evil, with Jean caught in the middle.
What is the mental health plotline in Dark Phoenix?
Turner has talked openly about how Jean’s struggle with mental illness and her dual personalities fuels the plot of Dark Phoenix.
“It’s very difficult to manoeuvre, but you just have to think for something like mental illness, there’s something inside you that you’re covering up completely and it’s pushing its way out and it’s going to manifest and show itself,” Turner explained.
“All of a sudden, [Jean] lets go and with what we call the Dark Phoenix, it’s kind of like a release for her. She just lets go and it’s almost like this euphoric thing for her to be what this cosmic force wants her to be.”
Who is in the cast of Dark Phoenix?
Sophie Turner returns as the young Jean Grey in Dark Phoenix. This will be her first role on the big screen after the final season of Game of Thrones airs later this year.
Joining her is the usual crew of actors from this revamped X-Men franchise including Mcavoy, Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Sheridan. Chastain, who plays the movie’s villain, is the film’s major new addition.
Who is the director of Dark Phoenix?
Simon Kinberg is the director of Dark Phoenix, and it’s his first time behind the camera. Before this, he was best known as a scriptwriter, having worked on several previous X-Men movies and action films including Mr and Mrs Smith.
Is that a spoiler in the trailer?
Yes. It would appear that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is going to die in Dark Phoenix. The opening scene of the trailer depicts Jean sobbing in the rain, staring at her hands.
“Why did you make me do that?” she asks. “She was my friend!”
Moments later, Jean is shown using her powers to throw Mystique across a field. Vale Mystique: you were one of our favourite X-Men characters. But it would appear that you are no longer of this world.
What’s the relationship between Dark Phoenix and Last Stand?
Both Dark Phoenix and Last Stand deal with the concept of Jean Grey’s Phoenix alter-ego, or the powerful force within her that Professor Charles Xavier has suppressed.
As Phoenix, Jean’s strength is other-worldly and godlike, and she has the fire power to destroy all in her path. The mutants learn that Phoenix is not Jean, and that the woman that they once loved and fought beside has now become a figure of darkness.
Spoiler alert, but Last Stand ends when Wolverine kills Phoenix once and for all. But thanks to all the time travelling in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the franchise has given itself the opportunity to revisit the Phoenix storyline in a new way. (Don’t worry, our brains hurt thinking about this timeline, too.)
So, like Last Stand, Dark Phoenix will explore the duality of Jean’s personality and the struggle within her between good and evil.
But unlike Last Stand, Dark Phoenix is going to give the narrative power over to the character of Jean herself. She won’t be caught in a love triangle, as she was for most of the original X-Men franchise. Instead, Dark Phoenix is going to give Jean the chance to tell her own story.
When is the release date of Dark Phoenix?
Dark Phoenix will be released in the US on 6 June and in the UK on 7 June.
Images: 20th Century Fox