Following the new photos from X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which offered our first look at Jessica Chastain's villain character, new plot details have surfaced. The latest report from Entertainment Weekly teases that the movie will feature some of the biggest set pieces in X-Men franchise history, the mutants' first trip to outer space along with, according to EW, "a massive twist halfway through that will irrevocably change the course of the franchise." Sadly, no further details were given regarding said twist, but James McAvoy revealed that this is the darkest X-Men movie yet.
"This is probably the most emotional X-Men we've done and the most pathos-driven. There's a lot of sacrifice and a lot of suffering."
While nothing about this twist has been revealed, there was a rumor that surfaced last month which revealed that writer-director Simon Kinberg intends to show just how powerful the Dark Phoenix is, by having her kill off one major character that has been with the franchise since the beginning, which narrows it down to the younger, prequel versions of Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult). There has been no indication as to which character it may be, and since this report was never confirmed, it's possible this isn't the massive twist that was hinted, but it certainly is one possibility. The movie also marks Simon Kinberg's directing debut, with the filmmaker revealing he just couldn't hand this story off to someone else.
"[The film] was so clear in my head, emotionally and visually, that it would have killed me to hand this to somebody else to direct."
Simon Kinberg is basically coming full circle with this story, since he wrote the screenplay for X-Men: The Last Stand, which at first was completely about the Dark Phoenix story, until studio pressure forced him to cram that story into a subplot. This new story is set in the year 1992, roughly 10 years after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, where all of the mutants such as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters), have become national heroes, with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) even landing on the cover of Time Magazine. The team is dispatched into outer space for a rescue mission, when a solar flare strikes the X-Jet and ignites The Dark Phoenix within Jean Grey (Sophie Turner). Here's what Simon Kinberg has to say about this new and not-so-improved Professor X.
"Pride is starting to get the better of him, and he is pushing the X-Men to more extreme missions."
The story ultimately centers on the fight for Jean Grey's soul, as the Dark Phoenix threatens to take over and divide her from the team, particularly Charles Xavier. Sophie Turner revealed she studied schizophrenia and multiple personality disorders to prepare for this performance. Here's what she had to say about what's happening to Jean Grey.
"It's about the butterfly effect of this thing happening. What happens when the person you love the most falls into darkness?"
As for the production itself, it was described as rather calm, the opposite of a typical X-Men production which are reportedly often fraught with chaos. During the wave of sexual harassment and assault claims that have been levied over the past few months, one of them came from Ellen Page, who accused director Brett Ratner of homophobic and abusive behavior on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand, while Bryan Singer has come under fire for his unusual behavior, after he reportedly disappeared for several days on X-Men: Apocalypse, a pattern he repeated on Bohemian Rhapsody which got him fired. Jennifer Lawrence reveals that the experience was "unrecognizable," and that instead of being "fun amidst chaos," this movie was just fun. Franchise newcomer Jessica Chastain also chimed in with her experience on the set.
"I had heard stories of these sets. But working with Simon and Hutch and Sophie was the most loving, strong, happy set."
Aside from Jessica Chastain, other franchise newcomers include Halston Sage as Dazzler, Summer Fontana as a young Jean Grey, Scott Shepherd as Dr. John Grey and Lamar Johnson in an unspecified role. 20th Century Fox has set a November 2, 2018 release date for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which will go up against Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and an untitled Paramount event film. You can check out Entertainment Weekly for more on their X-Men: Dark Phoenix coverage.