While many fans were disappointed with last year's X-Men: Apocalypse, it appears as if it won't be the final adventure for the rebooted "First Class" mutants. A lot of separate announcements were made this week confirming that there will indeed be another X-Men film proper, titled X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and we've rounded up all of the news into one post to make everything easier to digest. Hold on, there's a lot of info coming your way...
The Cast, Even the Big Names, Are All Returning
We all thought that nothing short of Fox driving a literal dump truck full of money up to the houses of Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender would get those two back for another X-Men movie, but it looks like Fox must have dusted off their finest dump trucks. Deadline is reporting that Lawrence (Mystique) and Fassbender (Magneto), along with James McAvoy (Professor X), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), and Tye Sheridan (Cyclops) will all be returning for the film.
A Veteran X-Men Writer/Producer is Making His Directorial Debut
Also mentioned in that Deadline article, veteran series producer Simon Kinberg will be making his directorial debut with Dark Phoenix. If that name sounds familiar, he's been involved with every X-Men film—excluding the first two Wolverine spin-offs—since 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. Kinberg co-wrote Last Stand, First Class, Days of Future Past, Apocalypse, and will be writing Dark Phoenix, and he's also served as a producer on all of those films as well as this year's Logan.
Kinberg also has some impressive geek credentials, serving as a writer on Star Wars: Rebels, and garnering an Oscar nomination as one of the producers of 2015's The Martian. And to top it all off, he has the blessing of former series director Bryan Singer who is seen passing the torch to Kinberg in that Instagram post above.
Jessica Chastain is in Talks to Play the Villain
Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain is at the top of the list right now to play the villain in the film. There's a nice bit of symbiosis here as well, as Chastain starred with X-Men: Apocalypse villain Oscar Isaac in 2014's massively underrated A Most Violent Year. Maybe she'll call up her former co-star and ask his opinion before signing. If cast, Chastain would be playing Empress Lilandra, a member of the Shi'ar royal family and former member of the awesomely named villains The Starjammers. This would be keeping with comic continuity, as Lilandra came into conflict with Jean Grey when she was turned into the Dark Phoenix and slaughtered an entire planet of Lilandra's Shi'ar race. It's a lot more complicated than that, actually, but those are the basics.
The Film Will Be Set in a Year with Huge Importance to X-Fans
In keeping with the newfound tradition of jumping ahead to the next decade with every X-adventure, a writer for Omega Underground has confirmed that the film will be set in 1991. This puts it eight years out from the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, but fans of the comics know that 1991 was the year that Jim Lee took over and basically turned the X-Men into what we know today. Yes, they were around before that and doing lots of stuff, but the X-Men who have entered into the cultural zeitgeist are the ones shaped and molded by Lee. His blue and yellow spandex designs influenced the animated series, which in turn influenced just about everything we now know about Marvel's mutants.
There's a lot here to digest, and more information is sure to come in the next few months. The planned release date for X-Men: Dark Phoenix is November 2, 2018, which puts the film less than 18 months away from release. Let's hope it all comes together quickly!