The X-Men movies have a long and storied past at the box office and show no signs of slowing down. Following the original trilogy’s conclusion with The Last Stand the movies decided down the prequel route with First Class before crossing them over for arguably the best (and certainly top 3) X-Men flick with Days of Future Past. This continued with the lukewarm Apocolypse, which brought original team members Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler back into the fold.
Bryan Singer, director of X-Men, X-Men 2, Days of Future Past and Apocolypse is out. He’s tapped to direct the big budget Freddie Mercury biopic, even if it’s still having trouble locking down a leading man. So the search was on to find a director for the seventh core chapter of the series (excluding the Wolverine trilogy and Deadpool).
Enter Simon Kinberg. If you know the name it’s because he’s been a psuedo-Kevin Fiege for Fox in the last six or so years. He’s produced every Fox Marvel property since First Class and has cut his teeth on producing medium-budget popcorn flicks like Let’s Be Cops, Chappie, Elysium and the silly Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. More recently he’s taken on more serious stuff, with The Martian, the Cinderella reboot and Murder on the Orient Express.
And even though he hasn’t directed before it should give you hope. He’s writing, producing and directing the whole flick himself. That’s usually a good sign.
The title of the film is X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and will retell the story of Jean Grey and the title character. While it is sure to be better than X-Men: The Last Stand it is still a repeat and that is worrying.
In better news, and frankly surprising news, the original four stars of the prequel series are back for more after their three-film contracts expired. James McAvoy was more than likely to return as icon Professor X to anchor the new cast and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto was on the fence the whole time, but nobody in the world thought that Jennifer Lawrence would be back. She’s spoken before a pledge between the three to return, and maybe it’s only a minor role, but her name on the poster means bums on seats and a better ending for her character than whatever Apocolypse was.
In fact it’s more likely it’s quid quo pro to fund more Christmas time Oscar bait (Silver Linings Playbook, Serena, Joy) or a Mystique spin off a la Deadpool or Logan. She’s still one of the busiest people in Hollywood, with a Spielberg biopic, an Amy Schumer comedy and a reteam with her Hunger Games director for a spy movie all in the works. It’s strange she hasn’t departed, but it’s welcome news for Fox and fans of the X-Men.
Also back is Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops and Kodi-Smit McPhee as Nightcrawler. Jessica Chastain is in talks for the villian but outlier Angelina Jolie may walk in and steal it from her. X-Men Dark Phoenix hits theatres this time next year.