Today’s offering rewinds the X-Men franchise all the way back to the beginning. Jean Gray comes to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters as a troubled little girl with tremendous uncontrolled power.  What she becomes – well, the title is the giveaway. Let’s watch (pause the stream before you hit play.)

In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.

This implies that we’ll be seeing the Shi’ar Empire in this film, and possibly even Xavier’s starcrossed love interest Lilandra. We may even see the Kree and the Skrulls, which would be interesting indeed, since the Skrulls figure promintently in the new Captain Marvel film being done by Marvel Studios / Disney. This may also be the film that explains exactly how Xavier loses his ability to walk, and it might be the inflection point where Mystique leaves the X-Men and sides with Magneto. The Dark Phoenix saga in the comics covers a lot of ground, and exactly how much of 

The actors are all returning X-Men movie alumni. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain all return to play their roles as the powerful mutants that make up the team. Notably missing is Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – rather than gamble on recasting the iconic character, the adamantium reinforced cigar chomping hero is simply written out of the film.

The story appears to be in good hands. Marvel legends John Byrne and Chris Claremont are on board as story men, with the late Dave Cockrum credited as well (apparently much of the X-Men cinematic story arc was developed years ago, and we’re still seeing parts of it playing out).

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is directed by Simon Kinberg, a deeply accomplished genre producer, writer and director. The film debuts worldwide Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019.


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