A new X-Men: Dark Phoenix cast photo has emerged online as production on the upcoming sequel ramps up. The forthcoming fourth installment in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men prequel series takes place years after the events of Bryan Singer’s last installment, X-Men: Apocalypse, and it leads the franchise in a new direction. Not only does the studio plan on going cosmic with the series, but they are also taking another stab at adapting the iconic Dark Phoenix Saga, something they last attempted with Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand.

Dark Phoenix takes place in the ’90s and there are plans to bring the Shi’ar Empire into the fold, possibly with Jessica Chastain playing the empire’s villainous Empress, Princess-Majestrix Lilandra Neramani, though that casting has not yet been confirmed. As they enter pre-production, casting announcements (some which have been debunked) have been coming out of left field, such as the possibility that Angelina Jolie could also be joining Fox’s X-Men universe.

While there hasn’t been any official news on that front (which is something audiences should expect to hear more about at San Diego Comic-Con next month), the principal cast members that have been confirmed to return for X-Men: Dark Phoenix recently gathered together, and they snapped the movie’s first cast photo (below). Among those present are Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), James McAvoy (Professor X), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), and Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), as well as writer/director Simon Kinberg, franchise producer Hutch Parker, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau (center). Take a look:

Although the aforementioned actors and actresses are certainly appearing in the upcoming sequel, they may not be the only people starring in Dark Phoenix. The creative team are still in the casting process, and more people are expected to eventually join the lineup. Of course, audiences may not hear about those castings until much later on, when principal photography commences later this year.

What’s interesting, though, is the fact that Trudeau was also present at the informal gathering. The thing is, Trudeau may not have had lunch with the main cast members of Dark Phoenix just for kicks; there’s the possibility that he could actually make an appearance in the upcoming sequel. After all, the X-Men have a long-standing history with Canada, as well as having worked with its government on occasion. We’ve already seen the team work alongside the U.S. government (specifically with CIA’s Agent MacTaggert), so it’s not far-fetched to believe that they would also team-up with Canada.

It’s also worth noting that Trudeau made his debut comic book appearance in the Marvel Universe in Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5 last year, when the Canadian superhero team, Alpha Flight, approached the prime minister for advice regarding the use of premonition superpowers to prevent future crime (a la Minority Report) — the prime instigator in Marvel’s Civil War sequel series.

NEXT: X-Men’s Shi’ar Empire Explained

Source: James McAvoy

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