The X-Men franchise is at something of a crossroads, with respect to where 20th Century Fox will take the property next on the big screen. 2016’s Deadpool was highly successful and steered clear of the mainline X-Men film narrative, whereas last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse was met with mixed reception; despite the largely positive response to its two previous installments in the First Class trilogy and the infusion of a new, young cast of mutants. As such, Fox is now moving full speed head with spinoffs in the forms of Deadpool 2 and a different young X-Men team adventure, New Mutants.
As for the future of the central X-Men films; the ending to Apocalypse did set up a number of possibilities. One of the potential stories that has been teased for some time is a second attempt at the Dark Phoenix storyline in the X-Men movie universe. Now, following reports that the next mainline X-Men film is titled X-Men: Supernova, the working title for the movie suggest that a “Dark Phoenix 2.0” storyline is indeed in the work.
Production Weekly is reporting that Supernova (as it’s known for now) is operating under the working title “Dark Phoenix.” Not only is this an obvious reference to the aforementioned X-Men story, it also indicates that this project is in fact happening and is separate from New Mutants. The working title also indicates that Fox is close to green-lighting the film, despite having no cast members nor a director officially onboard, at this time.
Following the news that Supernova should be the next film in the core X-Men series, we speculated that “Dark Phoenix 2.0” is, in fact, on the way. Not only would this give Fox a chance to do a proper live-action adaptation of the comic book story after X-Men: The Last Stand‘s poorly-received attempt, it would also give Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey a prominent role in Supernova. This is not a complete surprise either, seeing the third act of Apocalypse shows Turner’s Jean Grey tapping into her Phoenix powers.
Based on previous comments by writer/producer Simon Kinberg, Supernova may continue the recent trend of 10 year jumps between X-Men films and take place in the 1990s (possibly putting it alongside New Mutants chronologically). Frequent X-Men helmsman Bryan Singer is not expected to return as director on Supernova, though it’s been reported that First Class trilogy stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence might all appear in some capacity.
McAvoy, in particular, is expected to reprise his role as Charles Xavier/Professor X in New Mutants, so it wouldn’t require a huge stretch of the imagination to think McAvoy could appear in both New Mutants and Supernova (seeing as the actor continues to express his interest in playing Professor X again). If that happens and Supernova does explore the Dark Phoenix storyline, then hopefully things will work out better for McAvoy’s Xavier than they did Patrick Stewart’s Professor X in The Last Stand.
X-Men: Supernova is reportedly in development, but has no official release date.