Both Films (Probably) Involve the Skrulls
Incredibly, both Captain Marvel and Dark Phoenix are expected to feature the same ruthless alien race - the shapeshifters known as the Skrulls. In the case of Dark Phoenix, that's quite a remarkable twist, since the X-Men films have so far tended to avoid the more fantastical elements of the superhero genre. And yet, it's been confirmed that Jessica Chastain is playing "an otherworldly shapeshifter who comes into contact with Phoenix." That certainly fits with rumors that the manipulative aliens will be making their presence felt in next year's X-Men movie.
In contrast, Captain Marvel was always going to be a cosmic adventure. The titular hero gains her powers after exposure to alien energy, her origin story is intimately tied to an alien race known as the Kree, and in the comics they've been locked in a state of war with the Skrulls for over a thousand years. That conflict ultimately led to a comic book arc known as The Kree-Skrull War, which will serve as inspiration for the film.
This strange coincidence is possible because the film rights to the Skrulls are actually shared between Marvel and Fox. Although some specific Skrulls are licensed only to Fox - probably including Fantastic Four villain the Super-Skrull - both studios have the option of including the aliens in their superhero movies. They'll probably handle them in very different ways, though; in Captain Marvel the Skrulls appear set on invading the Earth, whereas in Dark Phoenix their attention is focused upon Jean Grey.
Both Films Have the Lead Misled by an Alien Force
In thematic terms, the idea of deception and betrayal appears to be key to both movies. As the trailer for Dark Phoenix makes clear, Jessica Chastain's still-unnamed villain appears to be encouraging Jean to unleash the full power of the Phoenix Force. We haven't yet had even a hint of her motive, but it could be that she hopes to use the Phoenix to wipe out the entire human race; in the comics, the Skrulls have often considered humanity a threat, concerned at the sheer number of superhumans and prejudiced against mutants. Whatever the reason for the villain's actions may be, the fact remains that she's attempting to manipulate Jean.
In Captain Marvel, though, the first trailer strongly implied that the shapeshifting Skrulls aren't the ones messing with Carol's head. Instead, the trailer suggests that Jude Law's still-unnamed Kree commander has implanted false memories within Carol's mind, manipulating her into serving as a member of the Kree Starforce. When she arrives on Earth, Carol realizes that she finds the world strangely familiar, and begins to realize that she's been lied to.
But are the two heroes just being lied to by aliens? Simon Kinberg has hinted that Jean has actually been manipulated by Charles Xavier. "Charles has been hiding secrets about Jean’s past from her that get revealed over the span of the movie," Kinberg told Empire. The trailer certainly implied that Xavier had repressed Jean's emotions, but could he also have adjusted her memories so she didn't realize her own powers were responsible for the car accident that killed her parents?
Both Were Meant to Be Released in 2018
And here's one final, amusing similarity: both Captain Marvel and Dark Phoenix were originally slated to release in 2018, but were pushed back. Kevin Feige announced Captain Marvel back in 2014, giving it an initial release date of July 6, 2018. Marvel restructured their entire Phase 3 slate in light of the Spider-Man deal with Sony, and Captain Marvel initially moved back to November 2, 2018. They subsequently changed the release again, to March 8, 2019.
Dark Phoenix was originally assigned a release date of November 2, 2018, but hit problems due to additional photography. The movie has a large cast of A-list actors including the likes of James McAvoy, Sophie Turner, and Jennifer Lawrence; scheduling conflicts meant Fox couldn't get the cast together for reshoots until August or September - far too close to the theatrical release for comfort. With the rest of 2018 pretty crowded in terms of competition, Fox chose to move it back to February 14, 2019, a slot that proved successful for Deadpool and Black Panther. Now Dark Phoenix has been moved back again, to June 2019, so Captain Marvel will be first out of the gate... and we'll have to wait a little longer to see if the movies have anything else in common.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020