The new X-Men: Dark Phoenix poster shows that Sophie Turner's Jean Grey is increasingly looking like Famke Janssen's Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand - and that's not a good thing. Turner was introduced as the new version of Jean Grey in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, which clearly set up a version of the classic "Dark Phoenix Saga" when Jean unleashed her power and destroyed Apocalypse.
In the comics, the "Dark Phoenix Saga" was the story of Jean Grey's fall from grace. Legendary X-Men scribe Chris Claremont originally conceived the Phoenix as what he called a "schizoid entity," a fracturing of Jean's mind that possessed all her powers and none of her limitations. An encounter with a solar flare caused Jean to use her abilities to an extent she'd never attempted before, unlocking the Phoenix persona. Tragically, in the "Dark Phoenix Saga," Phoenix was corrupted by a powerful mutant and Jean ultimately committed suicide to prevent her causing any more destruction. This is generally seen as one of the most powerful comic book stories of all-time, even if it was later heavily retconned; Marvel famously revealed that Jean had secretly been replaced by the cosmic Phoenix Force, absolving her of guilt for the Dark Phoenix's actions.
Fox has already attempted to adapt the "Dark Phoenix Saga" for the big screen once before, in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, but that didn't go too well. Concerningly, Dark Phoenix really is beginning to look as though writer-director Simon Kinberg is simply attempting to redeem himself by proving he can do the story justice the second time round. The latest Dark Phoenix poster shows Jean's Dark Phoenix identity wearing a distinctive red coat, deliberately evoking memories of The Last Stand.
The long, sweeping red coat is reminiscent of the one Janssen wore when she played Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand. While it wouldn't have been surprising to see that look appear as an Easter egg in Dark Phoenix at some point, it's surprising to see it appear so prominently in the film's marketing. Meanwhile, the poster also indicates another thematic similarity between Kinberg's first stab at the "Dark Phoenix Saga." It's clear that Xavier and Magneto are each attempting to influence Jean, with Magneto working to unleash Dark Phoenix.
It's long been clear that there will be similarities between the two X-Men movies. Once more, Charles Xavier has kept Jean's true potential hidden, using his psychic powers to repress the Phoenix persona. Again, this doesn't go well. With Xavier heavily criticized for his actions, Jean Grey joins Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Jean killed Charles Xavier when they visited her parents' home; in Dark Phoenix, the first trailer hinted that Jean kills Mystique in a clash outside her parents' home. It's one thing for there to be similarities, though. It's another for the film's marketing to make those similarities quite so explicit. X-Men: The Last Stand is not remembered fondly, and Fox would probably be wiser not to remind viewers of it when marketing Dark Phoenix.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020