Speaking in a discussion about the Dark Phoenix trailer, director Simon Kinberg has discussed how Jean's encounter with the Phoenix will transform her in the film - and just why she's so vulnerable to this cosmic force.
The first trailer for Dark Phoenix has finally given viewers a glimpse of what will probably be the last of Fox's tentpole X-Men movies. It promises to be an intense, character-focused superhero story that's centered around Sophie Turner's Jean Grey. A mission into the depths of space exposes Jean to the cosmic energy of the Phoenix Force, and she seems to be transformed into the film's antagonist - potentially even killing one of her fellow X-Men.
Kinberg has conducted a trailer breakdown with Empire, and, as part of that, he's lifted the fold on just what happened to Jean in space - and why exposure to the Phoenix Force has such a dramatic effect upon the young mutant. As he explained:
"The question of Jean’s relationship to her own powers becomes a big conflict for her throughout the film once she’s transformed by something that happens up in space, that has nothing to do with her childhood. It opens with a mission that takes them up into space that has consequences for Jean that ripple throughout the movie."
According to Kinberg, in the depths of space Jean encounters a cosmic force that she thinks she understands - but she really doesn't. "She thinks [the Phoenix Force] is one thing," Kinberg observed, "and over the course of the movie realizes is something far different, that our human science can't explain." While the cast and crew have previously been at pains to stress that Dark Phoenix is a grounded film, with Tye Sheridan comparing it to a drama rather than a traditional superhero story, Kinberg stressed that the stakes are high. "She needs to find a way to control it or she'll destroy more than just her friends - and even our planet."
The trailer showed Jean curling up into a fetal position, symbolically reborn in Phoenix Fire. Unfortunately, it looks as though that experience forces Jean to deal with parts of herself that she's repressed for a long time - including secrets that Charles Xavier has hidden from her for years. Jean is left reeling, struggling to deal with the flood of painful emotions, and as a result she's in danger of going completely out of control. The trailer strongly implies that she even kills one of the X-Men when she cuts loose with her powers.
One scene in the trailer showed Jean's face, streaked with white lines as the Phoenix Fire starts to break through her mortal shell. Kinberg explained that this is just a step along the way to Jean becoming Dark Phoenix; "That’s a two or a three on the Dark Phoenix spectrum," he quipped. The lines on her face are symbolic, a visual indication that she's losing control and that the unlimited power of the Phoenix Force is struggling to get out of her body.
Dark Phoenix definitely sounds unlike any other X-Men film to date. On the one hand, the stakes are incredibly high - according to Kinberg, this film has a breadth that spans "beyond our planet, even beyond our galaxy." At the same time, though, the drama is driven by a very personal, very intimate story of a woman who's desperately seeking redemption. It will be exciting to see how it all plays out.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020