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Dark Phoenix Director Explains the Creation of Jessica Chastain's Character

Jessica Chastain as Smith closeup in X-Men Dark Phoenix

The director of X-Men: Dark Phoenix recently explained the creation of Jessica Chastain's character in the movie. After a series of rumors about her casting, Chastain finally confirmed her involvement with Dark Phoenix in 2017, hinting that she would portray one of the film's main villains.

Since that announcement, there has been a lot of conjecture about the nature of Chastain's character. Although early reports suggested she would be playing Princess-Majestrix Lilandra Neramani, the empress of an alien empire, it was later revealed that Chastain's role is that of "an otherworldly shapeshifter who comes into contact with Phoenix." The going theory is that the character has something to do with the Skrulls, an alien shapeshifting race most recently introduced in Captain Marvel. In the X-Men comics, the Skrulls play a small role in the Dark Phoenix story, as one of several alien races who end up taking a vote on how to deal with the threat of Phoenix. The only other detail to emerge about Chastain's role is that she's an original character that is a mix of different characters from the comics.

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Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg recently confirmed the character's creation to ScreenRant and revealed his inspiration for Chastain's villain.

"I will say that there's a lot of influences for the character Jessica Chastain is playing in the movie. I really looked at all of the different characters in the Dark Phoenix Saga that Chris [Claremont] created. I looked at the Dark Phoenix story in the cartoons, because for a lot of people, that's the way that they first experienced and primarily experienced the X-Men before the movies was the cartoons. That was even true for some of our filmmakers. Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn both were sort of more connected to the cartoons then they were the comics. So, I looked at all the different iterations of the Dark Phoenix story over the years and I essentially created a villain character that had elements, let's just say for lack of a better description, elements from the stars and elements from Earth."

The Dark Phoenix saga was initially an extended plot in the X-Men comic books. In those stories, Jean Grey gets exposed to the radiation of a solar flare, which heightens her power and reforms her into Phoenix. Although Jean does learn to restrain her power, the villain Mastermind manipulates her and drives her insane, turning her into Dark Phoenix, a being of nearly unlimited power. Dark Phoenix not only consumes the power of a star, but destroys a solar system. Jean ends up sacrificing herself to save the world from that power. Although the Dark Phoenix story received a brief amount of time in X-Men: The Last Stand, most fans didn't feel the film did the story justice. Even the actress who portrayed Jean at the time, Famke Janssen, recently revealed she hopes Dark Phoenix will fix the mistakes made with the character in The Last Stand.

Because of Disney's recent acquisition of Fox, the X-Men's future on film is up in the air. This means Dark Phoenix could be the final film in the current X-Men franchise. Fans can only hope that Dark Phoenix sends off  the series with a bang, rather than a whimper.

More: X-Men Theory: Jessica Chastain Is The Real Dark Phoenix Force

Key Release Dates
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
  • New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
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