Dark Phoenix writer and director Simon Kinberg has revealed that the next X-Men film is partly inspired by the "Secret Invasion" event in the comics. It's just the latest comment to support longstanding rumors that the movie will see the X-Men encounter Fox's version of the shapeshifting aliens known as the Skrulls.
The film rights to the Skrulls are essentially shared between Fox and Marvel, largely because they're tied to both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four franchises. The MCU version of the Skrulls will be introduced in Captain Marvel, led by Ben Mendelsohn's Talos, but it's long been rumored that Dark Phoenix will feature Fox's own version. And, according to Kinberg, his comic book inspiration for the movie suggests that this may be the case.
Speaking at CCXP 2018 in São Paulo, Brazil (via: Terra Zero), Kinberg appeared to hint that these longstanding rumors may well be true. He explained that, while the plot of Dark Phoenix is partly inspired by the classic "Dark Phoenix" saga, he's also drawn inspiration from other comic book stories. Kinberg specifically singled out the "Secret Invasion" arc, which was a story in which the Skrulls used their shapeshifting powers to infiltrate various Earth power-structures. They carefully manipulated their way into every position of power they could, before systematically bringing down all of Earth's defenders.
This comment definitely suggests that the aliens in Dark Phoenix are shapeshifters, and possibly Skrulls. Interestingly, Sophie Turner went on to confirm that Jessica Chastain's still-mysterious character, believed to be the leader of the aliens, will share a relationship with Jean Grey that is "not so conflictive." There's long been speculation that Chastain's villain is a substitute in some way for the telepath Mastermind, whose predatory psychic powers led Jean Grey to turn into Dark Phoenix in the comics. There may well be some truth to that particular idea too.
Whatever the truth surrounding Chastain's character may be, she's clearly going to take advantage of Jean Grey at a very vulnerable point. Kinberg's comments at CCXP suggest that he uses the Phoenix in manner very much faithful to X-Men writer Chris Claremont's original idea, rather than the "cosmic firebird" retcon. Claremont famously envisioned the Phoenix as what he called a "schizoid personality." In order to fully understand how Jean Grey's mood would be affected by the Phoenix personality, Kinberg and Turner spent hours listening to voices in their heads via electronic devices, and studied the effects of multiple personality disorder on mental health. According to Kinberg, the film is "grounded and emotional" and "probably closest in tone to Logan."
Amusingly enough, when Dark Phoenix finally releases next year, it will most likely be branded as a Disney production. The Disney/Fox acquisition now looks certain to get the go-ahead, and it's due to close on January 1, 2019. The House of Mouse has already promised to release all completed Fox movies, which means that Dark Phoenix will probably be the last Fox-era X-Men film to hit the box office.
Source: Terra Zero
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020