Warning: SPOILERS Below for Dark Phoenix:
Dark Phoenix seems to be copying a lot of plot points that were also used in X-Men: The Last Stand. Writer-director Simon Kinberg is taking his second stab at adapting the classic X-Men story The Dark Phoenix Saga and he is repeating several key elements that fans saw in Brett Ratner's The Last Stand, which Kinberg co-wrote.
X-Men: The Last Stand mashed together the stories of The Dark Phoenix Saga with Joss Whedon's Gifted story arc. Bryan Singer's X2: X-Men United killed off Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), which set up her resurrection as the Dark Phoenix in the third film. However, that story ended up taking a back seat to Whedon's tale of the mutants fighting against a cure for the X-Gene that the humans wanted to use against them. For years, both Kinberg and the fans regretted how poorly The Dark Phoenix Saga was adapted in Ratner's film, so Dark Phoenix is Kinberg's attempt at a proper do-over using the X-Men in the rebooted First Class timeline. However, based on the trailers released so far, fans are worried that much of Dark Phoenix seems to closely resemble X-Men 3.
To be fair, Kinberg is at least focusing on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) this time around. Dark Phoenix is about her struggle to contain the incredible psychic power tormenting her and fracturing her mind. Professor X's (James McAvoy) X-Men and the Brotherhood led by Magneto (Michael Fassbender) take opposing sides in the war for Jean's soul, while the young heroine is being manipulated by a new alien villain played by Jessica Chastain. With no Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as the main character trying to save Jean, things could turn out very differently in this version of the story.
And yet, rather than diverge completely from X3, Kinberg has chosen to repeat several visual cues and plot points, which naturally has fans worried that Dark Phoenix will end up as a retread of the least popular core X-Men film - especially since this will be the end of this version of the X-Men before the mutants join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here's everything in X-Men: The Last Stand that Dark Phoenix is copying:
- This Page: Jean Grey Kills One of the X-Men (Again)
- Page 2: The Similarities With Magneto And The Brotherhood
Jean Looks And Dresses Identically In X-Men: The Last Stand And Dark Phoenix
Dark Phoenix follows the same visual style as X-Men: The Last Stand, to the chagrin of some fans who were hoping for a more comics-accurate visual style. The X-Men's uniforms in Dark Phoenix are modeled after the design of the Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's New X-Men comics but, once she starts manifesting her Phoenix power, Sophie Turner's Jean reverts to the same basic look as Famke Janssen's: street clothes and a long overcoat. As the Dark Phoenix's power manifests. the skin of Turner's Jean crackles with fiery energy just like Janssen's Jean did.
From what we've seen so far, it doesn't seem like Jean dons the signature red and yellow comics-accurate costume fans want to see when she goes full-blown Dark Phoenix. However, Jean does properly fly while encased in flames in Dark Phoenix so her displays of power go much further than they did in X-Men 3.
Professor X Hid Jean Grey's True Power From Her
Professor X comes off as a bit of a villain in both movie versions of The Dark Phoenix Saga. The X-Men's leader's intentions are always the same - to keep Jean Grey's potential power in check for everyone's safety - but he goes through with his plan by deceit and the invasion of Jean's mind.
In the original X-Men trilogy, Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr recruited a teenage Jean to join the Xavier School together; they visited Jean in her home, met her parents, and witnessed a demonstration of her abilities as a Class 5 mutant. Professor X placed psychic barriers in place to keep Jean's abilities in check but this led to her developing a split personality, with her malevolent side calling itself "the Phoenix". It's unclear how much Jean was aware of her split personality or if she voluntarily submitted to Xavier's psychic barriers, but after she "died" at Alkali Lake in X2: X-Men: United, she was reborn with the Dark Phoenix gaining dominance over Jean.
In Dark Phoenix's rebooted timeline, Jean manifests her powers at a younger age, which seemingly leads to the death of her parents by a car crash. Xavier takes her into his school and also places psychic barriers in her mind to hold her powers in check. When she was a teenager in 1983 during X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean began having trouble controlling her powers as Xavier's psychic barriers started to weaken. Professor X finally urged her to "let go" in the final battle with Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) and it was Jean unleashing her power (which was shaped like a phoenix) that killed En Sabah Nur. An outer space encounter at the beginning Dark Phoenix will apparently merge the alien psychic force with Jean, breaking away all of Professor X's safeguards and unlocking her full power.
Jean Grey Kills A Major X-Men Character At Her Home
Jean Grey is always responsible for killing her fellow X-Men but the victims differ depending on the version of the story. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Jean killed two of the people closest to her: Cyclops (James Marsden) and Professor X. Cyclops unceremoniously dies off-screen early in X3 (his demise was teased in the trailer when Wolverine and Storm find his glasses floating at Alkali Lake). However, the film positions Professor X's murder at the hands of Jean as the 'major' death; they engage in a psychic battle at the Grey family home and Jean causes her mentor to literally explode.
Dark Phoenix's second trailer immediately spoiled that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is the one who dies in the film. This was confirmed by Simon Kinberg, who explained that the shapeshifter was chosen to die because she has close ties to every X-Men character so her loss would impact them the most and fracture the team. X-Men: Apocalypse ended with Mystique finally joining Xavier's School and becoming the X-Men's drill sergeant so she takes Professor X's place as the mentor Jean kills.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019