It looks like Simon Kinberg’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix has added a new face to its cast, and The Originals star Summer Fontana has nabbed herself the lucrative role of playing a young Jean Grey.
We already know that Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner will reprise her part as a teenage Grey from last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse. However, with Fox casting an even younger version of the X-Men stalwart, it looks like Kinberg’s ’90s adventure will be going back in time even further. The director had already cited his interest in finding a flashback actress of Jean Grey, and it looks like 8-year-old Fontana is that lucky girl. Appearing in short film Basic Witches, the young actress is best-known as Hope Michaelson in Season 4 of The CW’s The Originals.
The confirmation appeared on the movie’s IMDb page – which may not be the most reliable source – but the actress herself shared a tweet of herself in Montreal where filming is taking place:
Au revoir Montreal! Merci beau coup por l'excellent moment! ?XOXO pic.twitter.com/HIKu9H1fnr— Summer Fontana (@SummerFontana) July 22, 2017
While we don’t expect Fontana’s role to be major, Marvel’s comic books could give us a clue about how a young Jean fits into the storyline. 1987’s Bizarre Adventures #27 introduced readers to Jean’s one-shot childhood friend Annie Richardson. At the age of 10, Jean witnessed Annie being hit by a car, which inadvertently unlocked her mutant abilities. With the next installment in the mutant franchise focussing around Turner’s fiery redhead and adapting 1980’s “Dark Phoneix Saga,” it makes sense that we will see how Jean got her powers.
2018 will be the second time that Fox has attempted to adapt the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” but let’s hope it is second time lucky. The source material was loosely tackled in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, but many felt it was an underwhelming testimony to the popular story arc. Rounding off the first trilogy of X-Men movies that started in 2000, The Last Stand saw Famke Janssen portray a troubled Grey battling with her powers. With Janssen seemingly done with playing Jean Grey, it looks like it is up to Turner and Fontana to carry the flaming Phoenix torch. Apocalypse already teased dark times ahead for Jean, while the title of Dark Phoenix seemingly confirms this.
Filming is well underway for Dark Phoneix and we have already seen Jean’s love interest Scott Summers get an updated look as well as Charles Xavier getting a haircut. Other returning X-Men alumni include Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, and James McAvoy as Dr. Charles Xavier. While Olivia Munn has remained coy on reprising her role as Psylocke, it is expected that many more of Xavier’s mutants will be rising from the ashes with X-Men: Dark Phoenix.