After months of speculation, Jessica Chastain says she won't be playing Shi'ar leader Lilandra in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. For fans of the X-Men, the chance to see the infamous Dark Phoenix story realized on screen has been a double-edged sword. Once already, aspects of the plot have been brought to life, but X-Men: The Last Stand wasn't quite what fans had hoped for. Next year, the reboot of the franchise will try their hand at the plot when X-Men: Dark Phoenix arrives, but there's no telling how true to form it will be either.
A few months back, word broke that Lilandra and the Shi'ar Empire would be coming to the X-Men universe in Dark Phoenix. For fans of the comics, this signaled at least an attempt to adapt the full breadth of the source material. Even more exciting, Jessica Chastain looked to be playing Lilandra as the actress finally came aboard a superhero property. Since then, however, word has emerged that the new film won't be too focused on the intergalactic. Now, it looks as if Lilandra herself might not even be involved.
Jessica Chastain took to her Instagram to kick off her first day of filming for X-Men: Dark Phoenix with a long and complete recap of the Double Rainbow video. The fun quickly ended, though, when she confirmed in the comments she would not be playing Lilandra. The comment has since been deleted, but it read: "Hey folks, want a scoop? Im not playing Lilandra....." The deletion of the comment could paint the whole thing as trolling, but the actor could have simply been advised to remove the information.
If Chastain isn't playing Lilandra, it certainly raises a number of questions. One is whether Lilandra and the Shi'ar will even factor into the movie. There's also the question of who Chastain will play. Early word of her involvement pegged her as a villain, so there's no shortage of characters from the comics. Recent word of a casting for young Jean Grey could even hint Chastain will play an older version of the character, now that the timelines are different. Perhaps the Phoenix Force will even transform Sophie Turner into Chastain, similar to how Billy Batson becomes Shazam.
It's also possible that Chastain will play a more humanoid rendition of the Phoenix Force itself. Often, ethereal forces from the comics are rendered as more humanlike in films and TV, so it's easy to see the actor doing voice work or even motion capture to bring the entity to life as it descends on Earth.
With Deadpool 2 and New Mutants reported to have wrapped, all eyes will be on Dark Phoenix's production when it comes to next year's slate of X-Men films. As such, it shouldn't be too much longer until we know more about the movie, its villains, and Chastain's role in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
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