Warning: SPOILERS for Dark Phoenix
Director Simon Kinberg confirms that Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique will die in Dark Phoenix, which is teased in the new trailer, and explains why it was revealed. Fox's decade-spanning main mutant franchise is all but confirmed to come to a close this summer upon the release of Dark Phoenix. The movie is the fourth installment of the soft reboot timeline that began with X-Men: First Class, and it will likely be the last time any of these actors play their respective roles.
This is all thanks to Disney's looming acquisition of Fox, which will revert the X-Men (and Fantastic Four) rights to Marvel Studios - who are expected to reboot the properties. This has put Dark Phoenix in an odd situation where it will now serve as the end of an era, despite the last film introducing a new line of young mutants who are just now taking center stage. Dark Phoenix will focus heavily on the relationship between Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), while Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) also become more involved. This may mean smaller roles for the older stars, and a big death has previously been teased - and can now be confirmed.
Upon the release of the second Dark Phoenix trailer, it didn't take long for it to heavily tease that Mystique will die early on in the film. While this could be another case of clever editing by a studio, that is not the case here, as Fox is actually showing everyone exactly what they want. Kinberg confirmed in an interview with EW that Mystique does die in the movie as a result of Jean's uncontrolled power. Such a major death would normally be considered a spoiler, but Kinberg explained why they decided to show their hand now:
Well, the thought process behind that was to primarily show that this is a movie that is unlike other X-Men movies. It’s a movie where shocking things happen, where intense, dramatic things happen. People don’t just fall off buildings and dust themselves off and walk away. There’s a reality to this movie and a consequence to this movie. Even more than that, it was to show that Jean/Dark Phoenix is genuinely a threat to everyone, including the X-Men.
Mystique dying has been a popular theory since the release of the very first trailer, so this is mainly just confirmation of what many fans were already thinking. After all, a funeral scene was among the first batch of official photos from Dark Phoenix to be released, so fans have been expecting someone to die in the movie for quite some time now. Even though Lawrence is arguably the biggest star of the entire ensemble, her contract was up after X-Men: Apocalypse and her interest in returning appeared to be low.
Even if it was expected to a certain degree, Kinberg's explanation for why this reveal was made official doesn't completely make sense. No matter how many theories are out there, Mystique dying was still just that and could still be a shocking development to the story for many. Now that he has confirmed the death and the trailer all but shows Mystique in the coffin, they have eliminated one surprise from the film just to "prove" the movie is shocking. But, Kinberg also teased, "There are certainly other major casualties in this," so Mystique may not be the only X-Men to die later this year. If this is true, then Dark Phoenix could be a proper end to the era and really say goodbye to the franchise and these characters in more ways than one.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019