In the latest entry of our ongoing series, Screen Rant's Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand do-over, Dark Phoenix. Written and directed by The Last Stand screenwriter Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix once again tackles the story of Jean Grey being consumed by the terrifyingly power Phoenix Force, though this time with more of a cosmic bent (and aliens).
The 20th Century Fox era of X-Men movies is coming to an end after two decades of sequels, spinoffs, resets, and ever-more-confusing continuity. Fox was acquired by The Walt Disney Company earlier this year, bringing all of the Fox-owned Marvel characters under the same umbrella as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the current X-Men universe is being scrapped in preparation for an inevitable reboot. The last movie standing is Josh Boone's spinoff The New Mutants, by virtue of the fact that it's been delayed so many times that it won't even be in theaters until 2020.
Since the main X-Men universe got soft-rebooted with X-Men: The First Class, the movies have been jumping forward in time by a decade with each new release - something that's slightly problematic since the actors have only aged eight years while their characters have aged three decades. In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men get called in by the President to save some endangered astronauts, but while out in space Jean Grey absorbs a fiery cosmic entity that gives her powers a major boost. Things soon spiral out of control, resulting in a death that would be shocking if it hadn't already been spoiled by the trailers, and the X-Men have to decide whether to try and save Jean, or kill her in order to save others. Of course, that second option won't exactly be easy.
Perhaps because people knew this was the end of the X-Men franchise as we know it, perhaps because of the lackluster trailers, or perhaps because of the dismal reviews, Dark Phoenix failed to set the box office on fire. The movie opened to a dismal (for a major comic book movie) $32 million, and to date has grossed just $234 million.
Still, if there was ever a good time for audiences to become fatigued by X-Men movies, it's when the franchise was already due a break from the big screen. Although the MCU is laying the groundwork for expansion with Spider-Man: Far From Home establishing the existence of a multiverse, there's been no concrete news as to when we'll see the X-Men or the Fantastic Four again. Who knows - maybe they're somehow involved in Far From Home's much raved-about post-credits scenes.
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020