X-Men: Dark Phoenix is being teased as a movie that includes a “massive” twist that will change the franchise forever. Regardless of what happens with Disney’s potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox in the coming weeks, the big-screen version of Chris Claremont’s classic Dark Phoenix Saga comic will continue the story of the mutant heroes as seen in X-Men: Apocalypse. It will also finally be a proper adaptation of the iconic story after it was reduced to a muddled subplot in the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand.
The original Dark Phoenix Saga certainly contains some pivotal moments for the X-Men, but not much in the way of franchise-altering twists beyond the titular character herself. EW’s new cover story on the film, Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut, reveals that there will be a surprise that could be so momentous that the X-Men franchise as you know it would never be the same.
As reported in EW on Wednesday, X-Men: Dark Phoenix “includes a massive twist halfway through that will irrevocably change the course of the franchise” and will be “the most sinister, and somber, chapter in the saga.” Due to the X-Men’s journey into space and galaxy-spanning battles with intergalactic armies, the film is expected to feature some of the most epic set pieces of the franchise – and based on James McAvoy’s comments, it will feature a lot of death and destruction:
“This is probably the most emotional X-Men we’ve done and the most pathos-driven. There’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of suffering.”
The only major character to die in the Dark Phoenix Saga comic is Jean Grey, who sacrifices herself in order to destroy the Dark Phoenix. Rumors have already surfaced that a major character will be killed off, so the twist halfway through the movie would presumably be a key character meeting their maker when the Dark Phoenix realizes her full powers.
That brings up plenty of possibilities for who would die at the hands of the Dark Phoenix. In the original comic, Cyclops is killed in a psychic duel with the villain Mastermind, which breaks the final barrier over the Phoenix’s powers and turns her into the Dark Phoenix. Perhaps Cyclops is killed off for real in the film, but it’s not terribly likely that Kinberg would rehash a twist from The Last Stand. A potentially bigger death would be McAvoy’s Charles Xavier, even though that would mess with the continuity of the timelines in X-Men: Days of Future Past and even Logan. Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is also likely to be brought up as a potential character that will die.
Sophie Turner, who plays Jean Grey (and eventually the Phoenix) in the film, says in the EW story that the sequel is about “the butterfly effect” of her character’s transformation. That could hint at the continued use of time travel in the movie, and keeps alive the possibility of Xavier dying and massively changing the future, even as it was depicted in prior movies. Whatever direction Kinberg takes the story of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the twist is sure to be on people’s minds ahead of the movie’s release – and possibly make major changes to the story of the original comic.