X-Men: Dark Phoenix's main villain will be played by Jessica Chastain, and while Fox have been incredibly secretive over who exactly she's playing, we may have cracked the case: she may be playing a Skrull Empress.
Dark Phoenix, as the title suggests, will be a loose adaptation of iconic comic arc The Dark Phoenix Saga, in which Jean Grey gets taken over by the all-powerful Phoenix Force and commits cosmic atrocities. While Phoenix is technically the antagonist, there is a more tangible villainous presence from Lilandra. When Chastain was first linked to the film, it was believed she'd be taking on that role. However, as the film began to get into production, the actress revealed this wasn't the case.
Since then, rumors have suggested we're looking at the wrong alien race and that the X-Men would be dealing with the shapeshifting Skrulls. Now those reports have credence thanks to the film's EW cover story, which revealed Chastain was "an otherworldly shapeshifter who comes into contact with Phoenix". That definitely makes it seem that she's playing a Skrull. The only other information was the actress describing her part as "the vet who tells you [that] you need to put your dog down." Clearly, the shapeshifter believes Jean Grey is too powerful to live.
But just who is Jessica Chastain playing in Dark Phoenix? We have a theory.
Who Is Empress R'Klll
Meet Empress R'Klll Of The Skrull Empire
You probably haven't heard of Empress R'Klll. After all, the character's only appeared in sixteen Marvel comics and was killed off in 1984. We were introduced to R'Klll as the manipulative wife of Skrull Emperor Dorrek VII. She was the oldest daughter of the previous Skrull Emperor, and her husband had taken the throne by forcing her to marry him. Needless to say, their relationship was hardly a pleasant one.
It's hard to know exactly how important R'Klll was to the Skrull Emperor. Dorrek VII was hardly a master strategist, so it seems likely she was the mastermind behind a lot of his gambits. Whatever the truth may be, Dorrek became increasingly focused on his hated enemies the Fantastic Four. R'Klll was furious with this obsession and treated him with increasing disdain. Finally, an act of cowardice on Dorrek's part led R'Klll to shoot him dead, and declare herself ruler of the Skrull Empire.
Under Empress R'Klll, the Skrull launched a number of espionage programs that made the most of their shapeshifting powers. It was also R'Klll who decided to bring an end to the ancient war between the Kree and the Skrull races. Most interestingly, R'Klll actually appears in The Dark Phoenix Saga; it featured two scenes in which Lilandra consulted with other galactic leaders over the threat of the Phoenix. R'Klll agreed with Lilandra's approach, believing that Phoenix must die. She also reluctantly accepted the ancient Shi'ar rites of combat that gave the X-Men a fighting chance.
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020