Simon Kinberg, the director of Dark Phoenix and writer of X-Men: Days of Future Past, says he knows how the two films connect to one another. Dark Phoenix is premiering next week, and as Fox's last X-Men film, it will likely tie in with the previous films in the franchise and bring closure to the entire 19-year-old story arc.
Marvel Entertainment has been a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company since 2009, encompassing the production of comics, as well as television series based on the comics (Marvel Studios, which reports directly to Disney, produces the films). They did not, ironically, own the film rights to the X-Men franchise, as those rights already belonged to 21st Century Fox. Following their acquisition of Fox assets, Disney and Marvel gained the rights to X-Men back, along with the ability to use the word "mutant" in their films. Fans may have noticed that characters in the MCU from the X-Men comics, such as Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), have a completely different backstory as to avoid the "mutant" problem. That being said, the next couple of X-Men films to be released by Disney were produced during Fox's ownership, including Dark Phoenix, and the long awaited 2020 release of The New Mutants.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Simon Kinberg mentioned having a sense for how Dark Phoenix would tie-in with the ending of Days of Future Past. On this connection, the screenwriter and director said, "I have some sense of it, yes, because I always feel as though I'm sort of responsible for the architecture of this and making sure that it all lines up. So I do have some sense of it, but I really did imagine this movie, in truth, as the culmination of this cycle of X-Men films and so I wasn't really thinking past this film other than wanting to make sure that the logic was all sound." In other words, not only does Dark Phoenix line up with DOFP, it culminates the entirety of Fox's X-Men film series. Despite this sense of how the films connect, Days of Future Past is riddled with continuity problems, since the film completely alters the timeline of the past films. Hopefully, Dark Phoenix can clean up some of these errors.
Kinberg also stated during the interview that working on Days of Future Past actually helped to conceive the idea for Dark Phoenix. He said, "I actually would say that the Dark Phoenix idea was was set up in the end of Days of Future Past. In changing the timeline of Days of Future Past, part of the reason I did that was I wanted a chance to tell the Dark Phoenix story in a more fulsome way where it's really like the full Dark Phoenix story and focuses on Jean's story different than X-Men: The Last Stand." So it seems Kinberg had plans for Dark Phoenix long before the film's conception. He added, "My vision for it, I think, even going back to Days of Future Past, is pretty consistent, because really what I felt when I was thinking about doing eventually a Dark Phoenix story was the idea that we would be telling Jean's story. That we would be really focused. That we would narrow the scope of the film down even though there's an intergalactic element and a scale and spectacle that you expect from these movies." In other words, while the film does culminate the current cycle of X-Men films, it is still very much Jean's story at the film's core.
At the moment, the future of the X-Men is somewhat of a mystery, but the new ownership opens many doors, allowing characters who have never been seen on-screen together to interact. X-Men having a place in the MCU will allow Marvel the chance to adapt the comics for the big screen in exciting new ways. In the meantime, Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants are the next in line for release, and only time will tell what the future holds for the X-Men cinematic presence.