The first trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix has been released - let's break it down. The next (and likely final) Fox X-Men film has been a questionable prospect for a while now following a release date delay to accommodate third-act reshoots, but after much erroneous speculation of its status and a lot of anticipation, we finally have a proper look at Simon Kinberg's movie.
Dark Phoenix adapts seminal comic arc The Dark Phoenix Saga, telling the tale of telekinetic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) gaining near-ultimate power and becoming a cosmic supervillain. The movie take (actually the second after the misfire of X-Men: The Last Stand) will place the action in the 1990s, taking the First Class and Apocalypse generations of the X-Men and pitting them against one of their own - and potentially an alien threat.
That much we already knew. However, the Dark Phoenix trailer brings a lot more. Here's everything we've learned, from a retooled origin for Jean Grey, the mutant haven of Genosha, and some bad news for Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).
47. Jean Arrives At The X-Mansion
The Dark Phoenix trailer opens with a young Jean Grey being brought to the X-Mansion. The film is undoubtedly her story, following the seemingly normal X-Men as she becomes - in Magneto's words - "evil" so it makes sense for it to go deep into her troubled (and hidden) past. It's a smart move for the trailer too, establishing this as a character-driven story.
46. Jean Wants To Be Fixed
"You think you can fix me?"
"Jean, you are not broken."
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) welcomes Jean Grey to his school with a promise he's likely made to many children: their mutations are not a disease and nothing to be afraid of. However, at this point he's unaware that something darker lurks within Jean: the Phoenix Force. As we'll see throughout the trailer, Professor X's attempts to "fix" his new student are exactly what creates the conflict of Dark Phoenix. This, along with Jean, looks to be the emotional core of the movie.
45. Trailer Song: The End
At this point, the Dark Phoenix trailer music starts up. It's a cover of The Doors' "The End", repeating the central "this is the end, my only friend, the end." It's an immediately evocative choice, telegraphing the film as darker and more final than its predecessors, while on a meta level somewhat acknowledging that this will be Fox's final main X-Men movie before the character rights revert back to Marvel.
44. Professor X's Fear Makes Him A Villain
"The mind is a fragile thing. Takes on the slightest tap to send it in the wrong direction," Professor X says in voiceover. It's not stated explicitly who he's actually talking about, but the trailer makes clear how this applies to Jean and her extreme power. This is going to be Charles' defining motivation in Dark Phoenix, trying to stop Jean's fragile mind from allowing Phoenix in, something that is more powerful than him and thus out of his control. While there's likely some justification to that fear, with his kneejerk reaction he's essentailly as fearful of her as humans are of him: he's become what he always hated.
43. Professor X Is Hiding Phoenix From Jean (Again)
"Charles, what did you do?"
"I had to keep her stable. I protected her."
"From the truth."
The Dark Phoenix trailer then jumps to the modern day, with everybody concerned over that hidden power in Jean coming to the surface. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) is examining her in his lab while Charles and Mystique debate what's been done in the past.
In X-Men: The Last Stand, the Phoenix Force was also something that lay dormant in Jean Grey from a child, hidden deep by Charles Xavier before awakening upon her sacrifice at the end of X-Men 2. This was a change from the comics where the force was something external, and based on X-Men: Apocalypse, which had Jean use the powers to defeat En Sabah Nur, the same is true of the new timeline. We can see some parts of this narrative being brought over to the "remake".
42. The Car Crash
Next in the Dark Phoenix trailer is a car crash involving Jean and her parents. We see her powers activate outside of her control, sending the car spinning and presumably killing her mother and father. This is the emergence of her mutant abilities, starting her on the path to Xavier's school. Crucially, you can see a slight orange glow coming from her in one shot, hinting at the Phoenix's part in all this.
This is a twist on a key part of Jean's backstory from the comics. There, Jean was the witness to the death of a close friend in a car accident, the trauma from which awakened her abilities. The movie has put her and those powers at the center of the accident, shifting her from suffering survivor to unwilling attacker, and leaving scars ready to be uncovered.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020