Dark Phoenix's Real Villains: What We Know About Jessica Chastain & The Skrulls

Jessica Chastain and Skrulls in X-Men Dark Phoenix

The first trailer for the next X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, has finally been released - and it still leaves us none the wiser about the role of Jessica Chastain's villain and the alien Skrulls. The trailer focuses almost entirely upon the threat of the Phoenix, setting up an intensely personal story that sees the X-Men apparently battling against one of their own.

It's been widely reported that Dark Phoenix features the shapeshifting aliens known as the Skrulls. In October last year, there were reports from the set that the aliens would launch a devastating attack upon a United Nations meeting discussing mutants. The Skrulls' presence was apparently confirmed when EW revealed Jessica Chastain was playing "an otherworldly shapeshifter who comes into contact with Phoenix." That definitely fits with the idea that she's portraying a Skrull, and there was some speculation she could be the Empress R'Klll. So far, Fox has studiously avoided giving viewers either a glimpse of the Skrulls, or even a hint as to the true identity of Chastain's character.

Related: Captain Marvel & Dark Phoenix Will Have Very Different Skrulls

The first Dark Phoenix trailer doesn't leave us any the wiser; with that United Nations scene only hinted at a couple of shots. So what can we deduce about the villain's role in the movie, and the part the alien race will play in the film's plot?

The Skrulls Aren't In The First Trailer (But Jessica Chastain Is)

Jessica Chastain as Smith in church in X-Men Dark Phoenix

The Skrulls themselves don't appear in the trailer at all. In fact, if not for the set reports and the tease that Chastain is "an otherworldly shapeshifter," you could be forgiven for not realizing alien races will be part of Dark Phoenix at all. Chastain is presented as a cold, almost clinical figure who's following Jean, apparently with a sense of just what she really is. The trailer release was followed up by an interview with IGN, with Simon Kinberg discussing the relationship between Jean and Chastain's character:

"It’s an interesting one and I don’t want to spill too much about it but basically Jessica’s character is very interested in this power that I’ve kind of acquired and this cosmic force that I have and she kind of wants that force to use it for her own -- she has her own intentions with it and she kind of wants to use that. And she nurtures me in a way to make me kind of trust her."

We can see a hint of that dynamic in the trailer, with one scene showing Chastain speaking calmly to an emotional Jean. "You feel like you don't belong here," she tells the powerful young mutant. "You don't." It's clear she's adopted a role similar to the one employed by Mastermind in the comic book version of The Dark Phoenix Saga. Mastermind was a powerful mutant in his own right, and he attempted to manipulate Jean in the pursuit of power - although Kinberg confirmed to IGN that she isn't a direct version of him. However, there are also parallels to the Ultimate Comics version of Shi'ar Empress Lilandra, the leader of a cult who believed there was a telepath destined to become the manifestation of the Phoenix.

Related: X-Men: Dark Phoenix Trailer Breakdown - 47 Story Reveals & Secrets You Missed

Assuming all the reports of Skrull involvement in the film are correct - which really does seem likely - then there's probably a simple reason why the trailer doesn't show them. Dark Phoenix has just finished undergoing two weeks' worth of reshoots, and has just entered post-production and editing. That means the CGI on the Skrulls will be in a very early stage, certainly not ready to be shared with viewers just yet.

Page 2 of 2: The Skrulls' Role In Dark Phoenix

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Key Release Dates
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
  • New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
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