X-Men: Dark Phoenix writer-director Simon Kinberg promises that the movie will less operatic and more grounded compared to past X-Men movies, which might be strange considering that the film adapts Chris Claremont’s The Dark Phoenix Saga.
The cast and crew of X-Men: Dark Phoenix seem pretty confident of the film. Sophie Turner, who plays Jean Grey, has gone so far as to suggest the movie will “revolutionize” the superhero genre, which her co-star, Tye Sheridan (aka Cyclops), agrees with, though he suggested that Dark Phoenix is more of a drama than a superhero film. And now, the creative mind behind the film is emphasizing that very point.
ET got the chance to speak to Simon Kinberg at the Deadpool 2 premiere, and he agreed with his stars’ assessments. Kinberg promised that the tone would be “a little less operatic” than the other X-Men movies. Moreover, he said that the movie is “more intense, and it’s more real and grounded, and hopefully more relatable.” Those comments certainly make sense. At heart, the comic book story of the Dark Phoenix Saga was a tale of love and loss. Kinberg has already confirmed that the troubled Cyclops and Jean Grey’s relationship will be a significant part of the movie.
The film may be grounded in an emotional sense, but it will still see the X-Men step on to the cosmic stage. “It’s much more loyal to the original comic than X-Men 3, which told the Dark Phoenix story,” Kinberg noted. “It’s a movie that involves extraterrestrial characters, which is not something that we’ve done in the X-Men franchise before, and is something that is a huge part of the Dark Phoenix saga in the comics.”
While fans of the comics will be delighted to hear this assessment, it’s not quite clear how Dark Phoenix works in relation to the original comic book plot. When Jessica Chastain signed up, it was initially believed she was playing the part of the Shi’ar Empress Lilandra, which would make sense since the Shi’ar are a central part of the Dark Phoenix Saga. But, Chastain herself debunked that rumor on social media, and her character’s identity remains a mystery. Meanwhile, set photos have strongly suggested that the shapeshifting alien race known as the Skrulls are involved in the movie. They played no role at all in the Dark Phoenix Saga, so it’s hard to see how Kinberg can claim this plot is “much more loyal to the original comic.”
Ironically enough, for all comic book lovers are used to envisioning the Phoenix as a cosmic force, X-Men: The Last Stand was closer to the original comic book run. Chris Claremont envisioned the Phoenix as a “schizoid personality.” Years later, Marvel decided to reveal that the Phoenix Force was a separate entity, a retcon designed to let them bring Jean Grey back from the dead. That retcon has firmly established itself in the minds of comic book fans, and Kinberg is likely hinting that his film, the X-Men: Dark Phoenix, will honor it.