Before Sophie Turner even gets a chance to get comfortable with her newfound powers as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, talk is turning to her likely portrayal of the powerful mutant’s transformation into Dark Phoenix in a future film. Director Bryan Singer’s current film introduces a younger version of Jean Grey who is just coming to grips with the extent of her powers, and Simon Kinberg’s screenplay certainly teases just how potentially destructive she will become, but only a slice of Apocalypse is concerned with building out Jean Grey’s origin story.
A future X-Men film may find Turner’s transformation into the imposing Dark Phoenix as the crux of the story, however. In a new interview with both Turner and Kinberg, EW has prodded the X-team into talking about taking another crack at the beloved story arc. Fans of the X-Men movies to date will remember that Famke Janssen’s version of Jean Grey had two full films to establish herself as Jean Grey before a noble sacrifice led her to take on the mantle of Phoenix, and eventually, Dark Phoenix, in the subpar X-Men: The Last Stand. (If you want a much more enjoyable version of the story, check out the comic book arc by writer Chris Claremont and artists Dave Cockrum and John Byrne, or seek out the fantastic version of it in X-Men: The Animated Series.)
As for what Kinberg had to say to EW on another round of Dark Phoenix:
“I definitely would love to take another stab at the Dark Phoenix story.”
Turner followed up that optimistic yet noncommittal statement with a more thoughtful one:
“The seeds of Phoenix definitely are planted in there. She can’t control her powers unless she either fully stops them or lets them all loose, and that’s kind of Phoenix. I think in future movies to come we’ll definitely see a bit more of that.”
Our own Adam Chitwood actually got some more substantial quotes out of Kinberg and Singer during his set visit to X-Men: Apocalypse. Here’s how Kinberg described the opportunity to reboot Scott and Jean, potentially leading into the Phoenix saga:
The X-Men universe is so big as far as characters go. Do you have characters that you’ve been dying to get into something that just haven’t made it in?
KINBERG: Yeah for sure. I have to say I was really excited to have Scott and Jean, because I never really got to write [for them]. I mean I wrote X3 but we didn’t really get to focus on those characters the way I would’ve wanted, partly because James Marsden was ironically busy doing Superman. And Famke, the Dark Phoenix story, the way that Matthew Vaughn—who was originally the X3 director—the way that he and Zak Penn, who co-wrote that movie, and I wanted to tell the Dark Phoenix story is a bit different than the way it ended up being told, so we didn’t really get to dig into those characters and they’re such huge, iconic characters in the franchise. I think those are the characters I was most excited about for this film, but there are definitely others. There’s others I’ve tried to get into movies and haven’t been able to and there’s other young versions of characters from the original trilogy that I’d like to play with, so yeah there’s a lot.
With this tweaked timeline, are there opportunities to include elements of the Dark Phoenix saga?
KINBERG: Sure, I think everything that hasn’t been told in First Class or Days of Future Past is up for grabs going forward, so it would absolutely be a story that we could tell in a different way.
Are there teases in this movie to her broader abilities or what she will grow into?
KINBERG: We definitely explore how powerful she is in this movie and that that can be something that is empowering and something that is dangerous.
And here’s what Singer thought about adapting his own version of the story, one which may or may not include some of the more fantastical elements of the mythology:
I’ve got to ask you about Jean Grey. In X2 you teased sort of building up to the Phoenix story but we never got to see you execute your version of that story, so now that Jean Grey is back on the board either in this movie or in the future do you have any desire to play out a Phoenix story of your own?
SINGER: The full Phoenix story, I have no idea. I would have to re-explore that. If it’s already been explored, to re-explore and retell it. Plus the Phoenix story in the comic book has the Shi’ar Empire and the moon.
Right and there’s the Celestials and space.
SINGER: With that you never know, but as far as the idea of that brewing within her, without giving anything away I would say absolutely that interests me and you may find a piece of that in this film.
Would you like to see Singer and Kinberg take another crack at the Dark Phoenix? Do you think the Shi’ar and other more fantastical elements should be included? Let us know in the comments below!