Get ready for quite a few familiar faces in 2018’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix, as reported Wednesday by Deadline. Franchise veterans Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), James McAvoy (Professor Xavier) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) are all set to return, according to the outlet, along with Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), who debuted in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
Additionally, Simon Kinberg is officially in place as director, and the Nov. 2, 2018 release date is also confirmed.
Kinberg has been a part of the X-Men franchise since 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which he and Zak Penn are credited for the screenplay. He was a producer on 2011’s X-Men: First Class, 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, and the writer of Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. This marks his directorial debut, taking the reins from Bryan Singer, who directed Days of Future Past, Apocalypse and the 2000 original X-Men film and its 2003 sequel, X2. Kinberg has also been involved as a producer of X-Men spinoff films, including 2016’s Deadpool and the upcoming New Mutants.
In an update, Deadline also reported that Jessica Chastain is in talks to play the film’s villain, Shi’ar Empress Lilandra. Chastain was previously linked to the film in a report that surfaced last week. Lilandra is described by Deadline as the “main villain,” even though the character is traditionally depicted as heroic.
Chastain has experience on screen with McAvoy, as they co-starred in the three-film series The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. In Marvel Comics, Xavier and Lilandra were married for a time.
Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s “Dark Phoenix Saga,” which ran from 1980’s Uncanny X-Men #129-#138, stands as one of the most famous and influential X-Men storylines of all time, with frequent echoes in the comic books themselves, and multiple adaptations in various media, including previously on the big screen — X-Men: The Last Stand included elements of the story. In the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” original X-Men member Jean Grey — who had previously merged with the super-powerful cosmic entity known as the Phoenix — falls to corruption and becomes a destructive force, wreaking havoc including wiping out an entire planet.
“Again, I can’t really speak to anything specifically, but I think the challenge as offered by all the films we’ve mentioned is very — we’re very aware of the challenge that those movies pose and what it sort of demands of us as storytellers mining, again, one of the great comic runs in ‘The Dark Phoenix Saga,’” X-Men: Dark Phoenix producer Hutch Parker said earlier this year. “Our hope and expectation is to try and do something that feels different, that takes the audience into a different tone and a different sense of cinematic style that is appropriately suited to the story we’re telling.”
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is scheduled for release on Nov. 2, 2018.