Late last night, the first trailer for February’s Dark Phoenix officially premiered providing an extensive first look at the darker, more ominous X-Men sequel. Among the scenes included in the trailer is a sequence of the X-Men attending a rainy graveside funeral, presumably burying one of their own, interspersed with clips of the grieving mutant team back at the X-Mansion blaming James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier for letting things go so far out of control. But the big question remains: Who, exactly, are the X-Men mourning in Fox’s latest X-Men film?
By the look of those in attendance at the graveside ceremony, the younger incarnation of the core team consisting of Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler (first introduced in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse) are all alive and well, relatively speaking. Given the glimpse of the traditional, older appearances of Cyclops and Storm in the present day epilogue to 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as Patrick Stewart’s Xavier, it is a safe bet that these characters survive the events of the film. Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler is also seen at the funeral, his furless, blue hands with conjoined fingers grasping a black umbrella, differentiating him from fellow blue teammate, Beast.
Beast himself is also seen at the funeral without an umbrella and separately admonishes Xavier for his handling of Jean Grey’s destructive abilities before presumably abandoning the team to join up with Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. As Kelsey Grammer’s Hank McCoy is seen at the X-Mansion briefly in the Days of Future Past epilogue, as well as the funeral, the furry mutant will most likely survive the events of the film, his emotional rift with Xavier and alliance with Magneto probably serving as a character arc of estrangement and reconciliation over the course of the sequel.
A more probable possibility to die over the course of the film is Magneto’s high-speed son Quicksilver. An instant fan-favorite with his scene-stealing performances in Days of Future Past and Apocalypse, his death would have as much emotional weight with audiences as it would the film’s characters, giving Magneto a strong reason to oppose Xavier once again after the two men mended fences by the end of Apocalypse. Additionally, Quicksilver’s death would explain the character’s glaring absence in the original X-Men trilogy and Days of Future Past epilogue.
Another strong candidate for the grave is Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Given the character’s very personal history with both Beast and Magneto starting in 2011’s X-Men: First Class combined with her absence at the funeral, Xavier’s adoptive sister could very well be meeting an untimely end in Dark Phoenix. While the character prominently appeared throughout the original X-Men trilogy, her premature death could be one of the lingering ripple effects caused by Wolverine changing history in Days of Future Past. And the grief of losing their mutual lover and ally could drive Magneto and Beast into some very dark places.
Finally, the grave could be more symbolic than literal. The trailer offers a glimpse of the cinematic version of the mutant community of Genosha, presumably founded and overseen by Magneto in the interim time since Apocalypse. Perhaps Jean Grey’s latent abilities exploding out of control violently could result in the safe haven’s destruction and the deaths of the majority of its residents. The grave the X-Men are visiting could be occupied not by a single fallen mutant, but rather represent the loss of an entire society.
Dark Phoenix is quickly shaping up to be one of the darkest, most personal ensemble films in the Fox franchise with Xavier’s shortcomings in helping Jean Grey splitting the team as new, nefarious threats arise. And as potentially the last film to star the First Class cast before the property arrives at Marvel Studios, nobody is safe.
Written and directed by franchise veteran Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix stars Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Alexandra Ship as Storm, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler. It is scheduled to open in theaters on February 14, 2019.
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