Because it’s a cheat so egregious that it would make the mistakes of The Last Stand seem almost quaint, and, upon further reflection, even forgivable. Heck, we might even be forced to reevaluate that widely mocked line “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?” from the original film.
So, no, Jean Grey can’t very well die in Dark Phoenix, even if we play fast and loose with alternate timelines, or the resurrection themes inherent to the character. (It’s one thing for the original films to neglect to mention Xavier and Mystique are adoptive siblings, it’s another to ignore that Jean was once possessed by a malevolent entity and — oh, yeah — rose from the dead.) That may not best serve her character arc, or the redemptive act required by the source material, but continuity is only so forgiving.
But if it’s not Jean Grey who dies in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, then who is it? Fans of the Fox prequels may want to brace themselves: Our money is on Quicksilver, the popular character originated by Evan Peters in Days of Future Past.
You’ll notice that the fast-moving, fast-talking Peter Maximoff isn’t in the funeral photo; it depicts only Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp). Sure, Nicholas Hoult’s Hank McCoy is missing as well, but the Beast — along with all of those named X-Men — are part of the original films. Quicksilver isn’t.
He’s the most obvious choice, unless the filmmakers want to twist timelines so much that it tests the audience’s willingness to suspend disbelief.
What’s more, it’s possible that Quicksilver bites the dust early in the film. In the text accompanying the funeral photo on Entertainment Weekly, Jennifer Lawrence says, “We have really great action scenes and we go to space like within the first five minutes of the movie.” That’s presumably the same space mission in which the X-Jet is struck by a solar flare, awakening “a malevolent, power-hungry new force within Jean.” The funeral scene may take place soon after the X-Men’s return to Earth, perhaps while Hank tends to Jean.
There are undoubtedly some other candidates, including Olivia Munn’s Psylocke, but few would pack the emotional punch that Quicksilver does, for either the audience or the film’s characters. His loss, whether in that initial space mission or in the subsequent fight to contain Dark Phoenix, would provide Quicksilver with a heroic departure from the franchise and serve as a potential catalyst for Magneto’s final break with the X-Men. To finally learn that young Peter Maximoff is his son, only to then have him ripped away, might be a blow too great for even the Master of Magnetism to bear.
Arriving in theaters on Nov. 2, 2018, director Simon Kinberg’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Olivia Munn, and Jessica Chastain.
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