The news, which arrived today along with a targeted 2018 release date for that film, as well as "The New Mutants" and "Deadpool 2," obviously confirms long-circulating rumors that the franchise will return once more to "The Dark Phoenix Saga."
The seminal 1980 Marvel Comics storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, charted the fall of X-Men founding member Jean Grey, who's driven mad by the enormous power of the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force, which leads her to destroy an entire planet before she ultimately sacrifices herself to save the universe. Elements of the story were adapted for a subplot in the poorly received 2006 film "X-Men: The Last Stand," written by franchise producer Simon Kinberg, who's writing -- and possibly directing -- the upcoming movie.
Although Kinberg hasn't confirmed long-swirling rumors that the next "X-Men" film will revisit that story, he's certainly done nothing to dismiss the notion.
“Well, I can’t comment on what we’re doing with this next ‘X-Men’ movie,” he said just last month, “but I think a way to talk about it potentially, is to talk about ‘X-Men: The Last Stand,’ and then that being a Dark Phoenix movie that we didn’t get quite right. I think of maybe a few mistakes we made in that movie — and every movie has mistakes — but the main mistake we made in that movie was taking the Dark Phoenix story, which is such a vast and profound saga, and making it the subplot of the movie as opposed to the main plot of the movie. I think if we were to make a Dark Phoenix movie in the future, it would be a Dark Phoenix movie about her struggle, and really should be the A plot and the primary of the movie.”
"Game of Thrones" actress Sophie Turner, who was introduced last year in "X-Men: Apocalypse" as a young Jean Grey, will return for the sequel, whose story Kinberg insists will be "bold and radical and expand the universe in the same way that ‘Logan’ feels bold and radical and certainly ‘Deadpool’ does as well.”
Although Kinberg has yet to be announced as its director, "X-Men: Dark Phoenix" is expected to begin filming this summer in Montreal. It's targeted for release Nov. 2, 2018, joining an "X-Men" calendar led by director Josh Boone's "New Mutants" (April 13) and David Leitch's "Deadpool 2" (June 1).