The current incarnation of the “X-Men” franchise, which began in 2000 with the original film and got a makeover with ‘First Class’ in 2011, comes to a close with this Summer’s “Dark Phoenix”. After that, the now completed Fox-Disney merger will see Marvel Studios effectively rebooting the property and working the characters into the current MCU.
From the outside it looks as if the merger was the main reason behind this being the last film in the series, but the new movie’s director Simon Kinberg says the decision to close out the main X-Men films came long before the merger was a possibility.
Speaking with Comicbook.com as part of WonderCon, Kinberg says:
“From the beginning of conceiving what we were going to do with this film and writing it, which was three plus years ago, so long before there was a Disney merger, I felt like this was the natural culmination for this cycle of X-Men movies. Because it is seeing this family that you’ve come to love and know for how ever many films, and if you count the originals almost 20 years now, you see that family tested in a whole new way. You see that family start to fall apart in a real way for the first time, ultimately come back together.
That felt like the culmination of a storyline or a cycle of these films. And for me, and for most of the fans … Dark Phoenix is the ultimate and most iconic storyline in the X-Men universe. And so I didn’t know how we would top Dark Phoenix within this cycle. This felt like we had to earn our way back to Dark Phoenix. And I feel like we did hopefully, and beyond that felt like we’d want to sort of create an ending and the possibility of a new beginning. And that’s what we do on this film.”
The comments sound a little different to ones made by Kinberg last year. As part of the same interview for the outlet, actress Alexandra Shipp who plays Storm says she’s not looking forward to the X-Men becoming part of the MCU because even if they kept her on she would have a smaller role than the one she has now:
“I would and I wouldn’t (like it), because Storm barely has anything to say as it is. I don’t know about you all (other actors) but like we never talk. So it would be really nice if we weren’t piled into yet another jam-packed cast, in which you only see me in the back of the shot like f–king sasquatch.”
Shipp’s assumption is that no reboot or recasting will take place, even though that’s a certainty at this point. She also describes the tone of “Dark Phoenix” as something “way more gritty. I think it affects you in a way more visceral way because it’s not a comic vibe. It’s very real, it’s very raw, and it was scary at times.”
“Dark Phoenix” opens in cinemas on June 7th.