For fans of the mutant movie saga, the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a source of anxiety for multiple reasons. For one thing, we’ve been hearing ongoing reports of difficulties behind the scenes in the lead-up to next year’s release, and the movie’s latest delay announcement wasn’t exactly a huge confidence-booster. Moreover, the film is both written and directed by Simon Kinberg, a scribe with a pretty iffy history when it comes to adapting this particular comic book story.
Before serving as a producer for all recent X-Men-related films, Kinberg co-wrote the script for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, a film largely remembered for offering a lamentably sloppy take on the Dark Phoenix storyline, not to mention about half a dozen other plot strands. Fortunately, these last twelve years have given Kinberg time to reflect on what could’ve been done better, and during a panel at NYCC, the filmmaker apologized for his past mistakes and assured us that this next attempt will be better.
“I’m sorry for X-Men 3… We tried to tell the Dark Phoenix story and we didn’t do it properly. So, with this Dark Phoenix story there is no ‘cure’ plot, there is no other plot. It is the Dark Phoenix story, as told in comics, as told in the cartoons. Sophie is the center of the film, that’s why she’s the one person that’s in the teaser poster. The entire movie revolves around her.”
After The Last Stand left the X-Men universe in a messy state, 2014’s Days of Future Past essentially erased the events of that trilogy-closing film through its time travel plotline, creating a clean slate for this next adaptation. Nonetheless, in the wake of 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, it’s clear that many viewers are once more growing weary of these mutant adventures, suggesting that another, more definitive reset of the franchise might be in order.
As it turns out, the recent Disney-Fox deal could provide the fresh start that this series needs, but in the meantime, we’ve still got X-Men: Dark Phoenix scheduled to hit theaters on June 7th, 2019. Here’s hoping that Kinberg has learned enough from the franchise’s previous misstep to make this second crack at the story worth the ever-lengthening wait.