This June’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix is set to be the final entry in, if not the whole franchise, then at least the mainline X-Men movie series. With Disney having taken over Fox and Marvel Studios reclaiming the rights to the characters, this will spell the last outing for the mutant proteges of James McAvoy’s Professor X. According to one of the producers, though, it was always the intention that Dark Phoenix wrap things up, with the decision coming from a creative standpoint long before the Disney buyout took place.
While catching up with ComicBook.com at WonderCon this weekend, producer Hutch Parker explained that the thinking with DP was to up the drama by making story developments that could not be reversed, which in turn led to the production team believing that it was the correct point to call it a day. As Parker says, Dark Phoenix became a “natural culmination” of the series.
“You know, we did, not for the reasons that would seem to be the case now, but in the sense that we felt like we were completing certain emotional arguments. We were completing certain emotional ideas. And in trying to take the story further, it dictated we make certain choices from which we couldn’t come back.
You know, Raven’s death, certain choices that, I guess for me, one of the challenges of doing the sequel to a franchise is how do you keep it fresh? How do you keep pushing forward? And I think too often we treat the ground is we play it safe and we don’t make movies that are as interesting as they should be. So we tried to free ourselves from that hesitation this time and kind of let it fly. And so in its own way, that became a kind of natural culmination.”
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Whatever the reason for it, it’s kind of fitting that Dark Phoenix will be the final installment of what you might call the X-Men prequel movies. After all, the original trilogy in the franchise came to a close with an adaptation of the Phoenix saga as well, in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. That movie also made some pretty bold decisions that made it hard to move on from, even if Days of Future Past later erased it completely from the timeline.
Presumably, Fox had some sort of plan to restart the mainline X-Men films in a fresh way after DP – though this probably would always have been Jennifer Lawrence’s final outing as Mystique. Still, now it’s not up to them, as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will have to find a way to work mutantkind into the MCU in the next few years. Reports say that only Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will survive the move in tact, so fans should get ready to say goodbye to the gang when Dark Phoenix hits cinemas on June 7th.