Photo Credit: Doane Gregory/Twentieth Century Fox
Though X-Men: Dark Phoenix writer-director Simon Kinberg had originally intended his upcoming film to be the start of a new trilogy — at least way back in mid-2016 — he has claimed in a new interview that he always saw Dark Phoenix to be “the natural culmination for this cycle of X-Men movies”. That's good news for the franchise given its studio Fox's recent acquisition by Disney, which might naturally hit the reset button on X-Men as it plans to integrate its heroes into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“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,” Kinberg told ComicBook.com over the weekend. “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.”
In its nearly two decades, the X-Men franchise has been through ups and downs. The original trilogy, releasing from 2000 to 2006, produced two well-received entries — X-Men and X2 — before culminating in the disastrous X-Men: The Last Stand, for which Kinberg (then just a writer) has apologised in the past. In 2011, director Matthew Vaughn soft-rebooted the universe with the joyous X-Men: First Class, before we got a critically-lauded X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014. It all went to waste with the ghastly X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, something Dark Phoenix will look to bounce from.
The popularity of the X-Men has given rise to several spin-offs, including three for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine — which gave us the brilliant Logan in 2017 — and two successful outings for Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, who had never appeared in the mainline films. While the adult-only Deadpool is rumoured to live outside the MCU, the rest of the characters are expected to be included sooner rather than later, given Disney completed its Fox acquisition late last month. Meanwhile, plans for all other X-Men spin-off have reportedly been put on hold.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is out June 7, 2019, followed by the horror spin-off The New Mutants on August 2, 2019.