Why Dark Phoenix Is The Climax Of The X-Men Franchise And Will Have No Problem Killing Characters

Jean Grey is taking no prisoners in Dark Phoenix. (Photo: Fox)

That thing you thought you saw in the new Dark Phoenix trailer earlier this week? Yeah, that happened.

In the latest X-Men franchise trailer, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) seems to literally blow away Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)—and while the editing is slightly ambiguous about whether Mystique survives that encounter, writer/director Simon Kinberg is not.

“Mystique is someone who in our universe has been part of the X-Men and has been part of Magneto’s world,” Kinberg told Entertainment Weekly. “Her death impacts literally everybody.”

You read that right: “death.” Kinberg went on to explain why killing Mystique was so important, how it sets the tone for the film, and how Dark Phoenix becomes a climax to the current X-Men franchise—which is good timing, considering Disney is getting ready to take the helm.

“The thought process behind [killing Mystique] was to primarily show that this is a movie that is unlike other X-Men movies,” Kinberg said. “It’s a movie where shocking things happen, where intense, dramatic things happen. People don’t just fall off buildings and dust themselves off and walk away. There’s a reality to this movie and a consequence to this movie. Even more than that, it was to show that Jean/Dark Phoenix is genuinely a threat to everyone, including the X-Men.”

Kinberg said that “there are certainly other major casualties” in the movie and that this one, in particular, sets the stage for the rest of the movie.

“Mystique’s death is the thing that fractures the family of the X-Men, including Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and sets people who were friends on opposite sides, and people who were enemies become allies,” he said.

A Jean vs. X-Men showdown. (Photo: Fox)

Those kinds of stakes come at just the right time, because many believe Dark Phoenix will be the last Fox X-Men movie (not counting the hopefully still-to-be-released New Mutants, which is seemingly set outside the main franchise continuity).

Kinberg said he doesn’t know if that’s true and hasn’t had formal talks with Marvel or Disney about it, but that he does see Dark Phoenix as the end of something he and Matthew Vaughn started back in 2011 with X-Men First Class.

“What’s interesting is obviously I started this movie long before Disney purchased Fox, and I approached the movie knowing that it was the fourth movie with our First Class cast and that the Phoenix story for me is the ultimate X-Men story,” Kinberg said.

“I approached the movie like it was the culmination in some ways—not that there couldn’t be other movies, but I did approach the movie as if, like, if you spent 20 years of living with this family, this is the movie you see the family truly tested, fall apart, and hopefully come back together. There was something about that sense of closure for the family, that sense of test, that sense of loss. It felt like not this is the end necessarily, but this is it for them. It is the climax of this franchise.”

In his interview, Kinberg also talked about similarities to the last Dark Phoenix film, The Last Stand, Jessica Chastain’s role, the fluid release date, the Hellfire Club, and much more. You can read it in full here.

Dark Phoenix opens June 6.

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