X-Men: Apocalypse introduced us to younger versions of Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Storm and Nightcrawler. The characters resonated well with audiences — even if the movie itself wasn't everyone's favorite — and we've been wanting to see their new adventures ever since.
Fortunately, the young mutants are poised to return to the big screen with Simon Kinberg's X-Men: Dark Phoenix. But aside from the fact that the film will deal with Jean Grey's infamous transformation into the namesake cosmic entity, Fox has kept story details very close to its chest. Fans have been scrambling to get their hands on any kind of information to hold us over until November, 2018.
While that's proven to be a challenging endeavor so far, we may have a new tantalizing detail that will probably give us plenty of speculative material.
Is 'Dark Phoenix' A Two-Part Storyline? Olivia Munn Seems To Believe So
#OliviaMunn sat down for an interview with Collider to promote The Lego Ninjago Movie. Unsurprisingly, the topic of #XMen franchise came up, and she was asked about her involvement in Dark Phoenix. Just like any other experienced superhero actor, Munn was careful to not give any major plot points away, but that didn't stop her from throwing a curveball at us with her response:
"I don't know what I'm supposed to say. I'm supposed to be vague. That's my answer. I'm horrible at that. It's like a two parter, this movie. That's more than I’ve said, in general. I don't know why people have to be so secretive."
Wait... what? OK, let's be clear here: We have no idea of what she meant by "two-parter." While the first thing that comes to mind is Dark Phoenix being split in two films, she could have been referring to a big storyline, or the difference in tones from one half of the film to the other.
With that said, this statement got me thinking about something: It would be amazing for the movie to be a two-parter.
Now, I understand the frustration that may come with seeing a blockbuster being divided in two. We've seen how badly that can affect blockbusters, after all. But Dark Phoenix would be one of the few films that actually justifies a two-part structure.
'The Phoenix Saga' Is Just Too Massive To Fit Into One Movie
The "Dark Phoenix Saga" from the comic books is quite long and intricate. The story's main drive may have been Jean Grey's turn into the Phoenix, but the plot is filled to the brim with different characters and subplots that work in tandem to develop the overall arc. The movie, however, won't have to handle the same amount of content. Director #SimonKinberg revealed in early September that the movie wouldn't be as massive as its source material, stating: "[We must] find a way to ground it so it's not too intergalactic."
That will probably make some think that the smaller scale means the film will be better off as only part, but here's the thing: Those cosmic players having a smaller role (or no role at all) in the movie doesn't take away the fact that Dark Phoenix would work better with an expanded storyline. Ultimately, the impact of the plot boils down to the character relationships.
What made the #comicbook arc's emotional hits so effective was the fact that we had grown to love the characters in the story. We knew Jean Grey, and we were fully invested in her relationship with the X-Men. Those two things made her transformation into the Phoenix a tough, yet intriguing, thing to explore, and gave the story some much-needed gravitas.
While Jean has been in the movies since 2000, played by Famke Janssen, we've only seen #SophieTurner in the role once so far. We just haven't had time to develop the same kind of relationship with the younger live-action mutants. Don't get me wrong, I love the new take on the characters, but that doesn't take away the fact that there's still a long way to go for us to create a meaningful emotional connection with them.
We have yet to see them interact as a full-fledged group, and there's a lot left to learn about them. Those are aspects that should ideally be explored in the span of at least two movies, as opposed to one movie that's burdened with both developing the characters as a unit that we're supposed to root for and then tearing them apart.
Granted, there's very little we know about the script or the direction Kinberg is taking with the story, but films that cram too much source material into one story often suffer as a result (just look at the previous Dark Phoenix adaptation, X-Men: The Last Stand).
Keep in mind I'm just speculating here, but it would be great to have the hypothetical first part dealing with the X-Men as a team, and show the full-blown Dark Phoenix storyline by the second part, with the gifted heroes now a team with developed friendships and connections with the audience.
A Two-Part Storyline Would Also Help Give The X-Men Universe A Bigger Sense Of Continuity
The X-Men franchise has had a complicated relationship with continuity ever since its conception. Even the recent trilogy of films –– which are much more connected than previous chapters in the saga –– have refused to follow a coherent structure so far. It has gaping plot holes on full display, such as Mystique's capture of #Wolverine at the end of Days of Future Past and Moira MacTaggert's inability to age after 30 years.
While breaking Dark Phoenix down into two parts wouldn't be an immediate solution to that issue, a continuing narrative would give the X-Men cinematic universe some semblance of continuity.
Now, you may be wondering how likely is it for the movie to be released in two separate installments. Right now, it's really tough to say for sure. #Fox has numerous #Marvel films scheduled all the way up to 2021, so the studio looking for another release in the main X-Men franchise doesn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility. At this point, however, all we can do is wait, and cross our fingers for the Dark Phoenix saga to get the treatment it deserves.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix flies into theaters on November 2, 2018.
How would you feel if Dark Phoenix ended up being a two-parter? Let me know in the comments!