Fans are unsure what to expect from next year's X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The film is Fox's second attempt to adapt the famous "Dark Phoenix Saga" for the big screen, and we've heard a lot of conflicting reports. Will the film finally embrace the cosmic? Or will it be more "grounded?" Will Magneto be a cult leader? Will it be a standalone film in its own right, or setup for another tentpole movie, turning the "Dark Phoenix Saga" into an ongoing arc?
There are lots of rumors, but we're short on facts. Now another rumor's been added to the list: Will the Skrulls appear in Dark Phoenix?
A Surprising Report
According to Universo X-Men, a source close to the film claims to have witnessed a scene involving an alien attack. Professor Xavier and Magneto are attending a meeting of the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss mutant rights. The meeting is interrupted by an alien invasion, with the actors wearing motion-capture costumes, meaning computer graphics would be used to actually create the alien race. Universo X-Men's source claims she explicitly heard these aliens referred to as Skrulls.
When it comes to rumors like this, I recommend going by what I call the "Rule of Three." Until a rumor has been independently confirmed by three sources, treat it with care. At the same time, though, Universo X-Men has a strong reputation. A lot of their exclusives related to X-Men: Apocalypse turned out to be true, and they claim this information is from the same source. So this is surprisingly credible.
What's more, the details do fit nicely with other rumors and set photos. There are rumors that Dark Phoenix sees Magneto as ruler of the mutant nation of Genosha, which would explain why he would be visiting the United Nations Headquarters. Set photos taken by the Journal De Montreal clearly showed Fox creating a replica of that building. So the details do seem to match up.
What Does This Mean?
Assuming that this report is accurate, it suggests that the classic "Dark Phoenix Saga" has been heavily adapted. While that story featured an alien race, it actually saw the X-Men pitted against the Shi'ar, not the shapeshifting Skrulls. Initial reports had suggested Dark Phoenix would be rather more comic-book-accurate, with Jessica Chastain said to be in talks to play Majestrex Lilandra Neramani of the Shi'ar Empire. In a since-deleted comment on Instagram though, Chastain publicly stated that her character wasn't Lilandra. Every rumor since has suggested a dramatic divergence between the "Dark Phoenix Saga" and the movie.
It's worth noting that Fox does have the rights to use the Skrull race. They're a shared property between Marvel and Fox, akin to the Watchers, although there are specific Skrulls who are exclusively Fox properties. So this is actually possible, and it would be ironic for Fox to introduce the Skrulls.
At San Diego Comic-Con, we learned that the aliens will be entering the MCU as the villains of 2019's Captain Marvel. Many Marvel fans believe this to be setup for a future "Secret Invasion" arc. If Fox is introducing the Skrulls in #DarkPhoenix, it would be a rinse-and-repeat of the issues we saw in 2015 when both franchises introduced a version of Quicksilver.
Intriguingly, if this rumor is true, it would suggest that Fox intends to use cosmic X-Men films to develop some of their Fantastic Four properties. They have the film rights to the Skrulls because the aliens are strongly associated with the Fantastic Four, a property that Fox has always struggled to turn into a box office success. Will future cosmic #XMen movies follow the same pattern, introducing more characters lifted from the Fantastic Four?
Let's face it, this rumor is still highly questionable. At the same time, though, it comes from a reputable source, and it's not outside the realms of possibility. If Fox does intend to introduce the Skrulls next year, it will be very interesting to compare-and-contrast their version with Marvel's in 2019.
Do you think Fox should integrate the Skrulls into their X-Men franchise? Let me know in the comments!