It's official: X-Men: Dark Phoenix will revisit the most famous X-Men story of them all! The movie promises to take a far more cosmic approach to the adaptation than 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, and fans are beginning to wonder just what direction it could take.
Over in the comics, when Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum created Phoenix, they also launched the #XMen in an incredibly creative new direction. They introduced the X-Men to an alien race known as the Shi'ar — and a crew of intergalactic pirates known as the Starjammers. Does the new, cosmic direction of X-Men: Dark Phoenix mean the Shi'ar and the Starjammers could soon grace our screens?
The Shi'ar Empire
The top candidates to appear in X-Men: Dark Phoenix are undoubtedly the alien Shi'ar, especially after Omega Underground discovered audition tapes for actor Toby Huss playing what appears to be an alien character. A militaristic Avian race, the Shi'ar are one of the most powerful alien empires in the #Marvel Comics universe. Your basic Shi'ar possesses no superhuman abilities, but there are some genetic throwbacks who still have wings.
Traditionally aggressive and violent, the Shi'ar were ruled by the insane Emperor D'Ken, who sought to use the cosmic M'Kraan Crystal to ravage reality itself. Under D'Ken's insane rule, the Shi'ar had expanded across a vast region of space, enslaving or destroying entire worlds. D'Ken's sister, Lilandra, struggled to lead an uprising against D'Ken's cruelty, but found herself unable to defeat his military might.
That was when Lilandra sensed a powerful psychic presence, one able to reach out across the stars; the mind of Charles Xavier. She allied herself with the X-Men, and — thanks largely to the powerful Phoenix — the X-Men were able to defeat and overthrow D'Ken. Lilandra assumed rule of the Shi'ar.
In the years since, the Shi'ar's strength has ebbed and waned. They've regularly allied with the X-Men in battle against other races, from the Brood to the Phalanx; but their military strength was tested to its utmost when the mutant Vulcan took charge, and launched them into another expansionist phase. They're currently ruled by Gladiator, a powerful being who used to be leader of the Imperial Guards.
The success of Guardians of the Galaxy has proved that there's a real interest in cosmic stories — so it's no surprise we may well be about to meet the Shi'ar.
Meet The Starjammers
The Shi'ar aren't the only cosmic X-Men allies: The Starjammers are a group with infinite potential! In 2014, Marvel proved that a ragtag bunch of cosmic do-gooders can work well as stars of their own franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy — but the Starjammers were the original! They're a small group who escaped from a Shi'ar prison system, and they've served both as pirates and freedom fighters. Although the team's had many members over the years, the core group are pretty notable:
- Corsair: Major Christopher Summers is the team leader, and a human pilot whose plane was attacked by a visiting Shi'ar craft. Corsair and his wife were captured by the Shi'ar, although their children escaped; Corsair's wife died, and he dedicated himself to revenge on Emperor D'Ken. Corsair is an important figure in X-Men history — he's actually the father of Cyclops and Havok!
- Hepzibah: a feline Mephistoid who ultimately became Corsair's lover. Sexy and flirtatious, she's a tremendous warrior with natural agility and enhanced strength and speed.
- Ch'od: a looming reptilian powerhouse who is fiercely loyal. He's usually accompanied by a small furry pet, called Cr’reee!
- Raza Longknife: a cyborg who is the last of his race — his entire people having been slaughtered by the Shi'ar. Raza is a warrior born, but also a skilled engineer.
Frankly, I find it incredible that Fox hasn't already considered using the Starjammers — especially after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy! There is, of course, one major problem with introducing the team; the timeline around Cyclops and Havok has gotten very... well, let's just say confused, with Havok a teenager in the 1960s when, in the comics, he's Cyclops's younger brother! Forgive me, though, but I seriously doubt Fox would continuity stand in the way of telling the story they want to tell...
Right now, we have no way of knowing how comic-book-accurate X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be. If it is fairly accurate, then it's going to introduce a new, cosmic dimension to the X-Men franchise, and could potentially even launch spin-off films — such as Starjammers. With Fox clearly beginning to realize that the franchise has more potential than just a series of tentpole films, I'd be very interested indeed to see the wider X-Men universe head in that direction.
Do you think a 'Starjammers' movie would work?
(Source: Omega Underground; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)