After Bryan Singer reset the world of the X-Men in Days Of Future Past, the upcoming [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) presents a very interesting opportunity. This is essentially the start of a new narrative, one which will change the future of the X-Men saga and kick start plenty of potential spinoff movies.
With a new cast playing our old favorite characters, the sky really is the limit when it comes to which plot the X-Men films could adapt next. And there's one comic book storyline fans have been dying to see done right: the Dark Phoenix. So could we see this in an upcoming movie?
The New Jean Grey
Jean's story definitely seems to take a compelling turn in Apocalypse: we're returning to a time when she was younger, and less in control of her powers. As the trailer begins, it seems Jean is plagued by visions of a dark future.
"I saw the end of the world. I could feel all this... death."
Although Xavier assures her it was just a dream, we know her visions are probably somewhat prophetic seeing as the movie is called Apocalypse. But we don't see much of Jean Grey in the trailer, despite her formidable powers.
It seems as though Jean might take a bit of a back seat in Apocalypse, as the film focuses on the major players from the previous two films (Mystique, Xavier, Quicksilver, and Beast) and the new villains (Storm, Psylocke, Angel). But while talking to EW, writer Simon Kinberg hinted that Jean's development in the movie is still a strong part of the story.
"She’s young and isolated and so insecure and very alienated – even from the other mutants – because she’s so powerful. So there’s a real vulnerability to her and it’s great to see how her and Scott find each other through that alienation. She’s a great role to play, she’s so much fun, and her arc in the movie is amazing."
Although she's arguably one of the most powerful X-Men, Jean Grey's role in the movies so far has been rather downplayed. We never really see her at full strength, which is a shame, especially considering that her journey to control and harness her powers is one of the most compelling in the X-Men comics.
Rise Of The Dark Phoenix
The Dark Phoenix is a plot-line from the X-Men comics in which Jean Grey, bonded with the cosmic Phoenix Force, reaches her full power potential and goes kinda... power mad.
"I am what was, what is, what will be — the black angel, Chaos-Bringer! I AM POWER!"
This isn't really Jean Grey's fault. Together with Professor X, Jean had set up psychic barriers to prevent her powers from getting out of control, triggered by an emotional response. But the raw strength of the Phoenix Force breaks down these barriers.
After the Phoenix Force possesses her, Jean goes bad for a while, causing all kinds of havoc with more than a few casualties. But Jean eventually regains control and sacrifices herself to protect Cyclops and her friends.
In the long run, being possessed by the Dark Phoenix does actually help Jean understand, harness, and control her abilities, and she comes out all the stronger. This would make for a compelling movie, not only because it would develop the new heroes as they are forced to face their friend in battle, but because it's an epic storyline that would suit the big screen. The only problem with this is... someone already tried to adapt it, with debatable success.
Yeah, 'Last Stand' Was A Thing
Ah, X-Men: Last Stand. The movie fans hated so much Bryan Singer retconned it out of existence in Days Of Future Past. But though the timeline has changed in the X-Men universe, unfortunately Last Stand still exists in ours. Which means we've already seen a version of the Dark Phoenix plot-line onscreen.
Many fans believe Last Stand didn't really do the Dark Phoenix story justice as it actually didn't use the Phoenix Force entity at all. After Jean sacrificed herself to save the team in X2, she came back in Last Stand a lot more powerful and definitely unhinged. We didn't really get a reason for why she turned bad, other than the fact that she felt kinda pissed at Professor X for imposing limits on her. And she accidentally killed her boyfriend. But that's pretty much it.
This probably means that we won't see another version of the Dark Phoenix plot-line on screen, but if we did it could be so, so good.
Now Is The Perfect Time For Dark Phoenix
Well, by "now" I mean after X-Men: Apocalypse. One of the reasons Last Stand didn't really work as a Dark Phoenix adaptation was because it changed too many things from the comic arc. Now that the Hellfire Club have been used in the X-Men movies, they could serve as the Dark Phoenix villains, which would feed nicely into Fox's new TV show based on the Hellfire Club.
Some elements might have to be changed though, like the fact that the Dark Phoenix was never actually Jean Grey all along. Instead, Jean was cocooned and hidden by the Phoenix Force, and the Dark Phoenix had so much fun assuming Jean's identity it actually forgot it was never Jean in the first place.
Or maybe this would work on the big screen. Either way, it's definitely an interesting direction for the films to go in. After Mystique, Xavier, and Magneto leading this X-Men trilogy, it would be great for the franchise to forge ahead with the new cast, as they discover what it means to be one of the X-Men. And the Dark Phoenix Saga might be the best way to do that.