Brace yourself, True Believers. The Phoenix Force is coming to earth in X-men: Dark Phoenix, slotted to hit theaters November 2, 2018. Sophie Turner returns as telepathic powerhouse Jean Grey and she’s in for the fight of her life in this big screen adaptation of the classic X-men story, The Dark Phoenix Saga.
Jessica Chastain, long rumored to be playing Shi’ar Empress Lilandra Neramani, recently confirmed on Twitter she was not playing the intergalactic monarch, but an entirely different character altogether. So what gives? We know Chastain is playing the film’s big bad (cite her Instagram to fellow castmate James McAvoy) and if Lilandra isn’t the film’s villain then who is?
We don’t need to dive deep into the X-mythos to theorize who Chastain may be playing— after all there are only a handful of mutants who can weather the flames of the Phoenix.
Below is our top five guesses on who Chastain will be playing in the upcoming X-flick.
Just because Chastain isn’t playing Lilandra doesn’t mean we won’t have an appearance by the Imperial Guard in the movie. In the comics, Lilandra is just a figurehead and it’s the Shi’ar Guards who battle the X-men for the fate of Jean’s life. Oracle is the Shi’ar Empire’s chief telepath and holds no punches when facing the Phoenix. A fierce psychic battle is something desperately missing from the X-franchise. Can you picture an astral plane confrontation between Jean, Xavier, and Oracle ala the visual effects we saw in the Dr. Strange movie? It would be epic.
You can’t have an adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga without illusionist Jason Wangear. In the original comics, he was solely responsible for Jean’s fall from grace, stalking her for weeks before seducing her to the dark side. This guy is a total creep so we wouldn’t put it pass him using any means necessary to manipulate Jean, even taking on the form of another badass redhead. Of course Jason is a member of the Hellfire Club and they disbanded at the end of X-men: First Class, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see a different iteration of the mutant secret society led by Shinobi Shaw. Either way we want to see Jean kick this douche bag’s ass.
Emma Frost was confirmed dead during X-men: Days of Future Past but the X-men are notorious for rebirths and reboots. What if January Jones’s Emma had given birth to a daughter before her death? Or what if Emma had transferred her consciousness into another body? Whatever the reason, Emma Frost and Jean Grey go together like plaids and stripes. They just don’t match. Emma is too big of a character to kill off screen and seeing these two X-ladies throw down on the silver screen will be fan service at its finest. Make it happen, Fox!
Lilandra’s treacherous sister Deathbird is a fan favorite and packs one deadly sting. If you think Lilandra is a witch with a capital B, then get ready for Deathbird. Apprehending and killing the Dark Phoenix may prove her worthy of the Shi’ar throne. Visually this character would look stunning on the silver screen and push the X-franchise in the direction it needs to go. Though we love how grounded and human the prior X-films have been, it’s time they embrace their superhero roots. And lets be real, Deathbird is infamous for her team-ups with Apocalypse, Vulcan, and Bishop. She’d fit right into the franchise.
The Phoenix Force
The final confrontation in the Dark Phoenix Saga boils down to Jean and her Phoenix Force persona. The Phoenix force, an anthropomorphic cosmic firebird, has its own consciousness and body independent of Jean. Could Chastain be playing the literal incarnation of death and rebirth? Given the Force is known to posses multiple hosts (none as awesome as Jean, of course) we pray this may be the case because it’ll ensure her involvement in future flicks. Chastain only arrived on set this month and production is scheduled to wrap at the end of October. Could the Phoenix Force persona be an end of film reveal?