Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters on June 7.
With the upcoming arrival of Dark Phoenix, the future of the X-Men film franchise is in a strange position. In the wake of Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox, and the rights to the Marvel characters it controlled, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the team of mutant superheroes would become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But what about the universe that's been built over the last 20 years through X-Men movies? If the continuity of this franchise ends, will fans get a sense of closure from Dark Phoenix? That's the question GameSpot posed to Dark Phoenix director Simon Kingberg and producer Hutch Parker at WonderCon, during a roundtable interview.
"When I first started talking with Hutch and the studio about the movie, and when I first started writing it, which was three plus years ago--it takes a long time to gestate a movie--long before there was any idea of a Disney acquisition of Fox, I felt as though, and we all did that, this was the culmination of this cycle of X-Men movies," Kingberg said. "Not necessarily the end, but the culmination. You've lived with this family for 20 years now in one form or another, and 10-plus years with the X-Men: First Class family. And that this story, which is the ultimate and most iconic X-Men story was sort of an opportunity to test that family more than they've been tested, break that family part like they've never been broken apart before, bring them back together, ultimately, in a new configuration. It would feel as though you had culminated where those characters could go within this cycle, and started something really quite new by the end of this movie, as you'll see. And so yeah, I think fans will feel closure, but not because of the merger. That's something that happened even after we were shooting, so the movie was in the can already."
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Instead, part of what made him think about giving fans that culmination was the unlikelihood they'd be able to reunite the cast, many of whom have become in-demand stars, again after Dark Phoenix. "I also felt like, this was probably the last time we were going to get Michael [Fassbender] and James [McAvoy] and Jennifer [Lawrence], and Nicholas [Hoult], maybe, for these films," he continued. "And so there was this feeling of if, in fact, this is the last of this cycle, and it was an if, and it remains an if, then this is the right story to tell to do that."
For Parker, though, it's not just about a culmination of the current cycle of the franchise. Some of the closure, in his mind, is due to the creative team's reluctance to hold anything back. "There's a tendency when you're making movies that you know are part of a sequence of movies to hold back and to sort of play it safe to keep some powder dry for the next one. And, and I don't think these movies can afford that," the producer explained. "I think you have to kind of go into movies now, given how competitive landscape is, and play everything you've got. And that's part of what was behind certain decisions, maybe shocking traumatic ones of killing off characters, are seeing some of the philosophies run their course or emotional ideas be completed. So for me, there's a lot of closure just in that, just in feeling like it's not full of lots of dangling potential winks. It's really taking ideas and saying we're going to play them through and that's a bittersweet quality, but I also think it's part of what makes the movie feel more emotional and more substantive."
If anything, it's been clear from the beginning that this movie was laying it all out on the table, with the first trailer confirming the death of a major character. As for how fans will feel once the film concludes, that remains to be seen. Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters on June 7.