Dark Phoenix Trailer Demonstrates A Lack Of Continuity

Dark Phoenix Trailer Reaction

The Dark Phoenix trailer. By now, we’ve seen it, we’ve read about it or we’ve tweeted about it. In fact, writer and director Simon Kinberg is determined to stay as true to form as the original story. Or so he says.

The Dark Phoenix Saga can be traced back to the early 1980s throughout the pages of Uncanny X-Men #129-138. With the story itself tackling the seduction of the phoenix force to Jean Grey’s darker personality traits.

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Key takeaways from the series:

  • Phoenix’s manipulation courtesy of Hellfire Club
  • The Phoenix force causes a supernova with hopes to experience the pleasure of millions dying by its hand
  • The Shi’ar Empire dubs Phoenix a greater risk than Galactus
  • Beast, now an Avenger greats the X-Men while Dark Phoenix returns to do battle with them
  • The X-Men are abducted and the Shi’ar Empire inform them they are looking to execute Jean Grey
  • A duel occurs between the X-Men and members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard
  • All the X-Men are defeated bar Cyclops and Jean
  • Lilandra looks to destroy the entire solar system as a last resort
  • Jean Grey turns a Kree weapon on herself and she is disintegrated in order to save her friends and the billions in the galaxy

The trailer 20th Century Fox delivered yesterday seems unlikely to deliver on half of these touch points. Writer and director Simon Kinberg insists Dark Phoenix will touch on the cosmic origins of the entity and it’s downward spiral. Kinberg told IGN:

“I always look to the comics obviously as the touchstones for the movies, and as you know and all fans know there is a lot of cosmic, extraterrestrial stories in the X-Men lore. It’s not something that we’ve explored in the past.

“It’s something we certainly begin to explore in this movie and if it’s appropriate to whatever the next movies would be then I would absolutely do that. It’s something I think audiences have almost grown accustomed to now given that the Marvel [MCU] movies are so often now intergalactic.

“I’ll keep it relatively mysterious but it is a cosmic story in a way that is extraterrestrial, which is something we’ve never done in the X-Men movies before but is obviously something that is integral to the Dark Phoenix story so I felt we couldn’t’ do what we did on X3 and ignore that,” Kinberg said.

“We had to actually embrace it. So there’s a fair amount that takes place in space, and the inciting incident that starts to turn Jean, let’s say, dark and fill her with this power that she can’t control happens in space. And then there are forces from space that come to Earth because of that.”

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Touching on the cosmic story of the Phoenix may be the intent of Simon Kinberg. What looks good on paper versus what gets delivered to the X-Men fan base is often a hit and miss. X-Men: Apocalypse is one such example. Continuity in the characters and their ages from that particular movie in direct correlation to the original trio is far from believable while Apocalypse’s powers have never included matter manipulation. Unless it’s the matter manipulation of his own body.

The Hellfire Club involvement is a perfect opportunity to link this film to Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost in First Class and Donald Pierce to Logan. While Beast’s involvement in the comics with the Avengers would’ve been a neat little segway into an eventual link between Mutants and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Both clear missed opportunities.

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X-3 never dealt with Phoenix as its own separate entity. It was a bottled up second personality courtesy of everyone’s favourite egotistical Xavier. If Phoenix were a separate entity then Dark Phoenix is about to de-value the shock Phoenix unleashed in X-3.

The continuity is weak with this one. Simon Kinberg is on the money with what is another swansong to a comic series that celebrates its lack of continuity.
Stick to the extended X-Universe.

Dark Phoenix hits theaters on February 14, 2019.