Simon Kinberg has been involved with the Fox Marvel universe since first coming on board as a screenwriter for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Since then, he’s been a writer and/or producer on every X-Men related film and TV show since, including high points like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Logan and Legion, as well as less well-regarded offerings like X-Men: Apocalypse.
Now he makes his directorial debut on the 12th and possibly last film in the Fox Marvel continuity, Dark Phoenix, a retelling of the classic story that was mishandled in X-Men: The Last Stand (a.k.a. X3). The film arrives following the completion of Disney’s purchase of Fox, which will allow Disney’s Marvel Studios to (presumably) reboot characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During a talk with reporters this weekend at WonderCon in Anaheim, California, Den of Geek asked Kinberg if he’d like to stay on and keep working on X-movies under the MCU umbrella.
“I would love to continue to work on these movies,” he replied. “I love these characters, and we’ll see what form it takes as this merger evolves. It’s in its earlier stages, I think it just closed last week or whatever it was, so we’ll see what the future plans are, but yeah I would like to continue to work on it because I love these characters.
“But I will say also, separate from the Disney/Marvel crux of it all, I think the question would be, what is the next story to tell on the X-Men world?” he continued. “Because we really did approach (Dark Phoenix) as, ‘Let this be the culmination of the cycle and then let us be challenged the same way we were challenged with X-Men: First Class after X3.’ It’s maybe not coincidental that both X3 and this movie were culminations of a cycle with the cast and characters making X-Men movies (at that time), and after X3, we rebooted with X-Men: First Class.”
Kinberg made his comments ahead of a screening of 17 minutes of footage from Dark Phoenix at WonderCon, and while it’s hard to say how a film will turn out from glimpsing two scenes, we daresay that the presentation was promising.
The first scene showed the X-Men jetting into space aboard the Blackbird to rescue a damaged space shuttle, a mission that goes awry when Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) accidentally absorbs the full energy of the malevolent Phoenix Force that has arrived in Earth’s orbit.
The scene showed the X-Men — including Beast (Nicholas Hoult), team leader Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) — working as a real team and combining their skill sets for the best possible outcome, although the results are not what they wanted. Even though they return home as heroes, Mystique confronts Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) about the risks the X-Men are taking.
The second sequence was from later in the film. Outside a Central Park apartment building, the professor and his team confront Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who — along with new characters Selene (Kota Eberhardt) and Red Lotus (Andrew Stehlin), plus, surprisingly, Beast — is intent on killing an increasingly powerful and dangerous Jean. As she waits upstairs with the unknown alien character played by Jessica Chastain, Magneto lifts an entire subway car out from under the street to block the path of the others as he heads inside for a crushing encounter with the Dark Phoenix.
Although Kinberg mentioned that he and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige have known each other for a long time and even got together on a friendly basis not long ago, there has yet to be any official indication of Marvel’s plans for the X-Men down the road. Will Dark Phoenix allow Kinberg to make his case for staying on board? We’ll find out when the film arrives on June 7.
Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, RollingStone.com and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye