Fox has finally settled on a director for the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. As per Deadline (and previous reports), longtime X-Men producer Simon Kinberg is now confirmed to take the director’s chair in his directorial debut. Furthermore, the rumour that Jessica Chastain was in talks for the film has also panned out: she will reportedly play the film’s villain, Shi’ar Empress Lilandra.
Chastain will join several returning members of the films. Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult will reprise their roles as Magento, Professor X, Mystique and Beast. Meanwhile, the younger cast of X-Men: Apocalypse will return with Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also back as Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler.
The film will be based on the comic storyline The Dark Phoenix Saga, a pivotal moment in the X-Men comics where Jean Grey gains the powers of a cosmic entity called the Dark Phoenix. Chastain’s Lilandra leads an intergalactic civilization and empire which seeks to destroy the Phoenix as it threatens the universe.
The Dark Phoenix Saga was very loosely adapted in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, a film Kinberg wrote and produced. Since then, he’s been a producer on every X-Men film and wrote the screenplays for X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. He is also producing with Hutch Parker and Lauren Shuler Donner.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will begin shooting in Montreal later this year for a November 2nd, 2018 release date.