The first trailer for ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ has arrived, but we are no closer to knowing who Jessica Chastain is playing. It has been revealed that she is an alien, but Chastain herself shot down rumors that she was portraying Lilandra, Charles Xavier’s extraterrestrial love interest. Considering that this film loosely adapts ‘Uncanny X-Men’ #129-138, Chastain’s manipulative role has led some to believe that she is playing a gender-swapped version of the X-Men’s enemy Jason Wyngard, a.k.a. Mastermind.
However, director Simon Kinberg has also shot that down… and has even hinted that Chastain isn’t playing a comic book character at all.
“I will say that Jessica’s character is not Mastermind but there are elements of the way Mastermind manipulates Jean that Jessica’s character does employ. For me, as you’ll see, that Jessica’s character has elements of a few different characters from the comics.”
“She is from, let’s say, not our planet, her character. 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. 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.”
The fact that Kinberg stated that “Jessica’s character has elements of a few different characters from the comics” would seem to indicate that she is a composite and as such, is probably not one actual character from the comics. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.
In the comics, Mastermind used his mind control powers to manipulate Jean Grey into falling in love with him, but thanks to his mental tinkering, Jean lost control and became the power-crazed Dark Phoenix.
It would make sense to incorporate him in some way into the film, but it doesn’t sound as though they did. Instead, there will be some other catalyst for Jean’s transformation.
Perhaps Sophie Turner, who plays Jean, can provide some explanation:
“One of the main things with Jean throughout this movie is her abandonment. She’s been kind of abandoned by everyone she loves or comes across and Charles is the biggest one of them all. So she feels a lot of betrayal from Charles and she does a lot of things out of spite because of that.”
“My hope with the film is that everybody has a valid point of view. So that Charles did certain things to try to help Jean. They may have been misguided, they may have been guided by wanting to control her, they may have been guided by ego, but they were ultimately in his heart to try and help someone who was unstable and over the span of the movie, for a reason that has nothing to do with him, a reason that takes place in space, she becomes more and more unstable.
“And people in the movie start to blame him for that not realizing what’s actually happening to her. So, yes, he did some things in the past that one could see as dubious but he did them for a good purpose, from his point of view, and so as Jean is losing control and doing these sometimes horrific certainly destructive things, for lack of an explanation for many of the characters because they don’t understand this larger cosmic entity, they are looking at Charles as the one responsible for it when in fact the movie sort of operates on two planes. It operates as a very personal, intimate story about Jean and her past and her struggle with her powers, and it also operates as this much larger intergalactic story with aliens involved that Charles is not responsible for.”
While we wait for all of that to make sense, here is a new photo of Chastain and Turner from the movie:
‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ is the directing debut of Simon Kinberg. It stars Chastain as well as James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto (Erik Lehnsherr), Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (Raven Darkholme), Sophie Turner as Phoenix (Jean Grey), Evan Peters as Quicksilver (Peter Maximoff), Nicholas Hoult as Beast (Hank McCoy), Tye Sheridan as Cyclops (Scott Summers), Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), and Alexandra Shipp as Storm (Ororo Munroe). It is expected to hit theaters on February 14, 2019.