The first-look feature on X-Men: Dark Phoenix provided insights while also raising some very pertinent questions. Of the character and plot details that were revealed, one thing stuck out as vague and mysterious: who is the Marvel Comics villain being played by Jessica Chastain?
A new EW feature digs a bit further into Chastain's role in Dark Phoenix, with the film's director (longtime X-Men franchise producer Simon Kinberg) dropping this latest hint as to the nature of Chastain's character: “Her character is way way smarter than we are. What she realizes is she can use [Jean Grey] to manipulate this world, to turn it against itself.”
This info comes on top of recent descriptions of her character being "an otherwordly shapeshifter who manipulates Phoenix for her own agenda. Chastain's villain is quiet but brutal." The actress herself also revealed a bit more, stating that her inspiration for this character is, "the vet who tells you you need to put your dog down. There’s something very clinical about it."
Taken altogether, fans have surmised that Chastain is mostly likely playing a Skrull Queen named Veranke from Marvel Comics. Veranke was a religious zealot who was banished to a barren world by the Skrull ruler Dorrek. When Veranke's prophecy of the Skrull Homeworld's destruction came true, she was crowned empress of the empire's remaints, and then launched a clandestine invasion of Earth executed over many years.
It's easy to see Veranke's story being adapted for the X-Men movies, with Phoenix being the object of Veranke's prophecy. The Skrulls are alien shape-shifters (check) who use manipulation (check) as a means of dividing and then conquering worlds (check) - all of which fits with the Chastain and Kinberg's respective descriptions. Back in the fall, there was a rumor that The Skrulls would soon be making an appearance in the X-Men movies - an issue that was confusing, as Marvel Studios has bartered with Fox to use The Skrulls as villains in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. Since both studios made use of Quicksilver a few years back, there no reason to think they're not doing the same now, with The Skrulls.
The X-Men Movie Universe continues with The New Mutants on April 13th; Untitled Deadpool Sequel on June 1st; and X-Men: Dark Phoenix on November 2nd.