'Dark Phoenix' Introduces Deeper Issues for Xavier & Mystique

When the X-Men franchise received a soft relaunch with X-Men: First Class, the new films focused on the core characters of Professor X, Mystique, and Magneto. And though Mystique's allegiances have wavered between good and evil, the last film ended with her as a leader of the young X-Men.

But her already strained relationship with Charles Xavier might be pushed to the bring in Dark Phoenix, as evidenced by the trailer. Writer and director Simon Kinberg spoke about their relationship, and how Xavier's actions could split him and Mystique apart once again.

"Raven is a part of the X-Men, but she’s critical of some of Charles’ methodologies, in terms of him feeling as though they can just dress up in those costumes and be considered the same as the rest of humanity," Kinberg said to Empire. "So there is a schism forming between her and Charles. That struggle has been present in every movie, and we do it in a hopefully slightly more subtle way in this film. She toggles back and forth between Raven and Mystique, and there is meaning to that as there has always been in the previous three X-Men movies."

The movie appears to be embracing the comic book lore of "The Dark Phoenix Saga," with frequent depictions having Xavier undertake some questionable tactics in order to keep Jean Grey from becoming a dangerous threat. It looks like Mystique will uncover some of Xavier's secrets, which could hurt their relationship even more.

While Kinberg wants to tell a grounded, emotional story, he admits that he's also taking the series to cosmic heights, an inherent trait of the Phoenix Force.

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"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," Kinberg told IGN. "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."

Unfortunately, fans will have to wait a bit longer to see the next X-Men movie. The release date for Dark Phoenix was pushed back a second time, and will now release in theaters on June 7, 2019.