"For me, when I first got Apocalypse, I wanted to make it so that you could kind of see a little bit of a continuity throughline between my version of Storm and Halle's version of Storm. And Dark Phoenix is set in the '90s, and so it's a little bit closer to the early 2000s Storm," Shipp said Saturday at ACE Comic Con Arizona.
Gone is Storm's '80s mohawk hairstyle — faithful to that era of the Marvel comic books — replaced by a style signaling the emergence of Berry's more fully-realized school teacher-slash-mutant freedom fighter, last seen in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
"I just loved the fact that I didn't have to shave my head again, even though I've been dying to shave my head again, you guys. I really liked taking showers and having the water hit my scalp, and how nice that felt... it's so liberating," Shipp said.
"And also, it's a total breakdown of your femininity and allows you to show that as a woman, you're not your hair. But I love that we're kind of building that out, especially in Dark Phoenix, and you get to see a more natural side of her."
When Storm returns as the young X-Men deal with their greatest threat yet, posed by their own cosmically-corrupted Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), "you get to see her kind of taking on that matriarchal role that she has always had," Shipp added.
The 27-year-old actress previously advocated for a Storm-centric spinoff, telling THR last June "it is definitely time for these Storm fans to get the movie they have been dying for."
"There are so many different storylines that we could take on when it comes to Storm — whether she is losing her powers or going back to Africa," Shipp said, citing one famous '80s storyline that saw the then-leader of the X-Men rendered powerless. "I just want there to be a message of 'this woman doesn't need a man.' Just one movie where a woman doesn't need a man, really."
The 52-year-old Berry, who portrayed the character across four X-Men films between 2000 and 2014, said in 2015 she would return for a Storm solo "in a heartbeat."
"I love that character through and through," she told Deadline. "So if that ever became an opportunity for me, if it's before I'm 65-years-old, I would absolutely do that."
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Nicholas Hoult, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jessica Chastain, Dark Phoenix opens June 7.