Jessica Chastain Didn't Know Her X-Men Character's Name Until She Watched Dark Phoenix

Jessica Chastain didn't even know the name of her character in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, until she finally watch the film! As Chastain revealed to PEOPLE Dark Phoenix's production was interrupted by the Disney-Fox merger of 2019, which left the X-Men movie franchise in an uncertain purgatory. As such, details about Dark Phoenix's storyline and characters became somewhat muddled, to the point that Chastain says "I didn't even know what my character's name was until I saw the film... What's happening?" It's just one more example of how unfortunate the situation was for all involved with making Dark Phoenix

As Chastain further explains, "My situation — I think the studio was bought at a certain point..." a somewhat vague reference to the real troubles Dark Phoenix had to overcome. Aside from reshoot and scheduling delays, when the merger happened and Disney acquired all of 20th Century Fox's upcoming film slate, the Mouse House was allegedly much more ambivalent about letting Fox's X-Men movie finale explore certain characters that the Marvel Studios franchise would also be using.

 As such, details of Chastain's shape-shifting alien character were refitted from the obvious reference to Marvel's Skrulls to "The D'Bari" race, with Chastain as their leader "Vuk." That obscure Marvel Comics reference only angered fans, who felt that Dark Phoenix was more Marvel movie knock-off than the start of a new era of X-Men movies it was originally intended to be. 

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(Photo: 20th Century Studios)

Jessica Chastain didn't just have her comic book movie franchise hopes dashed by Dark Phoenix: the film was also a poorly-timed stumble for up-and-coming actors like Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner (Jean Grey/Phoenix); Ready Player One's Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), and Aliayah's Alexandra Shipp (Storm), all of whom spent years in the mid-2010s grinding it out for their spot in the next wave of X-Men movies. The same went for the young cast of Fox's New Mutants (including Turner's Game of Thrones bestie Maisie Williams), who were similarly lost in the limbo (X-Men pun!) of the Disney-Fox merger.

Finally, Dark Phoenix was a major dash to the hopes of longtime X-Men movie writer/producer Simon Kinberg, who was finally getting the biggest directorial shot of his career with Dark Phoenix. If there's any silver lining here, it's in Jessica Chastain's statement that she and Kinberg have since bounced back by working together on a different project: "[Dark Phoenix] was an interesting thing. Simon Kinberg, who directed it, is an incredible human being, and I've worked with him again. I love him."

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix is available on home video and streaming