The film is inspired by "The Dark Phoenix Saga," the most beloved X-Men story of all time. The story is about the tragedy of Jean Grey becoming the corrupted by the power of the Phoenix Force and a space opera about the X-Men fighting for her life when a galactic empire comes looking for justice.
"The Dark Phoenix Saga" is a big story to adapt into a single movie. It is a mix of intimate, personal character arcs and big, bright science fiction settings and action.
Balancing those two aspects of the story will be a challenge for anyone who signs on to direct. Bryan Singer, who has directed four X-Men movies including X-Men: Apocalypse, is stepping away for X-Men: Dark Phoenix to try his hand at something new. Producer/writer Simon Kinberg was rumored to take Singer's place but claimed those assumptions were premature.
So if not Singer or Kinberg, then who? Here are five directors that would make great choices to helm X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Alex Garland is a man of many talents. He began his career as a novelist and then moved onto to screenwriting, working on films like 28 Days Later and Dredd. He's even been involved with a couple of video games.
Garland made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, a critically lauded science fiction fan about artificial intelligence. "The Dark Phoenix" hinges on the relationship between Jean Grey and Scott Summers, and Ex Machina showed that Garland knows how to direct with intimacy.
Garland is also a noted voice of Generation X, which may also work in his favor in directing X-Men: Dark Phoenix since the movie will be set in the 1990s.prevnext
If 20th Century Fox is going to do "The Dark Phoenix Saga" justice, that means going into outer space and having the X-Men encounter the Shi'ar, the avian-humanoid alien race that has cultural ties to the Phoenix Force, and their empire. It also means bringing to life the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, made up of Superguardians from across the Shi'ar Empire and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
If anyone can bring an alien civilization to life with style it's Luc Besson, the director of such visual feats as The Fifth Element and Valerian: The City of a Thousand Planets.
However, Besson is a style over substance kind of director, so there is the risk that he will lose the important drama between Scott Summers in Jean Grey while bringing the epic Shi'ar Empire to life.prevnext
Duncan Jones' big budget Warcraft movie may not have impressed most critics, but it did give him experience in bringing an exotic fictional culture such as the Shi'ar Empire to life.
Jones made a name for himself with the experimental and provocative Moon, which was a much smaller film than Warcraft or any of the X-Men movies by comparison.
Perhaps by teaming Jones up with the experienced franchise producers at Fox can yield something that yields the best of everything Jones as done to date: the colorful world-building of Warcraft for the Shi'ar and the more intimate storytelling of Moon for Jean and Scott's story.prevnext
French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve originally came to fame for his crime-thriller films like Prisoners and Sicario, but he became an Oscar-worthy director with the science fiction film Arrival.
Arrival, a story about aliens making first contact with humans on Earth, is obviously steeply rooted in science fiction. Hower, Arrival never loses sight of its characters personal stories and relationships, which is part of what makes it such a touching film.
That balance between science fiction genre material and the X-Men's personal relationships, especially between Jean and Scott, is vital to the success of X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Villeneuve's next is Blade Runner 2049, and he's also got the Dune reboot on his place, so the idea of him directing X-Men: Dark Phoenix may just be wishful thinking.prevnext
Superhero movie fans are likely pretty familiar with Joss Whedon, him being the director of Marvel's The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron and a guiding hand for the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 2.
What superhero comic book fans may remember is that, before he directed Avengers, Joss Whedon wrote a widely celebrated run of X-Men comics for Marvel, titled Astonishing X-Men.
Astonishing X-Men did much for Marvel's X-Men comics much of what X-Men: Dark Phoenix seems poised to do for the X-Men movies. After a period spent on more realistic visuals and sensibilities, Whedon and artist John Cassaday return the X-Men to their brightly colored superhero roots. Perhaps Whedon can make that same pivot for the X-Men movies franchise.
For better or worse, Whedon is already working on a Batgirl movie for Warner Bros, so while Whedon would be a great choice for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the chances of it happening seem pretty unlikely.prevnext