The X-Men movies have officially found the director who will take the franchise cosmic.
Simon Kinberg is officially confirmed to direct X-Men: Dark Phoenix for 20th Century Fox. Kinberg has been a writer and/or producer on several X-Men movies, including X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Logan, as well as upcoming films New Mutants and Deadpool 2. This will be his directorial debut.
Fox also confirmed that the stars of X-Men: Apocalypse will return for X-Men: Dark Phoenix. This includes Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr/Magneto, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X, Nicholas Hoult as Henry "Hank" McCoy/Beast, Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers/Cyclops, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler.
Jessica Chastain is also in talks to play the role of Lilandra, Majestrix of the Shi'ar Empire, one of the major political and military powers of the Marvel universe.
Kinberg was previously rumored to be making his directorial debut on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, though when asked about the matter at the time he would only say such rumors were premature. Kinberg is taking over for Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men movies (X-Men and X2: X-Men United) and the most recent two X-Men movies (X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse). Singer is stepping away from the franchise to pursue other films.
The matter of Lawrence, Fassbender, McAvoy, and Hoult's returns was up in the air following X-Men: Apocalypse. Each actor's three-film contract was up with the completion of the trilogy begun in X-Men: First Class and Lawrence, in particular, had been vocal about her desire to leave the franchise. It seems all four have renegotiated to return, though the terms of their new deals remain unknown.
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X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be a direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse. The film will take place in the 1990s and will be inspired by "The Dark Phoenix Saga," the most popular X-Men story of all time.
Fox attempted to adapt "The Dark Phoenix Saga" once previously, in X-Men: The Last Stand. The attempt was not well-received by fans.
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