Rumour of the next instalment in the X-Men saga being a "Dark Phoenix" storyline circulated for quite some time before the announcement was officially made a couple of months back. Well, today, the director, cast and release date for X-Men: Dark Phoenix have been revealed.

Back in February, rumour had it that long-time X-Men and Fox collaborator Simon Kinberg would make his directorial debut with Dark Phoenix but he was always rather coy when asked about the directing gig. However, this afternoon, thanks to OmegaUnderground, it has been officially revealed that Simon Kinberg will be getting behind the camera to direct the 7th (yes, 7!!!) instalment in the X-Men franchise. But that's not all because it has also been revealed that Kinberg has assembled quite the cast for the film too - which we'll dive into in just a second. Of course, to the aficionados amongst you, you'll be aware that Kinberg wrote The Last Stand, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse, and has served as producer on the films - as well as the likes of Deadpool and Fant4stic - for over a decade now. Dark Phoenix, though, will mark the producer/writer's first time behind the camera. Now, whilst there's perhaps no one out there that's quite as well-versed with these characters and this franchise as Kinberg, this news does make me quite nervous for the film, as an X-Men fan, given that not only has he never directed a film before ever but he will be dealing with a film with a budget easily north of $200 million. This is a giant project. Giant for any big director, let alone anyone just stretching their directing talents for the first time. So it will definitely be interesting just to see how this turns out.
I did mention earlier that Kinberg has whittled together quite the cast for the forthcoming blockbuster, and the lineup will see the return of franchise-alums James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and, believe it or not, Jennifer Lawrence as Xavier, Magneto, Beast and Mystique, respectively. However, joining them for the ride, returning after making their debuts in last Summer's Apocalypse are Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi-Smitt McPhee as Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler and of course, Jean Grey the Dark Phoenix herself, Sophie Turner. We always knew this would follow in the prequel franchise, post-Apocalypse, but it's great to see that McAvoy, Fassbender, Hoult and Lawrence will be back too. It's more so impressive that Lawrence is returning, given the fact that she stated multiple times that Apocalypse would be her final run as Mystique. Deadline also reports that Jessica Chastain is being eyed for an "unknown role" as the film's central antagonist; if this is the case, this cast list just keeps impressing.

Finally, to top the cake that is all of this sweet, sweet Dark Phoenix news, the film's release date has also been announced. So, mark your calendars folks, because the film is slated to open on November 2nd, 2018. That's just under a year and a half away so you'd imagine that the film would be looking to go into production soon and filming is set to begin later this month in Montreal. It's a rather quick turn around for what is sure to be a giant, effects-driven behemoth of a film. And with a first-time director behind the helm too. Not to mention the re-doing of, arguably, the most iconic X-Men storyline out there. There's a lot to be nervous about with Dark Phoenix. But with a stellar cast thus far and, again, such a rich comic-book storyline, there's also plenty to be excited about too. Only time will tell. But Dark Phoenix is coming.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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