Jessica Chastain’s as-of-yet unidentified villain in Dark Phoenix will battle all members of the X-Men at once. Her character is one of many mysteries surrounding the follow-up to Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016.
Following the tease at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, the latest entry in the X-Men franchise will see a dark and dangerous cosmic force manifest within Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), causing her to spiral out of control. As a result, the mutant heroes will not only have to battle one of their own, but a race of aliens seeking to control her powers. X-Men stories have faced criticism in recent years, with even the comic-book characters lamenting the repetitive nature of their stories, and the first trailer for Dark Phoenix only exacerbated those cries, with many claiming that it feels too similar to The Last Stand. Still, many remain hopeful, especially following the news that Dark Phoenix will draw from the popular “Secret Invasion” storyline.
Speaking at a CCXP 2018 presentation for Dark Phoenix (via: Twitter user Lodix1), Chastain helped whet fans’ appetites even further. To huge cheers from the crowd, the actress revealed that the film will feature a truly epic superhero showdown between her mysterious character, who is credited simply as Smith, and the entire X-Men team simultaneously – which might include everyone from Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) himself. Her character is reportedly part of an alien race attempting to use Jean for their own nefarious ends, which will consequently bring her into direct conflict with the X-Men. Given that her character can handle them all single-handedly will no doubt lead to furious speculation as to what character from the comics she is playing.
Chastain clearly relished the idea of battling all of the X-Men, describing her character as “tough” and expressing that she had “a lot of fun.” She is no stranger to playing commanding characters, having played such characters in Molly’s Game and Zero Dark Thirty, and continuing to do so in next year’s IT: Chapter Two as the adult version of Beverly Marsh. Given the extensive collection of heroes she’ll be facing, however, Dark Phoenix promises Chastain’s toughest character yet.
Chastain makes no mention of when the battle will take place, though logic would dictate that it’ll be at the film’s climax, when the team comes together to vanquish the threat. It could, however, occur much earlier in the runtime. Set photos revealed a funeral scene, suggesting that an early battle might result in the death of one of the central heroes, thus raising tension and upping the stakes. Plus, should Chastain’s character ultimately win Jean over to her side, it could make the third act all the more powerful, with the X-Men fighting more than just a physical battle, but a final, emotional battle for Jean’s very soul. Whatever the case may be, should Dark Phoenix be one of the last outings before a potential MCU reboot, it stands to go out on a high note – and decidedly more Logan than X-Men: The Last Stand.