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Longtime ‘X-Men’ Producer Simon Kinberg to Direct ‘Dark Phoenix’

Simon Kinberg
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X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t so apocalyptic for the X-Men; their next movie is on the way, and it’s got a director and a release date lined up.

That’s the word from Deadline, who says that Fox has “formalized” their pick of Simon Kinberg as the director of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which is headed to theaters on November 2, 2018. As for the cast, they report:

Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are all reprising when production begins in Montreal. At the same time, Jessica Chastain is in talk to join the cast in a new role.

The Chastain news would be yuge if it happens. I’m not sure who she would play in this scenario; if the film is faithful to the original Dark Phoenix comic-book storyline, maybe Lilandra, the leader of the alien empire who become wrapped up in the Phoenix character’s fate? That’s just a guess on my part. (UPDATEThe Hollywood Reporter says Chastain is in talks to play Lilandra.)

Dark Phoenix will be Kinberg’s directorial debut, but he has been involved with the franchise, as both a writer and producer, for years. He’s produced every X-Men movie since 2011’s First Class, and was a credited writer on every X-Men movie since The Last Stand. Ironically, that was the first movie to attempt to adapt the Dark Phoenix storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne to the screen. It looks like Kinberg will get his second whack at it next year. Let’s all hope there isn’t a need for a third attempt. That would be bad.

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