X-Men: Dark Phoenix Is Tribute to X-Women, Female Strength
Last week was quite a big one for fans of the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, since fans got their first look at the Dark Phoenix that consumes Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey character. We also learned about a huge twist that apparently comes halfway through the movie, along with more details about Jessica Chastain’s mystery character, who is an alien shapeshifter and not Lilandra, as previously believed. Writer-director Simon Kinberg, who makes his directorial debut with Dark Phoenix, revealed in a new interview that he wanted this movie to focus on not just Jean Grey, but the other important female mutant characters as well. Here’s what Simon Kinberg had to say below.
“I really wanted to acknowledge the strength of the women in the comic and in the actresses that we have and the central storyline demands it.”
The Dark Phoenix story has been told before on the big screen, but not quite as successfully as it should have been. Simon Kinberg wrote the script for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which originally was solely focused on the Dark Phoenix story, although it was ultimately reduced to a mere sub-plot. That’s not the case in this movie, if you couldn’t guess from the title alone, with this new report revealing that Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique jokes with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) that the group should be named the “X-Women,” since the female characters are often the ones to save the day instead of the males. Here’s what Sophie Turner had to say about the female-centric dynamic in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
“It’s really exciting. I think there’s such a revolution in superhero movies. I feel like this movie is a revelation because of it being like a drama but the hero is a female and she’s also the villain. It really is about her relationships with the females in the film, especially Jessica Chastain’s character. It’s really interesting to have those two characters be kind of the two biggest characters in the movie and both be female and so layered and so complex.”
Long before Jessica Chastain was confirmed in August, there had been rumors that she was playing Shi’ar Empress Lilandra, but it was revealed in September that she wasn’t playing Lilandra. While it remains to be seen when more about her character will be revealed, Jessica Chastain revealed that this became her first superhero project because this script didn’t have the same issues with female characters that she had often come across. Here’s what the actress had to say, confirming this story passes the Bechdel test.
“I’ve always wanted to do a big comic book franchise-y film but I had some issues with the female characters in the films I was being offered. I was really pleased with this script because I think it’s a departure from the norm. This definitely passes the Bechdel test and I don’t know how many comic book films can say that.”
For those unfamiliar with the Bechdel test, it was conceived by writer Alison Bechdel, first appearing in her 1985 comic strip Dykes To Watch For. To pass this test, a movie or any other work of fiction must feature two female characters who are talking to one another, but they cannot be talking about a man, and later versions of the test added that they must be named female characters, and not minor, unnamed characters. With the addition of other female characters like Halston Sage’s Dazzler, and rumors that Olivia Munn may return as Psylocke from X-Men: Apocalypse, it will be interesting to see if this movie will bring in a new female audience. Take a look at the new image of Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey below, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.
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