Michael Fassbender is back on the big screen right now in ‘Alien: Covenant,’ follow-up to 2012’s ‘Prometheus’ – but no one’s forgotten that other 20th Century Fox franchise the Irish-German actor is famed for.
After noteworthy early roles in ‘300’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ Fassbender really made his name with the wider audience in 2011’s ‘X-Men: First Class,’ taking over from Sir Ian McKellen as a younger incarnation of Eric ‘Magneto’ Lehnsherr, alongside James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.
This core four have widely been credited with rejuvenating the ‘X-Men’ franchise, with 2014’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ proving the biggest hit of the series up to that point (‘Deadpool’ has since beaten its box office record). Alas, 2016’s ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ fell a bit short critically and commercially, and with the initial contracts of the ‘First Class’ cast believed to be completed, there have been doubts over whether they will return.
However, in an MTV podcast interview in promotion of ‘Alien: Covenant,’ Fassbender states that it is “likely” he will be back in the ‘Apocalypse’ follow-up, ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix.’ (And yes, that’s literally all Fassbender says. First he says “possibly,” then revises his position to “yeah, likely.” Succinct, but to the point.)
Whether or not this means McAvoy, Lawrence and Hoult will be back is unknown – but producer Hutch Parker tells Cinema Blend that “the current story that we’re working on has that group involved as well as some of the younger characters that we introduced last time,” but stresses that this is not set in stone at present.
Just about all we can presently say about ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ with a degree of certainty is that it will see the return of the series newcomers from ‘Apocalypse:’ Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Lana Condor as Jubilee, and most importantly Sophie Turner as Jean Grey.
Turner’s involvement is of course vital, as ‘Dark Phoenix’ will retell the classic comic book storyline of Jean Grey metamorphosing into the ultra-powerful but dangerously unstable Phoenix – a story previously attempted in 2006’s ‘X-Men: The Last Stand,’ a film so widely disliked that the time-hopping events of ‘Days of Future Past’ effectively erased it from the series timeline.
With Bryan Singer stepping back from the series to make Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Boheman Rhapsody,’ long-standing ‘X-Men’ writer and producer Simon Kinberg is said to be in line to make his directorial debut on ‘Dark Phoenix’ – but this has not yet been confirmed.
‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ is set to open in UK cinemas on 2 November 2018 – closing off what should be a busy year for the X-movies, with spin-off ‘X-Men: The New Mutants’ arriving 13 April, and ‘Deadpool 2’ coming on 1 June.