At last here’s your Marvel Comics mutant destroyer of worlds, courtesy of the first trailer for the latest “X-Men” film, “Dark Phoenix.” Watch it above.
Set a decade after the events of “X-Men: Apocalypse,” in “Dark Phoenix” the X-Men are now national heroes. But when a solar flare hits them during a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) loses control of her psychic abilities and becomes a terrifying and overwhelming threat.
For those who don’t know, the film is based on the highly celebrated and influential “X-Men” storyline of the same name by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, as detailed in “Uncanny X-Men” #101-108 (1976-1977) and “Uncanny X-Men” #129-138 (1980). In that story, Jean Grey accidentally merges with the Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity that embodies the universal energy of creation and destruction. This gives her vastly enhanced psychic abilities that eventually overwhelm her, transforming her into “Dark Phoenix,” a genocidal force of unimaginable power.
It gets worse from there. Jean leaves earth and ends up destroying a star system to feed her power, which kills billions. (No, really.) This provokes intervention by an alliance of interstellar empires (no, really) who demand she be captured and executed for the good of the universe. After a series of trials, Jean briefly regains her faculties and commits suicide to prevent further destruction.
Of course, comics hardcores know Jean is later revealed to be innocent, and still alive. (No, really.) It turns out that Dark Phoenix had only been impersonating her while she was being healed after a terrible accident, and came to believe it really was her. (It’s weird — look, comics are weird, guys).
It’s unlikely the film will go that far — things look decidedly earthbound, aside from that shuttle mission. But as you can see from the trailer, Jean Grey is still an enormous threat to the “X-Men” universe.
“Dark Phoenix” was previously adapted for television on the 1990s “X-Men” animated series, the 2009 animated series “Wolverine and the X-Men,” and very loosely in the 2006 film “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
This version was written and directed by Simon Kinberg, who also wrote “Last Stand” as well as the two most recent “X-Men” films. “Dark Phoenix” also stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Munn, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Alexandra Shipp.
It hits theaters on Feb. 14, 2019.
Beatrice Verhoeven contributed to this post.