'Dark Phoenix' Director Says New Movie Is "Natural Culmination" of Fox's 'X-Men' Franchise

The future of the X-Men movie franchise is unknown following the Disney/Fox deal going into effect last month, leaving the upcoming Dark Phoenix as potentially the final chapter in a series that has lasted almost 20 years. According to writer-director Simon Kinberg, that’s just how those involved with making the film approached it.

"From the beginning of conceiving what we were going to do with this film and writing it, which was three-plus years ago — so, long before there was a Disney merger — I felt like this was the natural culmination for this cycle of X-Men movies," Kinberg told ComicBook.com during an interview over the weekend. "Because it is seeing this family that you've come to love and know for how ever many films, and if you count the originals almost 20 years now, you see that family tested in a whole new way. You see that family start to fall apart in a real way for the first time, ultimately come back together. That felt like the culmination of a storyline or a cycle of these films.”

He continued, “And for me, and for most of the fans, Dark Phoenix is the ultimate and most iconic storyline in the X-Men universe. And so I didn't know how we would top Dark Phoenix within this cycle. This felt like we had to earn our way back to Dark Phoenix. And I feel like we did hopefully, and beyond that felt like we'd want to sort of create an ending and the possibility of a new beginning. And that's what we do on this film."

The original comic book storyline draws from ran from 1976’s Uncanny X-Men No. 101 through 1980’s Uncanny X-Men No. 137, with particular focus on Nos. 130 through 137, often referred to as “The Dark Phoenix Saga” by fans. It has previously been adapted for the big screen in 2006’s critical flop X-Men: The Last Stand. As to what “an ending and the possibility of a new beginning” could look like in practical terms, at one point in the comic book version of the storyline, Jean Grey prevents the birth of a new universe, which would have eradicated her own. What if, in the new movie retelling of the story, she… didn’t?

Dark Phoenix is set to open June 7.