What Dropping X-Men From the Title Reveals About Dark Phoenix

Right up until we saw the first trailer for Dark Phoenix, the title of the film wasn’t officially announced. There was speculation as to whether it would include the prefix ‘X-Men’ as its predecessors had. Previous stories from the universe include X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Dark Phoenix will fall in that arc with several of the cast returning. Screenwriter and director Simon Kinberg explained why the team name was dropped in a recent interview with Collider.

Wolverine’s tragic last stand was immortalized in the incredibly captivating Logan. As the jaded and grizzled mutant passed the mantle to X-23, his final chapter was an extremely focused character film. Rather than relying heavily on effects and CGI, the makeup, design, cinematography, and storyline were more stark and realistic. Logan connected deeply with audiences and critics making it a celebrated masterpiece in the superhero genre.

Kinberg hopes to do the same with Dark Phoenix. Rather than fitting Jean Grey’s fall into the larger X-Men arc, her struggle to maintain control of her powers is intended to be raw and intimate.

“I wanted to call it Dark Phoenix in, again, very much the way we wanted to call Logan ‘Logan as opposed to ‘X-Men: Logan’—to indicate that it’s a different kind of film and to indicate that it’s a more character-driven movie,” Kinberg told Collider. “And for me, and [producer] Hutch [Parker], as people who worked on X-Men III: The Last Stand, that didn’t have any trace of Dark Phoenix in the title, we really wanted to indicate that this is the Dark Phoenix story and that she’s at the center of this story. She’s the A-plot of this story, everything around this story revolves really centrally around Jean/Dark Phoenix as really the subject of the movie, not the object of the movie.”

Famke Janssen portrayed Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand when she did struggle with her dark side (and it’s interesting to note that Jean Gray was Wolverine/Logan’s love interest), but it was not the main focus of the film. Dark Phoenix will involve far more of the X-Men than Logan’s quiet farewell did. The trailers have teased a clash among the other team members who have to weight Jean’s life against humanity. Ironically, Hugh Jackman has hung up his claws and Logan is not expected to appear in Dark Phoenix at all. Only his memory lives on.

Dark Phoenix opens June 7.

Featured Image: Sophie Turner stars as Jean Grey in Twentieth Century Fox’s X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.


Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.

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