According to Tye Sheridan, one of the stars of the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix film, the movie will be more of a drama than a straight-up superhero flick.
Sheridan, who reprises his role as Scott Summers/Cyclops from X-Men: Apocalypse, made the comments in an interview with The Wrap.
“Jean goes crazy in the movie,” he explained, referring to Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner), a psychic X-Men and Cyclops’ love interest. “Well, Cyclops doesn’t think she’s going crazy—Cyclops just thinks she’s gotta work some stuff out. It’s interesting, the drama in the movie. We treated this movie as much more of a drama versus a superhero film.”
That seems fitting. The X-Men comics have sometimes been styled as a “superhero soap opera” by fans, and The Dark Phoenix Saga, on which this movie is based, is one of their most famous and dramatic story lines.
In that story, Jean is possessed by the Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity of incredible power, and goes on a path of destruction, even consuming a star and killing an entire planet of sapient aliens. The other X-Men, including a heartbroken Cyclops, were forced to fight their friend. Eventually Jean manages to regain control of herself, and despite Cyclops’ pleas, sacrifices her own life to stop the Phoenix, dying in his arms.
Later retcons took some of the sting out of this story, including bringing Jean back to life. Or rather, deciding that she hadn’t died at all, because the Phoenix Force actually possessed a clone or… something. In any event, the movie has ample room to streamline this process, playing the story up for even higher drama.
And that seems to be Fox’s strategy as of late. With worry about “superhero fatigue” on the rise, they have aimed to create genre mashups that keep audience interest. So far, it seems to be working: Deadpool (a raunchy, violent comedy) was a smash success on a small budget, as was Logan, a sort of modernized superhero Western. Deadpool 2 will be coming out in May, while they also are planning The New Mutants, a superhero horror film, for February 2019.
In the meantime, their dramatic X-Men: Dark Phoenix adaptation will be coming out on November 2, 2018.