Tim Stack
December 07, 2017 AT 01:10 PM EST

To read more about Dark Phoenix, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

The X-Men are boldly going where they’ve never gone before (See what I did there?). In next year’s Dark Phoenix, the mutant squad heads to outer space and, like in most films, it’s a baaaaad idea.

Fox

The X-Men, including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), are heroes when the film begins and sent up to save some stranded astronauts. But a solar flare hits the X-Jet and all hell breaks loose. “Jean absorbs those solar flares and then hurls them back out into space,” explains director Simon Kinberg of the sequence shown in the above exclusive concept art. “That’s what triggers, awakens, creates this Phoenix force and voice inside her. What appears to the world to be another heroic victory by the X-Men in saving stranded people in space we realize is the the thing that begins the unraveling of Jean and the unraveling of secrets Charles told her.” It also leads to the introduction of a top-secret character played by Jessica Chastain.

Kinberg’s favorite movie is Empire Strikes Back so taking the mutants to a galaxy far away was a thrill. “Frankly, part of what excited me about it was it was not just going to be an earth-bound movie,” says the first-time director. “It’s not as much in another galaxy as Star Wars but it’s the first time we’ve left Earth.”

The bigger scope of Phoenix means it will be an X-Men film like fans have never seen. “They might be the biggest set pieces we’ve ever done,” says producer Hutch Parker. “The space [set piece] is one of the biggest things we’ve ever done. Overall visual effects, scale of action and spectacle, it’s probably the biggest we’ve done but much more in the service of these characters and their conflict than for scale sake.”

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