The studio made the announcement late Monday night, along with a few other shuffles. Bohemian Rhapsody (the Freddie Mercury biopic) will now open in Dark Phoenix‘s initial slot of Nov. 2, 2018, and The New Mutants (the next X-Men spin-off) has moved from Feb. 22, 2019 to Aug. 2, 2019.
2018 was supposed to be a massive year for the X-Men. Deadpool 2 is still hitting theaters on May 18 with introductions for Cable (Josh Brolin) and X-Force (another X-Men spin-off in the works), but Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants were both supposed to open within months of each other.
Directed by Josh Boone, The New Mutants plans to flip the script on the superhero genre by injecting it with a horror movie element. After filming commenced in Massachusetts, reshoots were scheduled and star Anya Taylor-Joy confirmed a new character will be included.
“I do think that there is a great responsibility to make sure the movie is done right and that we deliver the fans something that they can all feel happy about and excited about,” Taylor-Joy told The Playlist. “So, I don’t think it being delayed is a bad thing because it’s definitely more important to make sure that we get it right than rushing to make a date. So, hopefully, all of these reshoots and adding of the new character that will give the fans an altogether satisfactory, wonderful product.”
Dark Phoenix, too, has a lot of pressure on it. The story of an unhinged Jean Grey awakening the Phoenix Force within her and unleashing her devastating powers unto the world had already been tackled in X-Men: The Last Stand, though it had been dragged through the mud by critics and fans.
Sophie Turner will now return as the younger Jean from X-Men: Apocalypse to tell a more comic book-accurate story. “I think we took our eye off what has always been the bedrock of the franchise which is these characters,” director Simon Kinberg told EW of The Last Stand. “It became about global destruction and visual effects over emotion and character.”
He added, “One of the things I went into [Dark Phoenix] wanting to do is obviously focus on the characters and give them real emotions to play and come up with a theme that would make it feel relevant and necessary in today’s world.”