Dark Phoenix trailer breakdown: Death, Genosha, aliens, and more
The Dark Phoenix has risen from the ashes of the X-Men franchise, and with it comes the film's first trailer. So we've plunged into the chaotic mind of Sophie Turner's Jean Grey and came back with secrets. First things first, forget about the timeline of the X-Men movies because attempts to make sense of it will lead one to madness. X-Men: The Last Stand saw young (and CGI-ed) Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr visiting with a young Jean. But the Dark Phoenix trailer shows the red-headed mutant arriving at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters after an accident. She's looking to be fixed.
"You are not broken"
Dark Phoenix takes place in the year 1992, 10 years after Jean went supernova in X-Men: Apocalypse. But these scenes seem to take place sometime in the '70s. Charles still has his hair, the X-Mansion isn't in shambles as a time-traveling Logan found, and the professor is telling his new pupil "you are not broken."
On a mission to space to save a crew of astronauts, the X-Jet is blasted with solar flares that Jean then absorbs. Back on earth, we see her on a medical table being examined by Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Based on the look on his face, those flares awakened something... not good.
There are multiple nods to The Last Stand, which suggests director Simon Kinberg is trying to make the film he wished the critically bashed installment could've been. As with Patrick Stewart's Charles, it's suggested that James McAvoy's iteration (sporting a bald head) placed some psychic barriers in Jean's mind to keep her immense power in check. His actions are now coming back to haunt him.
A tragic origin
In the comics, Jean's parents die in a car crash, a moment that awakens her psychic powers. Here, it appears Jean inadvertently caused the accident. You can see that, even as a girl, she's able to use her telekinesis to shield herself from the glass shards.
Welcome to what Kinberg calls "the mutant homeland." Genosha is an island nation in the comics started by Magneto as a safe haven for mutants. “He’s set up this place for mutants that don’t have a home to go to and they can seek refuge there,” Michael Fassbender told EW. “They have to work as a community but it’s a safe place for them and they’ll be accepted.” This peace in Dark Phoenix is disrupted with the arrival of Jean, who says she comes seeking Magneto's help, but he's suspicious.
An alien visitor
The identity of Jessica Chastain's character still isn't known, but we know she's a shapeshifting alien. We also know aliens come to earth after the Phoenix Force is awakened in Jean, so take from that what you will. She's seen walking the streets of what looks like another scene shown later on in the trailer: Jean destroying her childhood home.
A lost soul
Editing makes it seem like the shapeshifter is visiting with Jean in the church, but that's clearly someone else. Who could it be? Her alien liaison on earth? Another mutant?
The Dark Phoenix Saga of the comics saw Mastermind, a master of illusion, manipulate Jean in order to use the Phoenix for his own gains. Chastain's alien serves a similar function. Says Kinberg, "What she realizes is she can use [Jean Grey] to manipulate this world, to turn it against itself.”
The gang is back together
Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi-Smit McPhee), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) are all back and still part of the X-Men when we pick up with them. The resident speedster seems to have come a long way from his days jacking arcades.
The X-Men's biggest foe... one of their own
The X-suits we saw at the end of Apocalypse are nowhere to be seen. Instead, the team has suits that evoke Grant Morrison and Chuck Austen's X-Men comics. They now are forced to stand against one of their own as Jean appears to be visiting her childhood home — another similarity with The Last Stand.
The force unleashed
This is but a taste of the infinite power Jean now wields.
Humans and their guns
The trailer would also make this sequence seem like soldiers are once again descending upon the mansion, but it's more likely that these folks are on Genosha, perhaps along with the helicopter Jean so easily subdues.
Jean's not here anymore
Turner says she researched multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia to help capture Jean's internal battles with this power inside her. When she's in Phoenix mode, her eyes glow with the fires of the force within her.
When she's not in Phoenix mode, Jean is fighting to maintain her sanity.
Here is a shot of the X-Men heading to space to save those astronauts, a moment that kickstarts the Dark Phoenix story.
As with The Last Stand, Turner's Jean appears to be destroying her house as she battles with memories from her childhood that flood her mind. Also like The Last Stand, it would seem this results in a death.
Mourning a loss
"Jean lost control, but she's still our friend." This is Cyclops' attempt to keep the team together after Jean apparently killed one of their own. Note the funeral attire. It's not Nightcrawler. It's not Storm. It's not Beast. Hmm, where are Mystique and Quicksilver?
If you can't stand the heat, get out of Cerebro
Charles was once able to help Jean — again, by maybe, possibly using mental gymnastics to dull her powers — but not anymore. An attempt to use Cerebro, a machine that's meant to magnify Charles' already immense psychic powers, becomes overwhelmed by the might of the Phoenix.
Magneto has been in seclusion on Genosha, but he's ready to take up the helmet once more. Remember, his helmet blocks telepathic attacks, making it a vital defense against an out-of-control Jean.
Can love conquer all?
Jean and Cyclops are the power couple of the X-Men in the comics, as well as past movies. Can Scott save Jean from herself? If you've been keeping tabs on Reddit, a leaked version of an alternate trailer made its way online and there was a moment that once again pulled from The Last Stand of Phoenix taking off Cyclops' visor. It wasn't a good sign for Scott in that movie, and it doesn't seem to be a good sign here either.
A fractured team
Potential spoiler alert... Here's some evidence that the character who dies in Dark Phoenix could be Mystique. She and Beast had a romantic attraction to one another in X-Men: First Class, though it was never really revisited. What would make Beast so unnerved as to leave his old friend Charles and side with Magneto? Maybe the death of his crush, someone Magneto also has a connection with. UPDATE: IGN debuted new images from Dark Phoenix that confirm the two new mutants by Magneto are Red Lotus (Andrew Stehlin) and Selene (Kota Eberhardt).
Burying the dead
Another foreboding shot of the funeral to further emphasize not everyone is going to make it out alive.
And in case you needed more evidence this'll probably be Jennifer Lawrence's last time playing a role she didn't want to continue with anyway, here's another shot of a griefstricken Beast over what appears to be Mystique's body. Looks like Lawrence got her wish.
"I've seen evil, and I'm looking at it now." Charles may want to save Jean if he can, but Erik is looking to put her down.
Based on the concept art EW previously revealed, this looks like the moment Jean absorbs the solar flares in space... or maybe it's the Phoenix going nuclear once more.
Is this "The End"?
Is Dark Phoenix the end of the X-Men franchise as we've come to know it? The trailer features a cover of The Doors' "The End." With Disney's purchase of Fox, CEO Bob Iger told The Hollywood Reporter that Marvel Studios (the home of the Avengers) would now take control of the X-Men franchise. Is this the end of the X-Men? Is this the end of the storyline that began with First Class? We'll look for more clues when Dark Phoenix hits theaters on Feb. 14, 2019.