Simon Kinberg Explains How The Cosmic 'Dark Phoenix' Is "The Most Intimate, Emotional, And Personal" 'X-Men' Film

By now you’ve seen the new trailer for “Dark Phoenix” (minus the ‘X-Men’ title, apparently). And if you’re a comic book fan, you’ve probably watched it dozens of times, gone frame-by-frame, and analyzed every image available. However, if you haven’t done that yet, don’t worry! “Dark Phoenix” writer-director Simon Kinberg is saving you the effort by giving you all the information you need to glean from the trailer as we prepare for the superhero film’s February release.

READ MORE: ‘Dark Phoenix’ Trailer: The X-Men’s Deadliest Foe Is Jean Grey

In an interview with Empire, Kinberg breaks down all the major scenes from the trailer, and in doing so, sheds some light on the sequel that has been under a veil of secrecy for a long time now. Before this trailer, all we knew is that Kinberg brought the actors from the previous three films back to tell the story that “X-Men” fans have been aching to see done right on screen since Brett Ratner ruined it in “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

But now, we know the basic plot, character motivations, and setting, which put together actually makes this “Dark Phoenix” feel like it might be, dare I say, x-cellent (sorry, had to). In describing how the film is different from the previous “X-Men” films, Kinberg talks about the setting and how, finally, the X-Men can be superheroes.

“The X-Men have become the X-Men that many of us know from the comics – they are heroes. They’re still viewed as different by society, but they’ve been more embraced than ever before. And when the movie starts in 1992, they are a known superhero team,” explained the director.

And because they’re now officially superheroes, they need proper costumes, right? Kinberg talks about why now was the perfect time to introduce the new, more comics-accurate, uniforms. And no, it doesn’t sound like he agreed with Bryan Singer’s black leather fascination.

He says, “Avi [Arad] and Kevin Feige were the chief two people that called me about an ‘X-Men’ movie 15 years ago. We talked about the costumes, and what Bryan Singer had done I understood and liked, but they were very different to what I had grown up seeing in the comics. So, I was excited finally as the director to have more of a say and clothe them in their classic costumes.”

Better costumes? Check. Proper superhero setting? Check. But what about the story? Apparently, “Dark Phoenix” follows Jean Grey, the young telepath/telekinetic who finds herself exposed to a powerful, potentially evil, cosmic entity while out in space. You know, as you do. But as if that wasn’t enough, apparently her mentor Professor Charles Xavier has been hiding things and putting up mental blocks to prevent her from losing control.

Kinberg explains:

“It’s the most inopportune time for this character to become unstable emotionally, because she’s becoming unstable in a much different way after this cosmic thing that happened to her in space. In this way, ‘Dark Phoenix’ is the most intimate, emotional and personal movie we’ve made, and yet also has the biggest breadth in terms of spanning beyond our planet, even beyond our galaxy. There’s a sense that the things that are happening emotionally for Jean and what’s happening cosmically inside her is making her incredibly unstable, dangerous, destructive.”

However, even after all the X-planation (get it?), Kinberg still is mum about one, major detail — the villain. We know that Jessica Chastain is the clear antagonist of the film, but we don’t know who she is, where she’s from, or what her ultimate goal is. All we know is that it’s not good. And the filmmaker is keeping quiet, saying, “I can tell you this much. Jessica’s character is not of this Earth. She’s an extra-terrestrial character, an alien character. I won’t say much more in detail on the specifics of that. While everyone else is trying to control this power inside of Jean, she’s much more interested in essentially encouraging her to go further with it and try to be the peaceful side of herself. She is the devil on Jean’s shoulder, so to speak.”

“Dark Phoenix” hits theaters on February 14, 2019.