The Dark Phoenix Saga is easily one of the most popular comic books of all time. The story focuses on Jean Grey, a highly gifted telepath who while returning from a space mission, gets exposed to radiation from a solar flare which amps up her power to eleven and messes with her state of mind. The comic book is complex and sprawling with a plethora of different characters and smaller interlocking stories.
However, according to director Simon Kinberg, the film X-Men: Dark Phoenix will not be a beat for beat replica of the popular comic. Instead, Kinberg chose to trim out the fat and focus on Jean Grey so that enough time is dedicated to exploring the depths and complexities of her character. In an interview with ScreenRant, Kinberg discussed in depth his decision to remove some of the comic book elements.
“Early on, I felt like I really wanted to focus the movie on our main characters and I really wanted to focus upon Jean’s struggle. I wanted the movie to feel grounded and I wanted it to feel emotional and intimate, and not have too many things that would distract or take away from Jean’s evolution, deevolution, struggle, final decision in this film. I wanted that arc to feel like it was a really emotional experience for the audience.
And so things like the Hellfire Club [and the] Shi’ar Empire felt as though they were such huge subplots or plots from the original saga that they could potentially take away from the focus on Jean and the X-Men. And so instead of doing Lilandra as a character, which would require the relationship with Charles and all what comes with that, I made Jessica’s character sort of an amalgam of different alien characters that are part of, in a way, resembling this Shi’ar storyline but not going all the way there.”
This makes all the sense in the world. It is impossible to adapt The Dark Phoenix Saga comic in its entirety in a single movie. That would require a trilogy of films at least, or better yet, a TV series. Kinberg’s decision to put the spotlight squarely on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and the main X-Men is a smart decision as these are the characters we’ve been invested in for many, many years.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will hit Malaysian cinemas June 6.