In an exclusive Screen Rant interview, Dark Phoenix producer Hutch Parker suggests the film will be a Hitchcock-esque psychological thriller. Based on original Marvel Comics characters, Dark Phoenix represents the 12th cinematic installment of the X-Men franchise. Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner stars as the titular character, a mutant named Jean Grey with conflicting personalities.
Dark Phoenix was preceded by Logan and Deadpool 2 in the franchise, and will be a direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse. In February 2017, Turner was confirmed for “X-Men: Supernova,” which was officially named Dark Phoenix shortly after. In December 2017, Disney and Fox agreed in principle to a deal that included the rights to both the Avatar and X-Men franchises, and Fox ultimately accepted Disney’s bid last July. Earlier this month, we reported that Fox marketing executives believe Disney's looming acquisition of Fox's movie and film assets is hurting Dark Phoenix. The film marks the directorial debut of Simon Kinberg, who previously produced several of the franchise films. Narratively, Dark Phoenix fulfills a promise that was teased at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse.
At Wondercon, Screen Rant spoke with the aforementioned Parker about Dark Phoenix’s genre inspiration. According to the producer, the film will be “like a Hitchockian psychological thriller.” This falls in line with the franchise’s shifting sub-genre aesthetics, as Parker notes that Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class is “a spy movie,” or more specifically, a “James Bond movie told with superheroes.” In contrast, Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse is “like a Roland Emmerich-style disaster film.” Parker also compares Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past to “a science fiction time-travel movie.” With Dark Phoenix, fans can expect traditional suspense in the style of a legendary filmmaker.
Known as “The Master of Suspense,” the English director Alfred Hitchcock is often associated with his groundbreaking 1960 thriller Psycho. Starring Janet Leigh - the mother of Halloween icon Jamie Lee Curtis - the film features a famous shower sequence that implies violence but doesn’t actually depict anything graphic. Psycho is also notable for killing off a main character early in the film, much like Game of Thrones later stunned fans by killing off a protagonist in its first season. Prior to releasing Psycho, Hitchcock released 1940s classics like Spellbound, Notorious, and Rope, preceding more classics from the 1950s like Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo, and North by Northwest. All these films paved the way for Psycho, which shows Hitchcock in full command of his craft.
Dark Phoenix includes a familiar cast, as James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence reprise their characters. For many, the spotlight on Sophie Turner will be exciting, not to mention the inclusion of Jessica Chastain’s villain character. Even if Dark Phoenix doesn’t live up to the Hitchcockian hype - the same hype that's currently attached to Jordan Peele’s Us - the film will undoubtedly be a relevant blockbuster about game-changing, powerful women.